No Catalina in sight, but on Easter Sunday 1942, a Royal Canadian Air Force Consolidated Catalina flying boat from the airbase across the road spotted the Japanese 1st Air Fleet -- veterans of the Pearl Harbour Raid -- 350 miles off Dondra Head, the southern tip of what was then British Ceylon. The crew flew into certain doom in order to count the Japanese ships and warn Colombo of the impending attack. They were able to get off a radio message before they were shot down by Mitsubishi Zeroes who killed two of the crew. The rest were captured. The warning from the Catalina was received in time, however, and British forces in Ceylon repulsed the Easter Sunday Raid, leading to Squadron Leader Leonard Birchall -- the flying boat's pilot -- being dubbed "the Saviour of Ceylon".

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