Unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Services 

 Search  &  Help Recruits Military History Hall of Heroes Indigenous Slouch hat + ARMY Today Uniforms Badges

 Colours & Flags Weapons Food Equipment Assorted Medals Armour Navy Air Power 

Nurses - Medical Tributes Poetry - Music Posters & Signs Leaders The Enemy Humour Links Killing Anzac

Click to escape. Subject to crown copyright
Category: Air support

Click to go up one level

Squadron Histories 

Australian Flying Corps


Royal Australian Air Force

Click the link on the Squadron of choice

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 15 18 22 23 24 25 30
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 40 41 42 60 66 67 71 73 75 76 77 78
79 80 82 83 84 86 87 92 93 94 99 100 107 450 451 452 453 454 455 456
457 458 459 460 461 462 463 464 466 467
Research & D Air Sea Rescue Antarctic Central F School Elementary FTS Service FTS

1 Squadron Australian Flying Corps & RAAF

The first complete Unit of the Australian Flying Corps, No 1 Squadron formed at Point Cook Victoria in January 1916. Sailing for Egypt two months later the squadron was equipped on arrival with obsolete aircraft and allocated a reconnaissance and bombing role. Operating with these old and frail aircraft, engine failure often forced many of the squadron pilots to force land behind enemy lines.

On 20 March 1917 Lieutenant Rutherford's aircraft was forced down behind enemy lines. Despite himself being severely wounded by anti-aircraft fire, Lieutenant McNamara landed his aircraft to rescue the downed pilot. Unfortunately, after collecting his colleague, McNamara's damaged aircraft crashed while taking off. Pursued by Turkish cavalry, the two aviators ran towards Rutherford's damaged aircraft. Despite severe blood loss and constant enemy fire, Lieutenant McNamara managed to start the aircraft and fly his colleague back to base. For his courage McNamara was later awarded the Victoria Cross - the only Victoria Cross awarded to an Australian airman during World War l.

During the war, 1 Squadron was the home of many of the pioneers of Australian aviation. These included Lieutenant Wackett - a founding member of the Australian aircraft industry. Captain Smith - a brilliant aviator who, in 1919, would win the England-to-Australia air race. Lieutenant Fysh - one of the founders of QANTAS, and Captain Williams - regarded as the father of the Royal Australian Air Force.

Shortly after the commencement of World War II, 1 Squadron moved to Malaya and whilst inflicting significant losses on the invading Japanese, the squadron's own losses mounted. After reforming in 1943, 1 Squadron moved to the Northern Territory from where its Beaufort bombers, continued their attacks on Japanese forces until January 1945, when the Squadron was re-equipped with Mosquito aircraft. It subsequently moved to Borneo where it operated from Labuan Island until after the war ended.

Equipped with Lincoln bombers, 1 Squadron moved to Singapore in 1950 and for the next eight years pounded enemy hide outs in the Malayan jungles. At the end of the Malayan Emergency, 1 Squadron returned to Australia and converted to Canberra bombers. With these Australian-built jets, 1 Squadron participated in numerous exercises and deployments prior to converting to the Phantom in 1970.

1 Squadron received its first F111s in June 1973 and continues to operate these potent attack aircraft as Australia's primary defence deterrent. The Squadron was disbanded on 7 August 1946 and reformed in 1948.

2 Squadron Australian Flying Corps & RAAF

2 Squadron formed at Kantara Egypt, in September 1916 and following training in England began combat operations over the Western Front in October 1917. Flying at very low levels the Australian pilots wreaked havoc on the German troops, however, exposed to heavy ground fire squadron casualties were high.

Lieutenant Huxley claimed 2 Squadron's - and indeed the AFC's - first aerial victory on 22 November, when he shot down an Albatross scout during a ground strafing mission. From 1917 until the end of the war, 2 Squadron worked in close co-operation with 4 Squadron and continued to inflict heavy losses on the Germans

When Word War II was declared in 1939, 2 Squadron Avro Ansons were conducting coastal patrols and providing convoy escort to the ships carrying Australian troops to the Middle East. After deploying to the Dutch East Indies in 1941, reconnaissance and bombing operations were mounted against the advancing Japanese forces. In the face of attacks on its bases and heavy losses to enemy fighters, 2 Squadron maintained its offensive efforts for the remainder of the war, providing vital information on Japanese shipping movements.

In recognition of 2 Squadrons heroic stand in this, Australia's darkest hour, the Unit was later awarded a United States Presidential Unit Citation - the highest honour that can be bestowed on a combat unit by the United States government.

In 1958, 2 Squadron moved to Butterworth on Malaya's East Coast, providing vital security during the 1960's when tensions with Indonesia and the newly independent Malaysia resulted in a period of "Confrontation" between Commonwealth and Indonesian forces.

April 1967 saw 2 Squadron commence operations against Communist forces in Vietnam. Missions were flown both by day and night and 2 Squadron quickly established itself as the most effective bomber squadron in Vietnam. On its return to Australia in 1971, having flown nearly 12,000 operational sorties for the loss of only two aircraft, 2 Squadron was awarded the Republic Of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and a United States Air Force Outstanding Unit Commendation.

These two awards, combined with the Presidential Unit Citation awarded previously, give 2 Squadron the distinction as the most highly decorated squadron in the RAAF.

After flying its last operational flight in July 1982 the Squadron was disbanded. The Squadron reformed at RAAF Base Williamtown on 18 January 2000, as the designated Airborne Early Warning and Control Squadron.

3 Squadron Australian Flying Corps & RAAF

Formed at Point Cook Victoria in September 1916, 3 Squadron moved to England for training before deploying to France the following year. Squadron aircraft were used for bombing and reconnaissance missions in support of British, Canadian and ANZAC forces and by the end of hostilities the unit was regarded as the best allied reconnaissance squadron of the war.

One of the most unusual incidents of World War I occurred in December 1917 when a 3 Squadron RE8 was attacked by six Albatross scouts. After bringing down one enemy aircraft the gunner was mortally wounded by a bullet which passed through his chest before striking the pilot in the head, killing him instantly. Although damaged, the RE8 continued to fly by itself until it ran out of fuel and landed relatively intact in a snow drift some fifty miles from the scene of the combat. The Albatross bought down in this engagement was presented to Australia as a war trophy and is now on display at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

3 Squadron was involved in another unusual event on 21 April 1918 when two of its aircraft on a photographic mission were attacked by four German fighters led by Baron Von Richtofen - the famous Red Baron. Despite the fact that these German pilots were the elite of the German Air Service, they were driven off by the lumbering Australian reconnaissance machines. Looking for easier pickings the Red Baron made the mistake of descending to low level over the ANZAC Corps front line, where he was shot down and killed. The Barons body was subsequently recovered by 3 Squadron and buried with full military honours. The remains of his crimson red tri-plane was held in custody by 3 Squadron until it could be handed over to the authorities. Several components from the Red Barons aircraft are now on display at the RAAF Museum.

After the commencement of World War II 3 Squadron sailed for Egypt, where despite being heavily outnumbered, provided air support to the 8th Army during the ebb and flow of the desert campaign. 3 Squadron later participated in the liberation of Italy and Yugoslavia where the Squadron was well regarded for its highly accurate attacks against enemy shipping. With a score of 217 enemy aircraft destroyed, 3 Squadron remains the highest scoring fighter squadron of the RAAF.

After deploying to Malaya in 1958, 3 Squadron Sabers and later, Mirage jet fighters operated from the Butterworth air base as part of a five power defence arrangement.

Following its return to Australia in 1986, 3 Squadron received its first Hornets and with these state of the art aircraft, the Squadron continues its role as one of the nations most vital defence assets.

4 Squadron Australian Flying Corps & RAAF

No 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, formed at Point Cook Victoria in October 1916. After embarking for England to complete its training, the Squadron deployed to France in December 1917. From the outset, 4 Squadron aircraft regularly engaged the Red Barons elite 'Flying Circus' and, in spite of their lack of experience, quickly gained the ascendancy over the German squadron. During its brief war service, 4 Squadron destroyed some 128 enemy aircraft and spawned a total of eleven aces. The squadron's highest scoring airman was Captain Cobby who, in addition to shooting down twenty nine aircraft, also destroyed thirteen observation balloons.

World War II saw 4 Squadron Wirraways deployed to Port Moresby in support of Australian troops in fighting in the New Guinea jungles. In their slow and vulnerable aircraft, losses from anti-aircraft were high, however, this never deterred the Wirraway crews from completing their assigned tasks. This aggressive spirit was exemplified by Pilot Officer Archer and his crewman, Sergeant Coulston who, whilst on a reconnaissance mission found themselves above a Japanese Zero fighter. Despite operating a vastly inferior aircraft, Pilot Officer Archer dived to the attack and shot down the enemy aircraft

In June 1943, 4 Squadron received its first Boomerangs and continued to support Allied troops during the Cape Gloucester landings before moving to Moratai. No 4 Squadron ended the War in Borneo and returned to Australia in November 1945, where it was renamed 3 Squadron - thus closing the chapter on a very distinguished and proud unit.

5 Squadron Australian Flying Corps & RAAF

No 5 Squadron formed in England in September 1917 and although the Squadron did not see any action during the war it provided vital training for fighter pilots prior to their postings to operational squadrons.

Between the Wars, equipped with Walrus amphibian aircraft, 5 Squadron operated from RAN cruisers, providing the Navy with a reconnaissance and artillery spotting capability.

5 Squadron received its first Australian built Boomerangs mid way through World War II, deploying to Bougainville Island in November 1944. Flying artillery spotting and reconnaissance operations the squadron also provided close support missions in support of Australian troops. Often this involved identifying Japanese positions and then acting as lead aircraft for Corsair attack runs.

Following the War 5 Squadron disbanded, but reformed 18 years later to serve in Malaysia. The squadron's Iroquois helicopters were used for troop insertion and extractions, resupply operations and medical evacuations during the Malaysian/Indonesian "Confrontation".

After returning to Australia, 5 Squadron was heavily committed to providing training for infantry battalions prior to their departure for Vietnam. No 5 Squadron helicopters were also used extensively in flood relief work, searches for lost civilians and providing search and rescue capabilities at a number of defence bases.

In July 1976 four helicopters, maintenance personnel and aircrews were deployed to Ismailia, Egypt for service with a United Nations peace keeping force.

With the new French built Squirrels and the ubiquitous Iroquois - which soldiered on in the army support role - 5 Squadron continued its activities until December 1989 when it disbanded and was absorbed into the Australian Defence Force Helicopter Training School.

6 Squadron Australian Flying Corps & RAAF

No 6 Squadron formed in England in September 1917, providing vital training for Australian fighter pilots prior to their posting to the Western Front.

With the outbreak of World War II, 6 Squadron began flying anti-submarine and general reconnaissance patrols off the east coast of Australia.

In August 1942, Squadron Hudsons deployed to Milne Bay to provide reconnaissance and bomber support in defence of the Australian garrison. During the Japanese invasion of Milne Bay, 6 Squadron crews flew constant bombing and strafing missions against troops positions, landing barges, and ships. These attacks, which complemented those of two RAAF Kittyhawk squadrons, were particularly damaging and resulted in considerable losses to the enemy.

Based at Port Moresby, the Hudsons began to drop vital supplies to Australian troops fighting their way along the infamous Kokoda Trail. Although not an ideal aircraft for this task, over 23 tonnes of supplies were delivered under extremely hazardous conditions.

During a reconnaissance mission a Hudson was attacked by six Japanese fighters, and in a remarkable engagement, the slow and poorly armed bomber destroyed two of the fighters, and drove off the other four.

After being equipped with Lincoln bombers in 1948, 6 squadron provided training for 1 and 2 Squadrons aircrews throughout the 1950's. During this period, the Lincolns also participated in the British atomic bomb tests at Maralinga before being replaced with Canberra jet bombers.

In the early 1970's, 6 Squadron operated F4 Phantom's on lease from the United States Air Force, which were in turn replaced by General Dynamics FIII's in 1973. 6 Squadron continues to operate and maintain these formidable aircraft and with constant updates the F111 will continue its role as Australia's first line of defence.

7 Squadron Australian Flying Corps & RAAF

Formed in England in the last year of World War I, No 7 Squadron was responsible for training reconnaissance aircrew for No 3 Squadron.

World War II saw 7 Squadron Hudsons flying anti submarine patrols and convoy escorts off Australia's east coast. After being re-equipped with Beauforts, 7 Squadron moved to the Northern Territory, from where it conducted patrols over Australia's northern waters. Although these patrols were generally uneventful, squadron histories during this period record a successful attack on a Japanese submarine as well as the destruction of a number of Japanese "Jake" float planes.

After moving to New Guinea in October 1944, 7 Squadron began attacks against Japanese positions as well as ferrying supplies to remote Australian forces.

In November 1944, 7 Squadron Beauforts participated in the rescue of an American aircrew trapped behind Japanese lines. The Squadron provided cover for a Catalina flying boat and performed its role of suppressing enemy fire so effectively, that the crew were rescued without a single enemy shot being directed at them.

No 7 Squadron flew its last mission of the War on the 15 August 1945 when, hours before Japan's surrender, twelve aircraft struck targets in the Maprik area.

8 Squadron Australian Flying Corps & RAAF

No 8 Squadron formed in England in October 1917, to train pilots for Australian Flying Corps squadrons on the Western Front.

The day of Japan's entry to World War II found 8 Squadron in the process of relocating to Kuantan, Malaya. Twelve Hudsons were immediately dispatched to attack the Japanese invasion forces at Kota Bahru, and despite strong fighter opposition and anti aircraft fire, made effective attacks against Japanese troops and landing barges.

After firmly establishing their bridgehead, Japanese aircraft destroyed the base at Kuantan, forcing 8 Squadron to withdraw to Singapore.

On the 27 January 1942, 8 Squadron moved to Java where it continued to conduct vital reconnaissance and attack missions even after the Japanese invaded the island. With aircraft numbers dwindling, 8 Squadron was evacuated to Australia at the end of February.

In March 1943, the Squadron was reequipped with Australian built Beauforts and moved to Goodenough Island where it began torpedo operations in addition to its bombing roles.

8 Squadron later operated from bases in Nadzab and Tadji, where the Beauforts supported the Australian offensive against Wewak. After the Japanese surrender, 8 Squadron remained at Tadji until its disbandment in January 1946.

9 Squadron RAAF

No 9 Squadron was formed in January 1939 at Point Cook Victoria from No 5 Fleet Co-operation Squadron. The Units Seagull V amphibious aircraft - commonly referred to as the Walrus - were designed to be embarked on Royal Australian Navy cruisers to provide reconnaissance, anti-submarine and artillery spotting for the Navy.

After the declaration of war in September, several Walruses and their crews - embarked with their Australian cruisers - found themselves in the Mediterranean where they continued serve until early 1942.

With the entry of Japan into the War in December 1942, the Australian cruisers returned to the Pacific theatre where they could play a direct role in the defence of Australia.

During the War 9 Squadron personnel invariably suffered the same fate as the ships in which they were embarked. In a night action off Guadalcanal on 8 August 1942, five Squadron personnel were killed and a further two wounded when HMAS "Canberra" was sunk. Similarly, when HMAS "Sydney" was lost with all hands in an action on 19 November 1941, six squadron members were among those killed. Another five personnel died on 1 March 1942 when HMAS "Perth" was sunk in the Sundra Strait.

9 Squadron's combat record continued with its deployment to Vietnam in 1966. Equipped with Iroquois helicopters the unit provided essential support for Australian and New Zealand forces.

In late 1967, 9 Squadron was re-equipped with the more capable "D" and "H" models and, for the first time, Royal New Zealand Air Force and Royal Australian Navy pilots joined the Unit.

In order to provide vital suppression fire during the "hot" extraction of troops under fire, a number of 9 Squadron Iroquois were converted into attack helicopters or "gunships". These helicopters often came under enemy fire and on several occasions gunships were either shot down or badly damaged.

In early 1982, eight Iroquois and a contingent of personnel deployed to the Middle East on peace keeping duties as part of the Multi-National Force and Observers - a commitment which was maintained until 1986.

In February 1988, 9 Squadron began to re-equip with Blackhawk S-70A helicopters, but after conversion training had been completed the Unit moved to Townsville where it disbanded on 14 February 1989. The Squadron's personnel and helicopters were then used to form the nucleus of the Army's 5th Aviation Regiment.

10 Squadron RAAF

Immediately after forming at Point Cook Victoria in July 1939, 10 Squadron aircrew and ground staff departed for England to gain experience on Sunderland flying boats before ferrying them back to Australia. After war was declared, however, the Squadron remained in England on active service with RAF Coastal Command, becoming the first Dominion squadron to go into action in World War II.

The Unit's main tasks included convoy escorts, anti submarine patrols and air sea rescue work, and in July 1940, Flight Lieutenant Bill Gibson's crew gained the distinction of sinking the first submarine destroyed by the Squadron.

Operations continued into 1942 and 1943 with occasional attacks against U Boats and regular encounters with German fighter aircraft. As result of armament modifications by 10 Squadron personnel - including the addition of galley hatch and wing mounted machine guns - the Sunderlands came to be regarded as the 'flying porcupines' by German aircrew.

In the month of February 1944, 10 Squadron accomplished a Coastal Command record by flying over 1100 hours - this remarkable rate of effort was only achieved through the dedicated efforts of aircrew and ground staff. Anti-submarine patrols continued throughout 1944 and by the end of hostilities, 10 Squadron had destroyed six submarines and became the only RAAF squadron to see continuous active service throughout the war.

Based at Townsville in March 1949 and equipped with Lincoln's, 10 Squadron patrolled Australia's northern waters and much of the Pacific Ocean - a massive area representing about one tenth of the world's surface. From March 1962, 10 Squadron continued its operations with American built Neptunes - a much more capable anti-submarine aircraft than the modified Lincolns.

After moving to Edinburgh in 1978, 10 Squadron was re-equipped with Lockheed Orions. With the addition of the potent Harpoon missile to the Orions armory, the units capability now includes an anti-shipping role, and along with the Orions of 11 Squadron, 10 Squadron provides Australia with its maritime and anti submarine protection.

11 Squadron RAAF

Formed at Port Moresby New Guinea in March 1939 with Empire flying boats and Seagull amphibians, 11 squadron's first role was to monitor Japanese shipping movements in the region.

After Japans entry in the War, 11 Squadron was re-equipped with Catalina flying boats and despite having to operate out of remote bases throughout the region, the squadron sustained a very high rate of operations. Throughout the War, the Catalinas flew long range patrols of up to twenty hours, often involved night bombing attacks on Japanese island strongholds.

As the Japanese maintained their southward thrust, 11 squadron aircraft evacuated military personnel and civilians caught in the path of the advancing enemy. By February 1942, Port Moresby itself came under attack and the destruction of several flying boats on the water forced a withdrawal to northern Australia where operations continued uninterrupted.

On the night of 2 March 1943, Catalinas staging through Milne Bay, shadowed a large Japanese convoy during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. The next day, the convoy was almost completely destroyed in one of the decisive actions of the South West Pacific campaign.

April 1943 saw a mixed formation of 11 and 20 Squadron Catalinas carry out the RAAF's first mine laying operation when magnetic mines were successfully laid near Kaiving. This mission marked the commencement of a highly successful mining campaign which was responsible for the sinking of many ships, the disruption of maritime trade and the closure of ports. In one operation 11 Squadron participated in a mine laying mission to Manila Bay - the Catalinas flew over 14,500 kilometers - making this operation the RAAF's longest of the war.

After the war, 11 Squadron was re-equipped with Lincoln's, and deployed to Western Australia to conduct maritime patrols over the Indian Ocean. Lincoln operations were short-lived however, as 11 Squadron began receiving its first Neptunes the following year.

In February 1957, three 11 squadron Neptunes participated in "Operation Westbound" - the RAAF's first around the world flight.

The Squadron moved to South Australia in January 1968, re-equipping with P3-B Orions later that year. The "B" model Orions provided sterling service until their replacement with P3-C Orions in 1986. With these aircraft 11 Squadron continues to provide Australia with an invaluable long range anti-shipping and anti-submarine capability.

12 Squadron RAAF

In February 1939, 12 Squadron formed at Laverton Victoria and within five months relocated to Darwin - becoming the first RAAF squadron permanently based in the Northern Territory. In September of that year, 12 Squadron received its first Wirraways, which in conjunction with the squadrons Ansons, provided reconnaissance patrols along Australia's northern coastline.

Following Japan's entry to the War reconnaissance patrols intensified. Fortunately the squadron's aircraft were dispersed on several airfields when the Japanese launched two massive air attacks against Darwin in February 1942. 12 Squadron lost two Wirraways on the ground and a considerable quantity of technical equipment and stores when its new hanger was gutted by fire.

Following these raids, 12 Squadron was kept busy dropping supplies to survivors stranded when their ships were sunk by the Japanese. As the threat of invasion appeared imminent, 12 Squadron concentrated their maritime and anti-submarine patrols to the north of Darwin harbour.

After being re-equipped with Vultee Vengeance dive bombers 12 Squadron moved to Marauke on Dutch New Guinea, flying anti-submarine submarine patrols and convoy escort.

In mid 1944 12 Squadron moved to Queensland and commenced re-arming with Liberator heavy bombers. Following its return to Darwin in 1945, the squadron resumed its strikes against enemy shipping around Timor and in the Banda and Arafura Seas.

After Japans surrender, 12 Squadron dropped supplies of medicine and food to Allied POWs throughout the Dutch East Indies - the Liberators were also used to repatriate many of these unfortunate individuals to Australia.

12 Squadron was based at Amberley in 1974 when it received the first of 12 twin rotor Chinook medium lift helicopters. The versatility of the Chinooks ensured that their tasks were varied to say the least. They were regularly used in Army exercises, lifting artillery pieces and carrying troops. Civil aid activities also accounted for much of the Chinooks' flying effort, including numerous air-sea rescues and the delivery of fodder to livestock stranded by flood waters.

Following the introduction of the Blackhawk helicopter - which was expected to fulfill some of the Chinook's roles - 12 Squadron was disbanded on 25 August 1989.

13 Squadron RAAF

June 1940 saw 13 Squadron form at Darwin in the Northern Territory with personnel detached from No 12 Squadron. The unit soon took delivery of Hudsons and began reconnaissance and shipping patrols across Northern Australia.

At the commencement of hostilities with Japan, 13 Squadron was divided, with a flight of six Hudsons already at Laha on Ambon and another six at Namlea in the Dutch East Indies.

By January 1942, Laha and Namlea were under frequent attack, firstly by Japanese flying boats and later by land based aircraft. Despite an almost total lack of fighter and anti-aircraft defences, operations continued with some success in spite of continued heavy losses to enemy fighters.

The first weeks of February saw the few surviving Hudsons return to Darwin where they continued their vital reconnaissance flights and bombing missions. The first Japanese air raid on Darwin on 19 February destroyed the Unit's headquarters and vital stores, resulting in a partial withdrawal to Daly Waters. For its part in these critical operations against overwhelming odds, 13 Squadron was later awarded the United States Presidential Unit Citation - an honour bestowed on only two RAAF units - 13 and 2 Squadron.

Throughout 1942, 13 Squadron continued striking targets in Timor and the East Indies, as well as conducting reconnaissance and search missions. On 10 August, the squadrons Hudsons conducted a very successful shipping strike off the South Coast of Timor, sinking two Japanese ships and damaging a third.

After being re-equipped with Venturas in June 1944, 13 Squadron completed a succession of moves before finally being based at Gove in the Northern Territory. From here the Venturas flew regular anti-submarine patrols and bombing strikes around Timor and the Dutch East Indies.

After Japan's surrender the squadron evacuated POWs from enemy held areas before disbanding on 11 January 1946.

As a non-flying RAAF Reserve unit, 13 Squadron reformed at Darwin on 1 July 1989. The following year, 13 Squadron was finally presented with the Presidential Unit Citation which it had been awarded forty eight years previously.

14 Squadron RAAF

On 6 February 1939, 14 Squadron formed at Pearce, Western Australia. Initially equipped with Avro Ansons, the Squadron, spent the lead up to World War II engaged in navigational night flying training and exercises conducted in co-operation with the Army.

After the outbreak of hostilities, 14 Squadron began seaward reconnaissance flights and anti-submarine patrols prior to being re-equipped with Hudson's in mid-1940.

On 3 March 1942, 14 Squadron had its only real encounter with the enemy, when a Hudson was destroyed on the ground at Broome by Japanese fighters.

By late 1942, 14 Squadron was re-equipped with Australian-built Beauforts and continued its maritime patrols off Australia's west coast. This unspectacular but nonetheless vital work was carried out until the end of the War, when the squadron was disbanded.

15 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with Beauforts, No 15 Squadron formed at Camden New South Wales on 27 January 1944. The Unit operated in the anti-submarine and convoy escort role off Australia's East Coast for most of its short history.

In April 1945, a detachment of 15 Squadron aircraft deployed to Tadji, joining other Beaufort Squadrons attacking targets around Wewak. Operating at the end of a tenuous supply line which forced the squadron, at times to utilize captured Japanese bombs, the Beauforts undertook a series of very accurate strikes against Japanese positions.

Other missions during this period saw the squadron flying frequent reconnaissance and anti-submarine operations, as well as search and rescue missions. These rescue missions, often involved the units Beauforts providing suppression fire, enabling Catalina flying boats to land and rescue downed aircrew.

While active operations were being undertaken by the New Guinea detachment, other detachments were operating from Cairns and Townsville, carrying out reconnaissance and anti-submarine operations off the Queensland coast.

Following the War, 15 Squadron moved to Kingaroy where it disbanded on 23 March 1946.

18 Squadron RAAF

One of the RAAF's most unusual units, 18 Squadron formed at Fairbairn in the Australian Capital Territory on 4 April 1942. The commanding officer was a Dutch national, while the remainder of the squadron's complement was a mix of Netherlands East Indies citizens and Australians.

Allocated a bomber role, most of the Mitchell bombers were captained by Dutch pilots, with Australians and Dutch nationals making up the remaining aircrew.

On 6 July 1942, 18 Squadron was officially deleted as a unit of the RAAF and became part of the Netherlands East Indies Forces. The Squadron moved to the Darwin area in January 1943 and, under the operational control of RAAF Command, continued its attacks and anti-shipping strikes throughout the Netherlands East Indies.

After the War, RAAF personnel were withdrawn from 18 Squadron, which moved back to the East Indies and was later absorbed by the Indonesian Air Force.

21 Squadron RAAF

As an element of the Citizen Air Force, 21 Squadron formed at Laverton in April 1936. In September 1939, 21 Squadron mobilized for war and after re-equipping with Wirraways the squadron began training in co-operation with the Army.

The Squadron moved to Singapore in August 1940 and 12 months later were re-equipped with Brewster Buffalo fighters. With its new aircraft, 21 Squadron moved to the Malayan mainland where it became the only fighter squadron on the Malayan mainland when the Japanese attacked

The squadron's base at Sungai Pattani was repeatedly bombed by Japanese aircraft and several Buffaloes were destroyed or damaged. After unsuccessful attempts to intercept enemy bomber and fighter formations, 21 Squadron vacated Sungai Pattani and withdrew along the Malay peninsula under constant Japanese attacks.

Reserves of Buffaloes were soon exhausted and by January 1942, the few remaining 21 Squadron aircraft were transferred to 453 Squadron. Unit personnel were then evacuated through Sumatra and Java, finally arriving in Australia in March 1942.

Re-equipped with Vengeance dive bombers in September 1943, 21 Squadron was deployed to New Guinea in January 1944. Combat operations began almost immediately and over succeeding days airfields, barges and Japanese infantry positions came under very accurate attack from the Squadron's dive bombers. Unfortunately, after just two weeks, the Vengeance's were withdrawn from combat operations and the Squadron was re-located to Camden, New South Wales.

In July 1944 the squadron converted to Liberator heavy bombers and resumed operations from its base in Northern Australia. Flying armed reconnaissance sorties, the squadron participated in a number of attacks on Japanese convoys in the last days of the War. Following Japan's surrender, 21 Squadron Liberators were used to ferry personnel to Australia.

On 2 June 1960, 21 Squadron ceased operations as a flying squadron, however, the unit continues as a reserve squadron at Laverton providing RAAF Reserve support for the Melbourne region.


22 Squadron RAAF

No 22 Squadron formed at Richmond New South Wales in April 1936 and as a Citizen Air Force unit, its complement consisted of two thirds reserve personnel and one third permanent members.

Following the outbreak of WWII, 22 Squadron was mobilized and began anti submarine and convoy escort patrols off the east coast. By December 1941, the Unit was re-equipped with Australian-built Wirraways, however four months later the squadron converted to American-built Boston attack bombers.

In October 1942, 22 Squadron moved to New Guinea and begun flying air support for Australian troops defending Port Moresby.

In March 1943, the Squadron played an important part in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea by attacking and neutralizing the Japanese base at Lae. The Bostons also participated in a low level skip bombing attack on the Japanese convoy in which four destroyers and eight transport ships were sunk.

Two weeks later, six Bostons attacked the newly constructed oil storage facility at Salamaua. Flying through heavy anti-aircraft fire, Flight Lieutenant Newtons crew destroyed two oil tanks before their aircraft was rocked by explosions. Hit by no less than four anti aircraft shells, the Boston suffered extensive damage, yet despite its battered condition, Newton bought his crippled aircraft back to base and managed to land without injury to his crew. For this heroic action Flight Lieutenant Newton was later awarded the Victoria Cross - the highest gallantry award available to a member of the British Commonwealth, and the only such award made to a member of the RAAF in the Pacific theatre.

Sadly two weeks later, Newtons aircraft was shot down, and although surviving the crash, Flight Lieutenant Newton and another crew member were captured by the Japanese and executed.

Over the next two years the Bostons attacked targets throughout the South West Pacific, however, the Unit was dealt a severe blow in November 1944, when a Japanese air raid destroyed eleven Bostons at the base on Morotai Island. Operations were severely curtailed until the Unit was re-equipped with Australian built Beaufighters in January 1945.

Combat operations continued up until the end of hostilities, when 22 Squadron returned to Australia at the end of 1945, disbanding some eight months later.

After reforming as a Reserve unit in 1948, the squadron continues to provide support for Permanent Air Force activities in the Sydney region.

23 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with Avro Ansons, No 23 Squadron formed as a Citizen Air Force unit at Laverton Victoria in May 1938. The Unit was reformed at Richmond New South Wales, and after being equipped with Wirraways and Hudsons, began reconnaissance and anti-submarine patrols off the east coast of Australia.

23 Squadron moved to Queensland in May 1943 and soon received an allocation of P39 Airacobra fighters. With the departure of the Hudsons, the Squadron's order of battle now stood at six Airacobras and eighteen Wirraways.

By June the Squadron was again re-equipped, this time with Vultee Vengeance dive bombers. After a period familiarisation with the new aircraft, the unit began combat operations in February 1944, when the Vengeance's struck targets around Saidor in support of American ground forces.

Operations continued throughout the month, and despite the unit delivering its strikes with great accuracy, 23 Squadron along with other RAAF Vengeance squadrons, was withdrawn to the Australian mainland. On its return to Australia the squadron was reduced to a cadre unit pending the allocation of Liberator heavy bombers.

23 Squadron Liberators deployed to the Northern Territory in April 1945, and from here the squadron carried out reconnaissance and anti-shipping operations until the end of the War.

On 10 May, a very successful strike was conducted when six Liberators struck the Flores Islands, destroying and a number of vessels and extensively damaging Japanese facilities. Another successful raid occurred on 2 June when the Liberators destroyed four camouflaged Japanese aircraft at Cape Chater airfield on Timor.

After Japan's surrender the squadron participated in supply drops to Allied POWs still in Japanese hands before evacuating these POWs to Australia.

In April 1948, 23 Squadron reformed as a Citizen Air Force squadron, and continues to provide support for Permanent Air Force activities in the Brisbane region.

24 Squadron RAAF

Formed at Amberley Queensland in June 1940, 24 Squadron moved to Townsville in October and began maritime patrols off the Australian east coast, until the unit was deployed to New Britain in December 1941.

As Japanese forces advanced, the base at Rabaul soon came under constant attack. On the 20 February 1942 over one hundred Japanese aircraft struck the island. 24 squadron Wirraways took off to intercept the raiders but were immediately attacked by a large force of "Zero" fighters. Against such odds no effective defence could be offered - three Wirraways were shot down, two crash landed and another was damaged. With only two Wirraways and one Hudson remaining, the sick and wounded were evacuated, while the remainder of the Squadron's personnel trekked through dense jungle until their eventual rescue by Empire flying boats.

In July, 24 Squadron moved to Bankstown New South Wales where it operated an assortment of aircraft, including Airacobra and Buffalo fighters, Wirraways and Vengeance dive bombers.

By August 1943, the Unit had standardised with Vengeance's and was soon deployed to New Guinea, where dive bomber operations commenced from Nadzab. Accurate attacks were made against enemy occupied towns and on Japanese positions at Shaggy Ridge. The Vengeance's also supported the Cape Gloucester landings before being withdrawn to Australia in March 1944.

After re-equipping with Liberator heavy bombers 24 Squadron moved to the Northern Territory and commenced anti-shipping strikes, armed reconnaissance missions and bomber attacks against enemy occupied territory. Strikes, particularly against Balikpapan, continued until Japan's surrender in August. After the war 24 Squadron Liberators were used to ferry POW's and other personnel from Moratai to Australia.

24 Squadron reformed in South Australia in 1951 as a Reserve fighter squadron to train cadet pilots. The unit fulfilled this role until June 1960, when flying operations ceased. Shortly after, 24 Squadron moved to RAAF Base Edinburgh where it continues to provide support for Permanent Air Force activities in the Adelaide area.

25 Squadron RAAF

In January 1939, 25 Squadron formed in Western Australia, providing support for both the Army and Navy as well as cadet pilot training for the RAAF.

After war was declared, all reserve personnel were mobilised and the unit was allocated Australian built Wirraways. Following Japan's entry to the war, 23 Squadron received a small number of Buffaloes, and with these obsolescent aircraft, the unit was charged with the air defence of Perth.

By August 1943 the Squadron was re-equipped with Vengeance dive bombers and began air support exercises with Army units.

In January 1945, 25 Squadron was re-equipped with Liberator heavy bombers, and flew its first bombing mission two months later. For the remainder of the war, 25 Squadron flew long range missions against Japanese shipping and base facilities in the Dutch East Indies. In the months following the end of hostilities, 25 Squadron aircraft evacuated POWs to Australia until the unit was disbanded in July 1946.

25 Squadron was reformed as a Citizen Air Force unit at Pearce in April 1948. The Units role was to train cadet pilots and, after receiving Vampire jets, the squadron was also responsible for maintaining a fighter presence in Australia's West. In 1998, the Squadron split into two units. The reformed 79 Squadron, equipped with Macchis, continued to fly. The reserve element remained as 25 Squadron.

30 Squadron RAAF

Formed at Richmond New South Wales in March 1942, No 30 Squadron was quickly deployed to New Guinea, becoming the first RAAF Beaufighter squadron to see action in the Pacific Theatre. The Beaufighter, with its heavy cannon and machine gun armament, proved particularly effective against Japanese shipping and troop barges.

During the Battle of the Bismarck Sea - one of the decisive engagements of the Pacific Theatre - 30 Squadron Beaufighters flying at mast height, provided suppressive fire for following waves of allied bombers. The Japanese, under the mistaken impression that they were under torpedo attack, made a disastrous tactical error and turned their ships towards the Beaufighters, leaving them exposed to attack by American and Australian bombers. Eight troop laden transports and four destroyers were sunk in this battle for the loss of five aircraft, including one Beaufighter.

The day after this battle 30 Squadron attacked the Japanese base at Lae. Catching the base defenders unprepared, the Beaufighters destroyed six Zeros on the ground and extensively damaged base facilities.

Throughout the war, 30 Squadron Beaufighters ranged far and wide, attacking targets in the Celebes, Ambon, Ceram and the Halmaheras. Operating at low level - Beaufighter crews had little chance to escape if their aircraft was crippled - consequently high crew losses were to remain a hazard of Beaufighter operations throughout the War.

After the War, 30 Squadron undertook Target Towing and Special Duties at various bases throughout New South Wales, until the unit was disbanded in 1956.

Equipped with Bloodhound surface-to-air missiles, 30 Squadron reformed at Williamtown New South Wales in January 1961. The role of the newly formed missile squadron was to provide high level air defence for Australian military bases and industrial centers. A permanent detachment was based in the Northern Territory in 1965. Until its disbandment in 1968, 30 Squadron had the distinction of being the RAAF's only surface-to-air missile unit.

31 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with Beaufighters, 31 Squadron formed at Wagga New South Wales in August, deploying to the Northern Territory three months later. Operating at low level, Beaufighter attacks often caught the enemy by surprise as demonstrated when a formation of 31 Squadron Beaufighters caught forty Japanese fighters and bombers on the ground at Penfoei. Surprise was complete and eighteen aircraft were destroyed for no loss.

Another successful strike was made against Penfoei airfield in February 1943 when twelve aircraft were destroyed and ten damaged despite strong fighter opposition and heavy anti-aircraft fire.

Soon after this operation, 31 Squadron concentrated its efforts on destroying an important Japanese reconnaissance base at Taberfane in the Aru Islands. The first operation was flown on 6 May when five Beaufighters destroyed nine enemy aircraft on the water. On 4 June, four Beaufighters were engaged over Tabufane by nine floatplanes, resulting in three enemy aircraft shot down for no loss. A week later, the Squadron destroyed seven floatplanes on the water and severely damaged another two. Successful attacks against this base continued despite increased anti-aircraft defences until eventually, the Japanese were unable to sustain their losses and evacuated Taberfane.

By the end of the war, 31 Squadron had destroyed 54 aircraft and nine ships, and seriously damaged a further four ships. The Beaufighter's armament was steadily upgraded during the war, firstly with the addition of underwing bombs and later, wing mounted rockets were installed.

The Squadron impressive wartime achievements came to an end in July 1946 when the unit was disbanded.

32 Squadron RAAF

Hastily formed at Port Moresby in February 1942 with personnel drawn from other Units, 32 Squadron commenced reconnaissance and bomber operations from the very day of its formation.

In the face of advancing Japanese forces, 32 Squadron Hudsons covered vast tracks of ocean searching for enemy shipping. Encounters with Japanese fighters saw with many aircraft returning to base with wounded and dead crewmen on board. Port Moresby soon came under regular air attack and on the 24 February Japanese bombers struck, demolishing much of the Unit's camp, and destroying one aircraft on the ground.

Despite this, operations continued unabated, and on 7 March the squadron attacked a Japanese convoy leaving an 8,000 ton transport ship ablaze and listing heavily.

Two months later, a 32 Squadron crew located a Japanese aircraft carrier and other warships - information which proved to be of great value to Allied commanders during the Battle of the Coral Sea.

In the critical ground campaign now being fought in New Guinea, 32 Squadron, already heavily committed to reconnaissance and attack operations, began hazardous supply drops to Australian troops. This aerial re-supply was to have a direct bearing on the eventual success of the campaign.

32 squadron Hudsons also played an important part in the Battle for Milne Bay - when a reconnaissance mission successfully located Japanese invasion barges in the vicinity of Goodenough Island. These vessels were subsequently destroyed by Australian Kittyhawk fighters.

In September 1942 the squadron was withdrawn to Southern Australia and was re-equipped with Australian built Beauforts the following year. 32 Squadron spent the remainder of the war patrolling off Australia's east coast, until the unit was disbanded in November 1945.

Equipped with HS748 aircraft, 32 Squadron reformed at East Sale on 1 July 1989 and today operates in support of the School of Air Navigation and in the transport role.

33 Squadron RAAF
Initially equipped with Empire flying boats, 33 Squadron formed at Townsville in February 1942. Shortly after, the squadrons inventory was supplemented with a variety of lighter aircraft including Dragons, Ansons, Tiger Moths and Vigilants.

After moving to Port Moresby in January 1943, 33 Squadron was heavily involved in airlifting vital supplies to Australian forces in the jungles of New Guinea. Many freight runs to Myola and Kokoda were made - where even the diminutive Tiger Moths were pressed into service, delivering 77 kilograms of cargo each trip!

In October 1943, 33 Squadron was re-equipped with Dakotas and operated this type on transport duties until the end of the war. After Japan's surrender, 33 Squadron ferried POWs and Allied troops from their remote locations back to Australia, before disbanding in May 1946.

On 1 July 1983, 33 Squadron was re-established as a strategic transport squadron based at Richmond. Equipped with Boeing 707s, the Squadrons role also included VIP transport and air-to-air refueling for the RAAF's FA-18 Hornets.

Aside from its VIP tasks, 33 Squadron has undertaken many important operations since reforming. Until the RAAF withdrew its fighter presence from Butterworth in the late 1980s, regular transport flights were made to Malaysia. In 1989, 33 Squadron was involved in the deployment of Australian troops to Namibia for United Nations peace-keeping operations.

With the recently announced planned purchase of modern transport jets - 33 Squadrons strategic transport and air to air refueling capability will be enhanced, enabling the Squadron to continue its role as a vital and unique link in Australia's defence strategy.

34 Squadron RAAF

Formed as a transport squadron in February 1942, 34 Squadron was composed of an assortment of aircraft including Dragons, Ansons and Tiger Moths. Operating from remote Northern Territory airfields, 34 Squadron continued its courier role until its disbandment in December 1942.

Reforming in South Australia during January 1943, 34 Squadron was re-equipped with Dakotas four months later. The arrival of these robust and efficient aircraft allowed general freight and troop carrying operations to be extended throughout Australia, and into much of South East Asia.

After Japan's surrender, 34 Squadron evacuated Australian POWs from Singapore and commenced courier flights to Japan in support of the Allied occupation of that country. In February 1946, 34 Squadron returned to Australia, disbanding at Richmond four months later.

34 Squadron was reformed in March 1948 as a VIP transport and reconnaissance unit, principally support of the various activities undertaken at the Woomera rocket range in South Australia.

A new phase began for 34 Squadron in July 1959 when it was tasked with providing VIP transport for Australia's leading citizens and visiting dignitaries.

As a VIP squadron the Unit has carried members of the Royal Family, foreign dignitaries, heads of state, the Australian governor-general and politicians. With its modern Falcon aircraft and an outstanding record for safety and efficiency, 34 Squadron continues to provide a high standard of special transport for the Australian government.

35 Squadron RAAF

After forming in March 1942, 35 Squadron operated an assortment of aircraft in support of its courier and supply operations in Western Australia.

Based at Pearce in August 1943, the Squadron was reequipped with Dakota's, and with these new aircraft, operations were extended to Eastern Australia, New Guinea and the Pacific region.

After Japan's surrender, 35 Squadron supported the movement of three RAAF fighter squadrons and various support units to Japan before disbanding in June 1946.

On 1 June 1966, the RAAF Transport Flight in Vietnam was re-titled 35 Squadron. Equipped with the rugged Caribou aircraft, 35 Squadron flew from its home base at Vung Tau, operating cargo and passenger flights throughout South Vietnam. Paratrooping operations, in support of the South Vietnamese Army were also a feature of 35 Squadron's operations as were occasional night flare dropping missions.

The Caribou's regularly operated at very low level and came under constant small arms fire from the ground. These hazardous flying conditions resulted in the loss of several aircraft and injuries to both passengers and aircrew. Even in the relative safety of their bases the Caribous were regular targets for small arms and mortar fire, which saw one Caribou destroyed on the ground during a mortar attack.

35 squadron returned to Australia in February 1971 - being the last RAAF unit to leave Vietnam.

Four years after arriving back in Australia, the Squadron moved to Townsville Queensland, where the units Caribou's were joined by Iroquois helicopters. With this mixed fleet of aircraft, 35 Squadron undertook army tactical support tasks and civil aid operations, including search and rescue, medical evacuations and flood relief work.

35 Squadron continued its mixed rotary/fixed wing operations until December 1989, when the Iroquois were transferred to Army control.

Currently, 35 Squadron operates eight Caribou, and continues to provide a very high standard of support to Army units based in Northern Australia.

36 Squadron RAAF

Formed at Laverton Victoria in March 1942, 36 Squadron was equipped with an assortment of aircraft including six DC2s, two De Havilland 86s, a Ford Tri Motor and various other types.

After moving to Townsville in December 1942, the squadrons aircraft were gradually replaced with the ubiquitous DC3. Freight was continually flown to New Guinea and the first of several aircraft detachments to that combat zone commenced in 1943. These aircraft conveyed troops and freight to the forward bases, flying supply drops over difficult terrain in treacherous weather conditions.

After the Japanese surrender a 36 Squadron detachment based at Moratai, began courier runs to Japan in support of the Australian component of the Commonwealth Occupation Force. Two years later, half of the Squadron's aircrew were sent to Europe to participate in the Berlin Airlift - flying supplies to the beleaguered city.

In March 1953, 36 Squadron was based in Japan, carrying freight to and from Korea, evacuating casualties and providing a VIP transport capability for the United Nations Command. After the armistice in July, 36 Squadron remained in Japan supporting a continued United Nations presence in the Korean peninsula.

After returning to Australia 36 Squadron soon took delivery of its first C130A Hercules - becoming the first Air Force outside the United States to operate the airlifter. One of its first missions with the new aircraft was the deployment and maintenance of 79 Squadron to Ubon, Thailand. In addition to its role as a strategic airlifter, the Hercules also proved highly suited to civil aid tasks such as fodder drops during floods, air sea rescue work and medical evacuations. With the escalating commitment of Australian forces in Vietnam during the mid 1960s, 36 Squadron found itself operating a regular courier service to and from that country, carrying troops and equipment, and evacuating wounded soldiers back to Australia.

In 1978, after 20 years of sterling service the squadrons 'A' models were replaced with 'H' models. The Hercules continues to play a vital role in both the defence of this country and in supporting Australian interests abroad - such as the recent United Nations peace-keeping operations in Cambodia and Somalia.

37 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with Lodestar twin engined transports, 37 Squadron formed at Laverton Victoria in July 1943, flying regular courier runs in Australia and New Guinea. Some of the Squadrons runs saw the Lodestars flying journeys in excess of 11,000 kilometers to island bases in the South West Pacific.

After re-equipping with Dakotas the squadron spent the immediate months following Japan's surrender conveying Australian troops and equipment from island bases throughout the Pacific back to Australia. By 1946, 37 Squadron was supporting the deployment and maintenance of British Commonwealth Occupation Force's in Japan. The squadron returned to Australia in 1949.

After re-equipping with C130E Hercules in 1966, the Squadron began flying long-range transport missions in support of Australian force's in Vietnam. Apart from the usual troops and equipment, specially rigged Hercules crewed by aero-medical evacuation teams, conveyed wounded soldiers back to Australia.

After the Vietnam War, 37 Squadron continued to fly throughout the region with regular ports of call in Malaysia, Singapore and New Zealand. Civil aid and humanitarian tasks have also played a major part in the Unit's operation - notably the squadrons role in the evacuation and supply of Cyclone devastated Darwin and the large scale movement of civilian's around Australia during a protracted dispute amongst domestic pilots.

38 Squadron RAAF

Formed in Richmond New South Wales in September 1943, 38 Squadron Hudsons transported supplies and passengers throughout Australia until their replacement with Dakotas eight months later. With these more capable aircraft, operations were extended into New Guinea and other localities in the South West Pacific. In the forward areas, hazardous low level supply dropping missions, were conducted in support of Australian troops, and in this role, the popular Dakotas became known as the "Biscuit Bombers" to the grateful Aussie diggers.

Following the war, 38 Squadron participated in the Japan courier run - a thrice weekly service in support of the Australian component of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. This arduous journey - a distance of some 20,000 kilometers - was extremely demanding and saw many crews being away home for extended periods.

From late 1948, a large portion of 38 Squadrons aircrew strength was attached to the RAF in Europe to fly British Dakotas during the Berlin Airlift. Two years later the squadron deployed to Singapore for operations against Communist insurgents in Malaya, where it was again placed under the control of the RAF. Operations included supply drops, casualty evacuation and VIP transport, and extended as far afield as Ceylon, the Philippines, Korea and Japan.

In November 1950, half of 38 Squadrons complement of Dakotas deployed to Korea and immediately began operations in support of United Nation forces.

After returning to Australia in 1952, the Dakotas soldiered on for many years, until they were replaced by the Caribou in 1964. These new aircraft - with their remarkable short field take off and landing capability - were soon detached to Port Moresby - where the extremely demanding flying conditions provided the Caribou crews with an excellent opportunity to hone their flying skills.

Another deployment commenced in March 1975, when a white painted Caribou was attached to a United Nations observer group monitoring the ceasefire between Pakistan and India.

With its easy access rear loading door and the ability to operate from unimproved landing strips, the Caribou has proved extremely useful during civil disasters. 38 Squadron aircraft frequently assist in flood relief operations, including fodder drops to stranded cattle, as well as search and rescue missions and fisheries surveillance. On the military side, the Units operations encompass tactical supply missions, paratrooping and the delivery of stores into unprepared strips using the low altitude parachute extraction system.

In December 1992, 38 Squadron moved to Amberley and where it continues to operate the venerable Caribou in support of the Australian Army.

40 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with six Sunderland flying boats 40 Squadron formed in Queensland on 31 March 1944. Initial operations saw the squadron operating between Townsville and New Guinea, ferrying supplies and passengers. In July 1944, 40 Squadron was relocated to Port Moresby, where it continued its transport duties to mainland Australia as well as other island destinations.

During one mission in March 1945, a 40 Squadron Sunderland located survivors from a crashed Dakota. The Sunderland crew dropped a dingy and medical supplies to the survivors and remained on station to guide a naval trawler to pick up the Dakota's crew.

By mid-1945, four Martin Mariner flying boats were added to the squadrons inventory, operating alongside the Sunderlands. With the cessation of hostilities, 40 Squadron repatriated Australian personnel to the mainland prior to moving to New South Wales in March 1946.

Catalinas soon replaced the Mariners, however, operations were rapidly scaled down and on the 19 June 1946, 40 Squadron was disbanded.

41 Squadron RAAF

Formed at Townsville Queensland in August 1942, 41 Squadron operated Empire flying boats, carrying freight and passengers along Australia's east coast and New Guinea.

June 1943 saw the first of six ex-Dutch Dornier flying boats allotted to 41 Squadron as replacements for the Empires. Although impressive in appearance, these three engined aircraft could only carry 908 kilograms of freight and were in very poor mechanical condition. Despite the tireless efforts of squadron ground staff, the serviceability rates for these aircraft remained poor.

By February 1944, Martin Mariner flying boats arrived to supplement the Dorniers. These new aircraft, with their greater payload and performance quickly became the preferred aircraft, especially on the longer flights to Noumea, Espirito Santo and other island ports of call. Apart from its transport role the squadron also effected a number of search and rescue missions.

By the end of the War the squadron had rescued over one hundred and fifty personnel from the waters of the Pacific. After briefly operating a daily service from Cairns to New Guinea, 41 Squadron was disbanded on 27 September 1945.

42 Squadron RAAF

Formed in the Northern Territory in June 1944, 42 Squadron was soon deployed to New Guinea.

Operating from Melville Bay the Catalina's flew reconnaissance and escort missions, however by the end of the year, the squadron's role was concentrated on mine laying operations. The squadrons highly successful mine-laying campaign soon sealed off most of the Celebes from coast-hugging Japanese vessels.

In October 1944, a 41 Squadron Catalina damaged by anti-aircraft fire, made a forced landing south of Japanese occupied Celebes. Flying through enemy held territory, a 41 Squadron Catalina, accompanied by B-24 Liberator, rescued the crew before destroying the downed Catalina to prevent its capture. A journey of nearly 2,500 kilometers through enemy airspace, this mission ranks as one of the epic sea rescues of the Pacific theatre.

42 Squadron's mine laying operations continued until the end of hostilities. Following the war, the Catalina's assisted in the repatriation of POWs and other personnel until November 1945, when the Squadron was disbanded.

60 Squadron RAAF

Formed at Wagga New South Wales in January 1942, 60 Squadron's three flights of Wirraways were soon relocated to nearby Cootamundra. Operational training for the squadron consisted of flight formation, high dive bombing and air to ground gunnery.

In conjunction with another Squadron based at Wagga, 60 Squadron conducted air-defence exercises against the possibility of a Japanese air raid.

60 Squadron's existence was short, however, as the Unit was disbanded only three months after its formation.

66 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with Avro Ansons, 66 Squadron formed at Bundaberg Queensland in May 1943. The squadron conducted anti-submarine patrols and convoy escort missions off Australia's east coast for the remainder of the year.

Although its operations were for the most part uneventful, 66 Squadron did achieve over 1000 operational flying hours before its disbandment in January 1944.

67 Squadron RAAF

67 Squadron formed at Laverton Victoria in January 1943, and spent the majority of its relatively short life operating from bases throughout Victoria and Southern New South Wales. Equipped with Avro Ansons, the squadron conducted anti-submarine patrols and convoy escort missions around Southern Australia for the remainder of the War.

Although operations were mostly routine and uneventful, the minesweeper HMAS Orara was saved from possible attack when 67 Squadron Ansons dropped their bombs nearby, on what they believed to be a Japanese submarine. The previous day a small vessel was torpedoed and sunk in the same area in which HMAS Orara was operating.

67 Squadron was disbanded at Laverton in November 1945.

71 Squadron RAAF

71 Squadron, equipped with Ansons, formed at Lowood Queensland in January 1943. Operating from a number of bases along the east coast, the squadron conducted anti-submarine patrols and convoy escort missions off eastern Australia.

Although few submarine sightings were made, an Anson did bomb a suspected Japanese submarine in March 1943, however, the crew was unable to confirm if this attack was successful.

Other activities that were carried out before the Unit was disbanded in August 1944 include, a number of air sea rescue missions, and exercises conducted in co-operation with the army and navy.

73 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with Ansons, 73 Squadron formed at Cootamundra New South Wales in May 1942. The Squadron conducted anti submarine patrols and convoy escort missions off Australia's East Coast - operating from bases at Nowra, Camden and Coffs Harbour.

By January 1944, 13 of the units Ansons had their gun turrets replaced with Air-to-Surface Radar. Operations by the squadron were routine and uneventful and by September 1944 73 Squadron had disbanded.

75 Squadron RAAF

Formed in Queensland in March 1942, 75 Squadron was to become one of the RAAF's most famous units. Equipped with American-built Kittyhawk fighters, and with only one weeks training, the Squadron flew to New Guinea.

On the afternoon of their arrival two Kittyhawks shot down a Japanese bomber, while the next day saw the squadron destroy twelve enemy aircraft during an attack on Lae airfield.

After this most successful beginning, 75 Squadron went on to extract a heavy toll on the Japanese.

Continuous combat took its toll on both men and machine and after six weeks of fighting, a battle weary 75 Squadron - with just one serviceable Kittyhawk left - was relieved and returned to Australia. During its first forty four days of combat, 75 Squadron destroyed thirty four enemy aircraft and damaged a further forty four. Sadly, the Squadrons heroic defence of Port Moresby did come at a terrible price - twelve pilots were killed and many more wounded.

A replenished 75 Squadron returned to New Guinea in August and joined with 76 Squadron in the defence of Milne Bay. Soon after their arrival, a Japanese invasion force steaming towards Milne Bay came under attack from Squadron Kittyhawks modified to carry bombs.

Although a number of ships were damaged, the Japanese convoy sailed into Milne Bay on the 24 August, disembarking their troops before dawn. At first light, the Kittyhawks began shuttle attacks against landing barges, stores and troops. Despite torrential rain and appalling conditions ground personnel worked tirelessly to refuel and rearmed the Kittyhawks. Although Australian ground forces were contesting every yard, the enemy was soon so close, the Kittyhawks guns were firing before their undercarriages had retracted.

Gradually the Australians gained the upper hand and when it became apparent to the Japanese that the battle was lost, Japanese ships under the relative protection of darkness, entered Milne Bay and embarked what troops and equipment they could.

After playing its part in the first defeat of Japanese ground forces in the Pacific War, 75 Squadron - operating from a succession of bases - continued to attack Japanese garrisons for the duration of the war.

The squadrons first permanent deployment after the war, saw 75 squadron personnel, operating RAF Vampire jet fighters, in defence of the Mediterranean island of Malta.

After the squadron's return to Australia in 1955, the Vampires were soon replaced by the highly maneuverable Sabre. This popular aircraft was in turn replaced by the supersonic Mirage in August 1965.

In 1967, 75 squadron deployed to Malaysia and after sixteen years in Butterworth, returned to Australia. By 1988 the squadron had moved to its present location at Tindal in the Northern Territory, and from here it continues to operate the multi-role F-18 Hornets in the defence of northern Australia.

76 Squadron RAAF

Shortly after forming in Queensland in March 1942, 76 Squadron Kittyhawks deployed to Milne Bay to confront the advancing Japanese.

On 24 August, the Japanese invaded Milne Bay. The following battle for Milne Bay was to become one of the most significant battles in the South West Pacific and represents the first land defeat of Japanese forces in the War. The two week battle saw 76 Squadron Kittyhawks flying bombing and strafing operations in support of the desperate Australian diggers - who were slowly but inexorably being pushed back towards the RAAF airstrips.

With Australian ground forces contesting every yard and constant air attacks by the Kittyhawk Squadron's, the Australian defenders slowly gained the upper hand. After six days of bloody combat, it was becoming apparent that the Japanese were loosing the battle and pressure on the Australian troops gradually decreased.

By September, the first signs that the Japanese were loosing the will to fight was detected and soon Japanese ships under the cover of darkness began embarking troops and equipment. The battle raged on, however, until the evening of 7 September when the last remnants of the Japanese force evacuated Milne Bay.

Having played a vital part in the Australian victory, an exhausted 76 Squadron withdrew to Australia where it re-grouped at Potshot, Western Australia in 1943. Sadly, it was while the squadron was based at Potshot, that it lost one of its most colourful officers and the RAAF's second highest scoring ace pilot, when Squadron Leader Truscott was killed in a flying accident.

After being re-equipped with new Kittyhawks in May, the squadron returned to combat operations at Goodenough Island - to the north of New Guinea. A succession of moves saw the squadron operating from a number of Pacific Island bases, until its final wartime deployment to Labuan - where the Squadron supported the invasion of Borneo.

After the war, 76 Squadron was re-equipped with Mustangs and deployed to Japan for duty with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force.

On its return to Australia in 1948, 76 Squadron pilots converted to Vampire jet fighters, before deploying to Malta in 1952 to join NATO forces in the Mediterranean area.

From 1960, 76 Squadron was based at RAAF Williamtown New South Wales operating Australian-built Sabres. In 1966 the squadron entered the supersonic age when it began operations with the French designed/Australian built Mirage.

The squadron's fighter role came to an end with the replacement of the Mirage by the Macchi jet trainer in 1989. This aircraft provides jet experience for pilots selected for duty with the RAAF Hornet squadrons. In addition to its training role, 76 Squadron also operated specially converted PC-9 aircraft in forward air control operations.

77 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with Kittyhawk fighters 77 Squadron formed in Western Australia in March 1942, moving to the Northern Territory in August.

During the Squadrons defence of Darwin, Squadron Leader Cresswell made the first enemy 'kill' over Australian soil when he shot down a Japanese bomber over Darwin.

February 1943 saw 77 Squadron join 75 and 76 Squadron in the defence of Milne Bay. Soon after its arrival, sixty five Japanese aircraft raided Milne Bay and were engaged by fifteen Kittyhawks from both 77 and 75 squadrons. In the ensuing combat four bombers and two fighters were shot down and a further five bombers probably destroyed for the loss of one Kittyhawk.

After deploying to Goodenough Island in June, 77 Squadron flew fighter escort missions for bombers attacking Gasmata. A succession of moves saw the Squadron in Labuan in the last months of the War, from where it was deployed to Japan to participate in the Allied occupation force of that country.

On 25 June 1950, 77 Squadron was committed to support United Nation forces in Korea. With the Squadron's deployment, Australia became the first United Nations member, outside the United States, to conduct combat operations in the defence of South Korea.

The Squadrons Mustangs were used extensively in the close support and interdiction roles, striking Communist targets both south and north of the 38th parallel. In April 1951 77 Squadron was re-equipped with Meteor jet fighters. The Australians gained their first confirmed MiG "kill" on 1 December when twelve Meteors were engaged by over fifty MiG 15s over Pyongyang. For the destruction of one MiG the squadron lost three Meteors with a further two damaged. This encounter highlighted the MiG's superiority in aerial combat, and as a result, the Meteor's were confined to ground attack operations. In this role, the Meteors took a considerable toll on North Korean and Chinese ground forces, however, the Squadron suffered heavily at the hands of the MiG's and anti-aircraft units. By the end of hostilities in July 1953, 77 squadron had lost thirty eight aircrew, with another seven captured by the enemy.

Equipped with Australian-built Sabres in November 1956, the Squadron was soon deployed from its base at Williamtown to Malaya, in support of Commonwealth forces engaged in anti-terrorist operations. The Sabres flew a few ground attack missions against jungle covered targets before the "Malayan Emergency" was officially concluded in mid-1960.

Remaining at Butterworth during the period of "Confrontation" with Indonesia, the squadron provided a vital air defence capability for the region during this period of instability.

Returning to Williamtown in early 1969, the squadron converted to the Mirage supersonic fighter, and with this superb aircraft participated in numerous air defence exercises both within Australia and overseas.

By 1987, after a short period operating Macchi jet trainers 77 Squadron was re-equipped with the FA-18 multi-role fighters. With these highly capable aircraft, 77 Squadron operates in the both air defence and ground attack roles and remains at the forefront of Australia's air defence. The Squadron also now operates specially converted PC-9 aircraft in the forward air control role.

78 Squadron RAAF

78 Squadron, equipped with Kittyhawks, formed at Camden in New South Wales in July 1943. Operational by October, the Unit moved to Kiriwina Island in November, where the squadron provided bomber escort and ground attack missions, against targets around Gasmata.

A succession of moves bought the Squadron to Hollandia where the unit fought the RAAF's last major air combat of the Pacific War - on 3 June 1944, sixteen Kittyhawks attacked a formation of twelve fighters and three dive bombers. For the loss of one aircraft, the Kittyhawks claimed nine enemy aircraft destroyed and six damaged.

Subsequent moves took the Unit to Noemfoor, Moratai and finally Tarakan where the squadron continued its ground attack operations until the end of the war.

After returning to Australia in December 1945, the squadron operated Mustangs for a short period until its disbandment in April 1948.

79 Squadron RAAF

Formed at Laverton Victoria in April 1943, 79 Squadron deployed to Goodenough Island two months later. The squadrons Spitfires conducted fighter sweeps and bomber escorts for the remainder of the year, recording three confirmed enemy 'kills'.

In 1944 the squadron's flying operations intensified, however, mechanical failure and crash landings on the water logged landing strip, resulted in the loss of a number of aircraft and pilots during this period.

In January 1945, 79 Squadron moved south to Darwin but was in action a month later on the island of Moratai. After Japan's surrender the squadron moved to Queensland where it disbanded on 12 November 1945.

Reforming in 1962, 79 Squadron proceeded to Ubon, Thailand where it was to help resist an expected invasion of Thailand by North Vietnamese forces. Although no attack eventuated, the squadron's Sabres were kept fully armed, maintaining a state of constant operational readiness.

After five years in Thailand 79 squadron was disbanded, however 18 years later, the squadron reformed for a short period at Butterworth Malaysia, following 3 Squadrons return to Australia for re-equipping with FA-18 Hornets. Equipped with Mirage jet fighters 79 Squadron participated in numerous air defence exercises and represented the RAAF's last permanent fighter presence in Malaysia. 79 Squadron disbanded for the last time on 30 June 1988.

The Squadron was reformed in 1998 and is now located at RAAF Base Pearce, WA. The Squadron operates Macchi aircraft and runs conversion courses for newly graduated pilots from No. 2 Flying Training School and pilots converting to fast jets from other RAAF Squadrons.

80 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with Kittyhawks, 80 Squadron formed at Townsville Queensland in September 1943. The Unit deployed to Nadzab in New Guinea beginning combat operations in February 1944.

80 Squadron operated from a secession of bases throughout the South West Pacific, participating mainly in ground attack operations. In April 1944, the squadron was deployed to Aitape to cover the allied landing at Hollandia and provided air support for subsequent landings at Wakde and Biak.

Following these operations, 80 squadron aircraft remained grounded at Moratai during the allied landings at Tarakan - an action that caused considerable dismay amongst the squadrons pilots.

After Tarakan the squadron flew close support missions for the Army until the Japanese surrender four months later.

80 Squadron returned to Australia in December 1945 and disbanded at Deniliquin New South Wales in July the following year.

82 Squadron RAAF

Initially equipped with Kittyhawk and Airacobra fighters, 82 Squadron formed at Bankstown New South Wales in June 1943. In May 1944, 82 Squadron relocated to Ross River airfield near Townsville where the squadron participated in training exercise with Army units until its redeployment to New Guinea in August. Soon after their arrival, 82 Squadron flew its first combat mission bombing and strafing targets at Sorong. Ground attack operations as well as barge sweeps along the New Guinea coast became the focus of the squadrons efforts for the next six months. In 1945 the Squadron moved to Moratai, from where it flew convoy patrols around Borneo and assisted ground forces in operations against by-passed Japanese garrisons.

June 1945 saw 82 Squadron operating from Labuan Island providing close air support to Australian troops during the Borneo operations. 82 Squadron's most successful strike during this period occurred in mid August when several Kittyhawks caught Japanese aircraft about to take off from Kuching airfield. Four enemy aircraft were destroyed and two others damaged before the fighters turned their attention to barge traffic on the Sarawak River.

Almost as soon as hostilities ceased 82 Squadron was informed that it would form part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force which was to garrison of a defeated Japan. The Unit converted to Mustangs and in March 1946, moved to Bofu in Japan. 82 Squadron was engaged on surveillance patrols over Japan until it was disbanded at Iwakuni on 22 October 1948.

83 Squadron RAAF

83 Squadron formed at Strathpine Queensland in February 1943 and began defensive patrols over Brisbane with Airacobra and Boomerangs fighters. Although its complement called for 337 personnel, the squadron was initially required to operate and maintain its 23 aircraft with only 10 officers and 27 airmen.

83 Squadron deployed to Melville Island for a month, before returning to the Queensland mainland in January 1944, where the units Boomerangs continued to provide fighter cover for Allied shipping.

83 Squadron moved to New South Wales in August 1944, and following a final move to Menangle, the Squadron was disbanded on 18 September 1945.

84 Squadron RAAF

On 5 February 1943, 84 Squadron formed at Richmond New South Wales and within two months the Squadron's Boomerangs were deployed to Horn Island. The Boomerangs, along with 86 Squadron Kittyhawks, were responsible for the air defence of Horn Island and Merauke. Due to a lack of enemy activity, however, flying mainly consisted of uneventful patrols over Merauke - where a detached flight was later based.

The occasional enemy actions served to highlight the Boomerangs limitations as a fighter. On the 16 May 1943, two 84 Squadron Boomerangs on a routine patrol located and attacked three "Betty" bombers. The Australian-built fighters and Japanese bombers exchanged fire, however, the "Bettys" escaped without damage. Four months later, four Boomerangs and a larger force of 86 Squadron Kittyhawks scrambled to intercept a Japanese attack against Merauke. While the Kittyhawks shot down a number of enemy aircraft, the slower Boomerangs were unable to close for combat.

In September 1943, 84 Squadron was allocated Kittyhawks and continued its ground attack missions against targets in Dutch New Guinea. The Unit moved to Aitkenvale in May 1944 where it was reduced to cadre pending re-equipment with Mustangs. Before the Squadron's Mustang fighters could become operational the War ended, and four months later 84 Squadron was disbanded.

86 Squadron RAAF

Initially equipped with Kittyhawk fighters, 86 Squadron formed at Gawler South Australia in March 1943. After staging through Townsville the Squadron deployed to Dutch New Guinea in July.

On 9 September 1943, the Unit fought its only major combat of the War when fourteen Kittyhawks engaged 36 enemy fighters and bombers as they raided the Marauke airfield. During this attack many of the Kittyhawks suffered from gun malfunctions, however, three enemy fighters were shot down.

For the remainder of the war the squadron flew regular fighter sweeps and ground attack missions - which were generally uneventful in nature. Further, air combat opportunities occurred in the first weeks of 1944 when Squadron Kittyhawks shot down three enemy aircraft near Cape Valsch.

In May 1944, the Squadron was transferred to Bohle River where in June 1945 it began to re-equip with Mustangs. Four months after the cessation of hostilities, 86 Squadron was disbanded.

87 Squadron RAAF

Initially equipped with Mosquito and Wirraway aircraft, 87 Squadron was formed from elements of No 1 Photographic Unit on 10 September 1944. Based at Coomalie Creek, 87 Squadron provided photo reconnaissance support for Allied air force operations to the north of Australia.

The squadrons Mosquito and Lightning aircraft were ideally suited to the aerial reconnaissance role, as their maneuverability and high speed meant that they were rarely troubled by enemy aircraft. This is clearly demonstrated by an incident in April 1945, when a Mosquito was intercepted by a Japanese fighter during a shadowing operation on the Japanese cruiser "Isuzu" and four smaller warships. The Mosquito crew on observing the enemy approaching, simply increased their speed, leaving the enemy fighter far behind.

87 Squadron's longest reconnaissance mission of the War was carried out in July 1945, when a Mosquito conducted aerial reconnaissance over targets in Java - a flight which covered over 3,700 kilometers.

After Japans surrender, 87 Squadron moved to New South Wales where it disbanded in July 1946. The squadron was reformed at Fairbairn in 1948 when the Survey Flight was redesignated 87 Squadron.

Operating in the photo survey role, 87 Squadron carried out many important operations in conjunction with the Commonwealth Survey Committee and National Mapping Council. March 1953 saw the commencement of 87 Squadron's last major task - a survey of the Great Sandy Desert. On completion of this survey 87 Squadron was disbanded in December of that year.

92 Squadron RAAF

Formed at Kingaroy Queensland in May 1945, 92 Squadron's short history was marred by the crash of a Beaufighter at Narranderra in September 1945, which claimed the lives of seven personnel. Before the Unit could become operational, hostilities had ceased, and on 17 September 1945 the Unit disbanded.

93 Squadron RAAF

After forming at Kingaroy Queensland in January 1945, 93 Squadron Beaufighter's deployed to Labuan, Borneo in July. Referred to as the 'Green Ghost Squadron', the Squadron's first mission was flown on 26 July when two aircraft flew an armed reconnaissance over Borneo.

Five days later, rocket armed Beaufighters attacked a barge carrying Japanese soldiers accompanied by a vessel identified as a Japanese oil tanker. Eighteen hits were recorded on the 800 ton tanker, which was later reported to have sunk.

Operations in the month following Japans surrender saw the Beaufighters dropping leaflets over Japanese areas advising the isolated units that the war was over. The following months, 93 Squadron Beaufighters provided navigation escorts to formations of RAAF single-engine fighters returning to Australia or proceeding to Japan on occupation duties.

Returning to Australia in 1946, 93 Squadron was disbanded at Narromine New South Wales on 22 August 1946.

94 Squadron RAAF

94 Squadron formed in New South Wales on 30 May 1945 and was designated to join No 86 Wing. The squadron began familiarisation training with Mosquitoes, however, the War was to end before the unit could become operational. On the 7 January 1946, 94 Squadron moved to Richmond where it was disbanded two weeks later.

99 Squadron RAAF

99 Squadron formed with Liberators at Leyburn Queensland on 1 February 1945, moving to Jondaryan six weeks later. In May an advance party arrived in Darwin and was joined by the remainder of the squadron some four months later.

During its short stay in Darwin the squadrons 14 Liberators ferried former POW's and other personnel to Southern capitals - delivering cargo on the return journeys. During October, Squadron Liberators ferried nearly 800 ex-POWs and service personnel to various southern capitals.

99 Squadron moved to New South Wales in November 1945 where it disbanded some seven months later.

100 Squadron RAAF

100 Squadron was formed in February 1942 out of a nucleus of surviving personnel from the RAF's 100 Torpedo Bomber Squadron who had escaped from Malaya. The first RAAF squadron to be equipped with Australian built Beauforts, 100 Squadron was deployed to Queensland in May, where it conducted further torpedo bomber training and anti-submarine patrols.

In June 1942, a detachment of Squadron Beauforts based at Port Moresby, carried out the RAAF's first Beaufort operation when seven aircraft bombed shipping in the Lae area. Despite the loss of one bomber and severe damage to another, the mission was a success and resulted in the sinking of a Japanese merchant vessel.

100 Squadron deployed to Milne Bay in September, flying reconnaissance and bombing missions against coastal shipping. On the 6 October 1942, the squadron conducted the first land based torpedo strike and over the succeeding months a number of enemy vessels were damaged or sunk - including a Japanese cruiser.

100 Squadron also took part in the famous Battle of the Bismarck Sea in March 1943, when eight torpedo armed Beauforts met with limited success against a dispersed Japanese convoy. This mission proved to be the Squadron's last torpedo bombing mission and thereafter it operated solely in the level bombing mode - striking targets by night - in particular, the Japanese fortress at Rabaul.

From October 1943 onwards, the squadron had a succession of moves, finally ending up at Tadji. Bombing operations against Japanese troop concentrations hidden in the jungles continued throughout this period. On the 11 September 1944 the squadron conducted operation 'Wewak Welter' - an all out offensive against the Japanese airfield at Wewak - dropping over 78,000lbs of bombs on the target.

After the war 100 Squadron was involved in leaflet drops to Japanese positions and escorting single engine fighters on ferry flights back to Australia. The Squadron disbanded in New Guinea on 19 August 1946.

102 Squadron RAAF

107 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with Kingfisher float planes 107 Squadron formed in the central New South Wales coastal town of Rathmines in May 1943. The Squadron conducted anti-submarine patrols and convoy escorts from the congested Lake Macquarie area until it was moved in mid 1944 to St Georges Basin.

To enhance the Kingfishers capability squadron personnel removed armour plating and wing fuel tanks as well as modifying the bomb racks to carry 250lb depth charges.

On the 25 and 26 December 1944 the squadron was involved in the unsuccessful search for a German submarine which had sunk an American liberty ship off Jervis Bay. With the arrival of the British Pacific Fleet in waters off Sydney in March 1945, the squadron was involved in the rescue of a number of Royal Navy pilots who had ditched into the sea.

Following the end of the War, 107 Squadron continued its activities until its disbandment in October 1945

450 Squadron RAAF

450 Squadron formed without aircraft in February 1941, and departed Australia for the Middle East two months later. On arrival Squadron personnel were incorporated into No 260 Squadron - an RAF Hurricane unit - for operations against Vichy French targets in Syria.

With the end of the Syrian campaign in July, the two squadrons were separated and 450 Squadron moved to Rayak, where it was allocated Hurricanes and Magisters. However, after only two weeks, 450 Squadron's aircraft were re-allocated and squadron personnel were moved to Burg-El-Arab to undertake aircraft repair duties.

Finally, in January 1942, 450 Squadron received Kittyhawks and began training as an operational fighter squadron.

In the face of the advancing Afrika Corps, 450 Squadron flew constant bombing and strafing missions, as well providing escort for allied bombers. Although Kittyhawk losses were heavy, 450 Squadron maintained its damaging attacks against German and Italian forces.

Following the Allied break through at El Alemein, 450 Squadron was constantly on the move. Operating from hastily constructed airfields, several personnel were killed or wounded by mines left by the retreating enemy.

With the end of the North African campaign in May 1943, 450 Squadron - staging through Malta - arrived in Italy, where the Kittyhawks were to fly ground attack operations for the remainder of the War. In addition to its operations in Italy, the Squadron also assisted the Tito's partisans with attacks on ports and shipping along the Yugoslavia coastline. These attacks were particularly hazardous, as the Germans quickly developed an excellent anti-aircraft defence system.

On 21 March 1945, 450 Squadron participated in a massed air attack against Venice Harbour, resulting in the sinking of two merchant ships, as well as the destruction of five warehouses and harbour facilities.

Soon after re-equipping with Mustangs, the War in Europe ended. Remaining in Italy, 450 Squadron was disbanded at Lavariano on 20 August 1945.

451 Squadron RAAF

451 Squadron, an army co-operation unit, formed in New South Wales in February 1941 - sailing for Egypt three months later. Equipped with Hurricanes, the Squadron flew tactical reconnaissance operations against German and Italian forces.

In November 1941, 451 Squadron supported British troops during the "Crusader" offensive - playing an important role in locating enemy troop concentrations and fortifications. During this offensive, a detachment of Squadron Hurricanes operating from within the Tobruk fortress, suffered particularly heavy loses.

After the conclusion of "Crusader", 451 Squadron was withdrawn from operational flying and placed on garrison duty in Syria and Cyprus for most of 1942. In January 1943 the Squadron returned to Egypt and with the allocation of Spitfires, was responsible for the air defence of part of the Nile Delta. With the Germans in retreat following allied victory at El Alamein, the Spitfires rarely encountered enemy aircraft for the remainder of 1943.

In March 1944, 451 Squadron personnel moved to Corsica, and after being re-equipped with Spitfires, supported the invasion of Southern France. Enemy opposition to the invasion was slight and patrols over the bridgehead and bomber escort missions were uneventful.

At the end of 1944, 451 squadron moved to England and for the remainder of the war was engaged fighter sweeps and bomber escorts over enemy occupied territory. After Germany's surrender, 451 Squadron moved to Germany as part of the Allied occupation force, where it disbanded on 21 January 1946.

452 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with Spitfires, 452 Squadron formed in England in April 1941, and began convoy patrols, bomber escort missions and fighter sweeps over occupied France. The Squadron found itself in regular action against German aircraft and by the end of the year, 452 Squadron was acknowledged as the leading fighter squadron in RAF Fighter Command. In one month alone, the squadron destroyed twenty two Bf109s

In March 1942, Squadron Leader Truscott - who was to go on to become the RAAF's second highest scoring ace - claimed 452 Squadron's last victory in the European theatre. During its 13 months in England, 452 Squadron had - for the loss of twenty two pilots - been credited with destroying nearly seventy German aircraft, and damaging a further seventeen.

After reforming in Australia in September, the Squadron had to wait a further four months for its aircraft to arrive from England.

Deploying to the Northern Territory at the beginning of 1943, constant enemy raids on Darwin saw 452 Squadron Spitfires in conjunction with other RAAF and RAF units, inflict heavy losses on the Japanese. 452 Squadron's own losses during this period was due mainly to the early Spitfire's unsuitability to operations in a tropical environment.

By the end of 1943, Japanese air activity in northern Australia had almost ceased and its was not until 452 Squadron had moved to Moratai that the Squadrons found itself in regular combat. Throughout 1945 the Spitfires flew ground attack operations against Japanese island garrisons and in particular supported the allied invasions of Tarakan and Balikpapan.

Two months after the cessation of hostilities 452 Squadron disbanded.

453 Squadron RAAF

453 Squadron formed in New South Wales in May 1941 and three months later sailed for Singapore.

Following Japan's surprise attack on Malaya, 453 Squadron Buffaloes deployed to Ipoh in December in support Allied troops already retreating before the Japanese. The Unit met with immediate success destroying eight enemy aircraft, however squadron losses were also high, with a number of aircraft being lost on the ground.

After withdrawing to Kuala Lumpur, a large formation of Japanese bombers and fighters attacked the squadron's base, destroying five Buffaloes and damaging another four aircraft. Despite being vastly outnumbered, the Buffaloes put up a valiant fight, shooting down at least four enemy aircraft.

With only three serviceable aircraft left, 453 Squadron withdrew to Singapore and merged with 21 Squadron. This combined Unit attempted to defend Singapore - which was now under regular attack by Japanese aircraft. On 26 January 453 and 21 Squadrons were separated and in early February, 453 Squadron embarked for Australia where is disbanded soon after its return.

Equipped with Spitfires, 453 Squadron was re-formed in England in June 1942. Flying fighter sweeps and bomber escort the Squadron's Spitfires accounted for many enemy aircraft. Early 1944 saw 453 Squadron operations concentrated on defensive patrols designed to keep German reconnaissance aircraft from detecting the shipping build up prior to the Allied invasion of Europe.

Following the D-Day landings the squadron was involved in combat patrols over the beach head. The next three months saw 453 Squadron deployed to Europe in support of the advancing Allied ground forces. By September 1944, the Squadron was back in England, from where its Spitfires mounted attacks against the well defended V-1 and V-2 missile launching sites in Holland.

From November until the end of the war the Squadron was once again flying fighter sweeps and bomber escort. Following Germany's capitulation 453 Squadron was selected as part of the Allied occupation forces and became the first Commonwealth squadron based in the German capital.

453 squadron disbanded on 21 January 1946.

454 Squadron RAAF

Formed without aircraft in New South Wales on 23 May 1941, 454 Squadron personnel soon sailed for the Middle East, where it was to receive its aircraft. On arrival, however, the squadrons personnel were dispersed to service RAF Halifax and Liberator aircraft.

In September 1942, 454 Squadron received its first Blenheims. However, the unit continued its support role, providing refresher training for Blenheim crews prior to their postings to operational RAF squadrons.

Finally in January 1943, 454 Squadron began active operations when it converted to Baltimores and begun anti-submarine and shipping patrols.

On one its first missions, a single Baltimore was attacked by two German fighters. In a surprising turn of events the lumbering bomber, shot down one fighter and so badly damaged the other that it broke off the combat.

Unfortunately soon after this event, 454 Squadron was to suffer its most disastrous operation of the War. During a specially requested low level attack against factories and road targets on the island of Crete, six out of eight Baltimores dispatched were shot down by anti-aircraft fire, while both surviving aircraft were seriously damaged.

In July 1944 RAAF Baltimores shadowed a convoy of three merchant vessels escorted by ten naval vessels. Despite a fighter escort which harried them and shot one Baltimore down, the squadron maintained contact with the convoy until a strike force could be gathered. In the ensuing attack on the convoy, the Baltimores sunk one of the merchant ships.

After the Allied invasion of Italy, 454 Squadron deployed Italy and began daylight bombing missions against targets in Italy and Yugoslavia.

By January 1945, the squadron had switched to night operations. These missions were particularly hazardous and on one mission, a Baltimore returned to base holed in over one hundred and fifty places, with its starboard engine out of action and the entire crew wounded.

454 Squadron flew its last operational flights on 1 May and disbanded on 14 August 1945.

455 Squadron RAAF

After forming in New South Wales in May 1941, 455 Squadron personnel sailed for England in June. The Squadron was equipped with Hampden bombers and commenced mine laying operations in French Coastal waters. These coastal operations were later supplemented with bombing attacks against German industrial targets.

The Squadron was transferred to RAF Coastal Command in April and retrained in torpedo bombing. Despite their obsolescence, the squadrons lumbering Hampdens maintained a high rate of effort and over time managed to sink or damage a number of ships.

In September 1942, 455 Squadron deployed to the Soviet Union to protect an Arctic convoy which was expected to come under a German naval attack. This enemy attack did not eventuate and after handing over their aircraft to the Soviets, unit personnel returned to England.

After receiving replacement Hampdens the squadron continued anti shipping and anti submarine patrols until mid 1943. During this period the unit achieved significant successes, most notably the sinking of a 4,000 tonne vessel in January and 6,000 tonne vessel in May.

After being re-equipped with Beaufighters in October 1943, 455 Squadron moved to Langham, where it and 489 Squadron formed one of Coastal Command's new strike Wings.

455 Squadron was to provide escort for the torpedo-carrying Beaufighters of 489 Squadron - a role that exposed the squadrons Beaufighters to intense anti-aircraft barrages as enemy fighters. Operating in the confines of the narrow Norwegian Fiords squadron losses were invariably heavy. In spite of these hazards many enemy ships were sunk.

Following the Squadrons move to Thornaby, 455 Squadron continued its attack on German shipping in the Baltic Sea during the last stages of the war. On 3 May 1945, the Australian Beaufighters flew their last successful operation when they left two mine sweepers ablaze.

455 Squadron disbanded at Thornaby on 25 May 1945.

456 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with Defiant night fighters, 456 Squadron formed in England in June 1941 The Defiants were soon replaced with Beaufighters and on the 11 January 1942 the squadron claimed its first kill - a German bomber. For the next six months the squadrons activities consisted of uneventful patrols with an occasional air-sea rescue mission.

In December the Unit began to re-equip with Mosquitoes and commenced offensive missions over occupied Europe - referred to as 'Rangers'.

The Mosquitoes usual targets were road and rail transport, and during the month of May 1943, 456 Squadron damaged or destroyed no less than eighteen locomotives.

From mid-1943, 456 Squadron Mosquitoes hunted German Ju88 fighters, which were attacking vulnerable Coastal Command aircraft. When located, the German twin-engine fighters often attempted to escape but were usually caught by the faster Mosquitoes.

In February 1944, after being re-equipped with Mosquitoes possessing more powerful radar, 456 Squadron began operations against German bombers making night attacks against London.

In the month following the Normandy landings, 456 Squadron met with outstanding success over France - destroying thirteen bombers.

June also saw the commencement of V-1 flying bomb attacks against English cities. 456 Squadron Mosquitoes achieved an impressive record against these rockets, with one pilot shooting down at least nine V1's.

From late 1944 until the end of the war, 456 Squadron continued its 'ranger' missions over Germany, attacking airfields in support of Bomber Command as well as other targets of opportunity.

456 Squadron disbanded on 15 June 1945.

457 Squadron RAAF

In June 1941, 457 Squadron formed in England - spending the remainder of the year flying patrols and convoy escort missions, but seeing little enemy activity. The Squadron was also used as an operational training unit, supplying Spitfire pilots to squadrons engaged in more active operations.

In March 1942 457 Squadron moved to Redhill, and operations quickly increased in intensity with the Spitfires flying escort to RAF light bomber attacks over occupied France. In constant contact with enemy fighters and sophisticated anti-aircraft defences, squadron loses began to mount.

After three months of flying fighter sweeps and bomber escort missions, 457 Squadron was withdrawn from Europe - sailing for Australia in June. During its short period of active operations, 457 Squadron had shot down nine enemy aircraft as well as damaging a further seven.

After arriving in Australia 457 Squadron deployed to Livingstone to provide air defence for Darwin. During an attack on Darwin in March 1943, the Spitfires engaged an enemy force of 46 bombers and fighters, downing up to six enemy aircraft without loss. For the remainder of 1943, the Spifires were engaged in constant combat with enemy aircraft, taking a heavy toll of Japanese aircraft.

By early 1944, with little enemy air activity over Darwin, several Spitfires staging through Bathurst Island, strafed barges, huts and a wireless station on Baba Island. This mission was the squadrons first ground attack operation, and from this point onwards Squadron Spitfires were increasingly utilized in the ground attack role.

457 Squadron moved north to Moratai in early 1945, and from here supported the invasion of Labuan. Shortly after the Japanese surrender in August 457 Squadron was disbanded.

458 Squadron RAAF

After forming in New South Wales in July 1941, 458 Squadron personnel departed for England August, to join other personnel assembled at Holme-On-Spalding Moor. Equipped with Wellington bombers, 458 Squadron participated in its first operation in October, when ten aircraft joined in night attacks against Emden, Antwerp and Rotterdam.

In addition to bombing missions over France and Germany the Wellingtons were involved in mine-laying operations along enemy occupied coasts.

In early 1942, 458 Squadron was withdrawn from Bomber Command and re-assigned to the Middle East. On their arrival in Egypt Squadron personnel were allocated to other units, providing ground support for American Liberators and RAF Wellingtons. When the Squadron's Wellingtons eventually arrived in the Middle East, they were attached to RAF squadrons. Consequently, many 458 aircrews almost completed an entire tour of duty without flying with the Australian Squadron.

Finally, in September 1942, the Squadron was re-united at El Shallufa and began maritime patrols, convoy escorts and mine laying operations. A number of ships and at least one German submarine were destroyed during these operations.

In one mission Pilot Officer Hare force landed his damaged Wellington four hundred miles behind enemy lines. Four of the crew members decided to evade capture and head for friendly territory. Over a period of twenty two days - traveling in the cool of the evenings - they were eventually found by Allied troops in what was one of the most remarkable escapes of World War II.

458 Squadron moved to Italy in September 1944, where a detachment was immediately deployed to Falconara. By late January 1945, the Unit had again relocated, this time to Gibraltar, where it remained until the cessation of hostilities. 458 Squadron was still at Gibraltar when it was disbanded on 9 June 1945.

459 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with Hudsons and Blenheims, 459 Squadron formed in Egypt in February 1942. Operating in a maritime reconnaissance role, the Unit began an intensive campaign against enemy shipping, in particular attacking German tank landing craft.

On 28 July 1942, four Hudsons made their first attack on two of these landing craft, damaging one so badly that it was subsequently beached. In the following months at least twelve of landing craft were sunk, and soon losses became so heavy, that the Germans ceased operating these vessels during the daylight hours.

Staging through many bases in Northern Africa, 459 Squadron's Hudsons scored a number of major successes. In September 1942 the Squadron sunk an enemy destroyer, while the following year a German U-boat was destroyed.

In September 1943, 459 Squadron temporally changed roles to that of a bomber unit - conducting day and night strikes against targets on Greece and Crete. After operating Venturas for a period of four months the squadron was re-equipped with Baltimores in July 1944. With these aircraft, 459 Squadron continued its attacks around the Greek islands until is was re-located to England in March 1945 - disbanding a month later.

460 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with twin-engined Wellingtons, 460 Squadron formed in England in November 1941 under RAF Bomber Command. The Squadron first operations involved leaflet dropping missions over Paris and other French cities, as well as bombing missions over Germany.

Attacks against heavily defended German targets were mounted in the face of a well organised German fighter and anti-aircraft defence and in the space of three months, 460 Squadron lost twenty Wellingtons with most of their crews.

After briefly converting to Halifax's, 460 Squadron was re-equipped with Lancaster heavy bombers in October 1942. Lancaster operations began in November with the majority of missions being flown against heavily defended targets in the Ruhr Valley and Berlin.

In June 1943, the unit dispatched twenty seven Lancasters against Dusseldorf - setting an Bomber Command squadron record. Two months later, 460 Squadron became the first Bomber Command squadron fly 1,000 sorties in Lancasters. This extraordinary rate of effort was only possible through the dedicated efforts of ground staff, who maintained one of the highest serviceability rates within Bomber Command.

By 1944, the Lancasters were being used to hammer coastal fortifications and other French targets in preparation for the D-Day landings. In August the squadron set another Bomber Command record, when it dropped over 1,900 tonnes of bombs during the month.

During an attack over Germany a Lancaster was attacked by two Me 262 jet fighters. In a remarkable display of marksmanship were both fighters were shot down by the Lancasters gunners.

460 Squadron flew its last mission of the War in April 1945 when twenty Lancasters destroyed Hitler's mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden

After Germany's surrender 460 Squadron flew Allied POWs from Germany and dropped food to starving civilians in Holland. The Squadron disbanded on 2 October 1945.

During its 6,264 operational sorties, 460 Squadron was regarded as one of Bomber Command's foremost Squadrons. This reputation was achieved at an enormous cost, with 188 aircraft destroyed and nearly 1,000 airmen killed.

As a testament to this sacrifice, one of the Squadron's Lancasters - "G for George" - is on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

461 Squadron RAAF

461 Squadron formed in England in April 1942. Patrols commenced in July, and by September eight German U-boats had been attacked with several of the submarines sustaining damage. By May 1943 a Squadron Sunderland sank the first of what were to be many U-boats destroyed during the year.

The threat posed to the slow flying Sunderlands from agile enemy fighters led 461 Squadron ground staff to modify their Sunderlands with twin gun nose turrets and galley mounted machine guns. These modified aircraft were known as flying hedgehogs by their German adversaries, and were to prove so effective that they were later adopted throughout the RAF.

One of 461 Squadron's modified Sunderland's was attacked by eight Ju88 fighters over the Bay of Biscay. In the epic battle which followed, three fighters were destroyed, and the remainder forced to abandon the combat with damage. The bullet riddled flying boat, with five wounded crewmen on board limped to the Cornish Coast and made a force landing in the shallows.

1944 saw 461 Squadron operating in a new role - that of night strike using radar equipment and 'Leigh' lights. As well as this role, anti-submarine patrols remained the most important activity, with the squadron sinking three more submarines in 1944.

By 1945 the Sunderlands had been fitted with sonar buoy submarine detection equipment, however, even with this new technology, German U-boats remained difficult to detect. In the last six months of the war the squadron was unable to add to its tally of German submarines.

461 Squadron disbanded at Pembroke Dock on 20 June 1945.

462 Squadron RAAF

462 Squadron formed in Egypt in September 1942 from detachments of RAF Squadrons - 10 and 76. The irregular manner in which this "RAAF" squadron came into existence ensured that very few Australians were to serve with the Unit.

Equipped with Halifax bombers, the Unit operated against Rommel's forces in North Afrika throughout 1943 and 44. During this period the RAAF endeavored to have more Australian servicemen posted to this nominal "RAAF" Squadron, but with little success. As late as August 1943, only a quarter of the Squadrons 600 personnel were RAAF members. Tiring of the RAF's stonewalling in respect to manning requirements for RAAF squadrons, Australia requested that 462 Squadron revert to the RAF. Consequently, on 3 March 1944, RAAF 462 Squadron, was redesignated 614 Squadron, RAF.

Five months later 462 Squadron reformed in England - and this time around the unit was allocated a much greater proportion of Australian personnel. Again equipped with Halifax's, the Squadron participated in day and night attacks against German industrial cities, while at the same time, supporting the Allied ground forces fighting their way across France.

By the end of 1944, 462 Squadron had joined 100 (Bomber Support) Group, and following the fitment of specialised radio equipment, began operations to disrupt the highly organised German air defence system.

The Halifax's were modified to carry special radar jamming equipment designed to interfere with both the night fighter and ground based radar. In addition, the Halifax's also carried small loads of incendiaries, target markers and bombs, which were dropped to further confuse the enemy.

Despite their intensive operations the Australian Halifax's - protected by their own countermeasures - suffered relatively light losses during 1945.

462 Squadron disbanded at Foulsham on 24 September 1945.

463 Squadron RAAF

463 Squadron was formed in England on 25 November 1943 from personnel and aircraft allocated from 467 Squadron. The unit began operations immediately when six Lancaster's participated in an attack on Berlin. As 463 Squadron received more aircraft and personnel the weight of its attacks steadily increased. Operating against strong German fighter opposition and well organised anti aircraft defences squadron missions often resulted in considerable losses.

In the lead up to the Allied invasion of Europe, 463 Squadron attacked targets throughout France, concentrating on enemy batteries along the Normandy coastline. After the landings the Squadron flew an increasing number of daylight bombing missions as the German fighter defences became progressively disorganized and less effective.

463 Squadron regularly supported the activities of the RAF Film Unit, and aircraft assigned to this unique role were modified with cameras mounted in their front turret and near the crew access door.

On one film operation, the squadron was given the task of recording a series of attacks during November 1944 against the battleship Tirpitz in Tromso Fiord, Norway. On the third raid, the Lancaster crew were just leaving the area, when they returned to capture the battleships last moments as it slowly capsized. This mission took almost fifteen hours and established a new endurance record for the Lancaster.

1945 saw attacks continue against German industrial centers and tactical targets in support of the advancing Allied armies. In April the squadron flew its last wartime mission when it bombed the oil refinery at Tonsberg, and after participating in the evacuation of allied POWs from Europe, 463 Squadron was disbanded on 29 October 1945.

464 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with Ventura light bombers, 464 Squadron formed in England in September 1942. The squadrons first operation in December saw three bombers lost to anti-aircraft fire, however, the bombing accuracy demonstrated by the Ventura crews resulted in considerable damage to the target.

From April 1943 operations were concentrated against French targets, with the squadron flying high or medium level formation bombing and provided with a strong fighter escort, squadron loses were minimal.

In July, 464 Squadron converted to Mosquitoes and recommenced operations in October, when twelve aircraft seriously damaged the power station at Mur-De-Bretagne.

Long range fighter and attack operations continued by day and night for the remainder of 1943, with a number of German fighters being shot down.

From 1944, intensive operations against V-1 launching sites and storage facilities commenced. These targets were well defended and, due to their small size, difficult to hit. Having established a reputation for its extremely accurate attacks in these sites, 464 Squadron was selected to participate in an attack on the Amiens Prison - where hundreds of French Resistance fighters were about to be executed. 464 Squadron mosquitoes attacked the guards barracks while two other squadrons attacked the prison walls. The precision raid was very successful with hundreds of prisoners escaping through the breached walls.

In support of the Allied invasion of Europe, 464 Squadron attacks were concentrated against road traffic and communications targets, including a number of highly accurate and successful attacks against Gestapo sites throughout France.

The squadron flew its last mission on 2 May 1945, and following the end of hostilities flew the German Commander to Berlin to sign the surrender agreement on behalf of Germany. After participating in a number of victory fly pasts 464 Squadron disbanded in Belgium on 27 September 1945.

466 Squadron RAAF

Equipped with Wellington bombers, 466 Squadron formed in England on 10 October 1942. In addition to its night bombing role, the squadron was also heavily committed to mine laying operations throughout 1943.

In April 1943, a Wellington was attacked by a German night fighter on a raid against the German city of Stuttgart. The aircraft was extensively damaged, the tail gunner killed and three crew members seriously wounded. Despite the severe damage to their aircraft and their injuries, the crew elected to press on with their mission. After bombing their target the crew made the long return flight to England, making an emergency landing at Ford airfield. The crew's actions on this night were recognised by the award the a Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, a DSO, the DFC and the DFM - the awarding of so many commendations to the one crew was highly unusual.

Following the conversion to Halifax's in August, Squadron operations over Germany continued until May 1944, when 466 Squadrons bombing effort was directed against coastal batteries, marshaling yards and military bases in preparation for the invasion of Europe.

One of the most remarkable escapes of the War occurred during a night mission over Germany, when one of the squadron Halifax's was hit by anti-aircraft fire. After ordering his crew to bail out, the captain was blown out of the crippled aircraft without a parachute. As the pilot plummeted to the ground in total darkness, he bumped into something which he instinctively grabbed. The "something" turned out to be his mid-upper gunner's legs, and remarkably, both airmen made a safe descent on the one parachute, surviving the rest of the War as prisoners.

With the War progressing to its inevitable conclusion, the squadron flew an increasing number of daylight missions as it became apparent that the German Air Force was no longer able to operate in strength against the Allied air forces. After the German surrender, 466 Squadron became part of Transport Command and for a period jettisoned surplus bombs into the sea. When a plan to re-equip with Lancasters and Yorks did not eventuate and the Squadron was disbanded on 25 September 1945.

467 Squadron RAAF

467 Squadron formed in England on 7 November 1942. The Squadron's Lancaster's flew their first mission on the 3 January 1943 with in a mine laying operation off the French Coast, followed by a bombing attack three nights later.

Operations continued against German, French and Italian targets throughout 1943 and it was not until April that the Squadron sustained its first operational loss, when Lacester ED780 crashed at Thieuloy L'Abbaye while on a bombing raid.

To cover the landing of Allied forces in France, 467 Squadron operated against coastal batteries on the invasion beaches, and continued to bomb targets ahead of the advancing ground forces.

As the Squadron had gained a reputation for its accurate bombing, the Lancasters were regularly tasked with attacking the Dortmund-Ems Canal. This vital German transport link was extremely well defended, as demonstrated by an attack in March 1945. During this raid, three of the fifteen Lancaster's dispatched against the Canal were lost to night fighters which, on this occasion, pursued the bombers almost back to their base in England.

The Squadron's final attacks were flown against targets in Czechoslovakia and Norway, and following the end of hostilities, the Lancasters began the task of ferrying of liberated POWs to England. The Squadron disbanded on 30 September 1945

A living example of a 467 Squadron Lancaster - 'S for Sugar', is on display at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon.

Aeronautical Research and Development Unit
Originally formed at Laverton Victoria as 1 Air Performance Unit in December 1943, the unit was responsible for carrying out flight trials of new aircraft as well as aircraft modifications.

During the War flying trials included; Spitfire, Beaufighter and Boomerang performance tests, as well as evaluations on various aircraft modifications including gun, radar and bomb sight installations. In addition, the unit carried out performance tests on captured Japanese 'Oscar' and 'Tony' fighters.

Following the War the unit was involved in tests on the flying CA-15 prototype, a Meteor Mk3, Lincoln bomber and De-Havilland Sea Hornet.

The unit was renamed Aeronautical Research and Development Unit in 1947, with detachments operating in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales. By 1977, ARDU had relocated to Edinburgh, South Australia, from where it continues its vital role of testing and evaluating both aircraft and weaponry in the RAAF inventory.

Air Sea Rescue Units

From 1944 to 1947, the RAAF operated five Air-Sea Rescue Flights in Northern Australia, New Guinea and Borneo. Equipped with Catalina and Martin Mariner flying boats, these units were used to carry out search and rescue operations, often involving the recovery of aircrew stranded in enemy territory.

These hazardous missions frequently subjected the aircraft and its crew to enemy fire, as demonstrated in a typical rescue in March 1945. An Air-Sea Rescue Catalina was ordered to pick up two survivors from a Beaufighter shot down over the Haroeke Strait. As the Catalina approached to land it was subjected to heavy enemy machine gun fire from both sides of the strait. Despite this constant barrage which seriously wounded one crew member and badly damaged the aircraft, the Catalina rescued the downed airmen and limped back to base.

Aside from its air-sea rescue role, the Catalina's flew medical supplies to remote Army units as well as providing regular courier runs throughout the region.

Antarctic Flight

In the 1920's and 30's, a number of RAAF pilots participated in various expeditions and rescue missions to Antarctica. On one occasion a RAAF Gipsy Moth and Wapiti were embarked aboard the Discovery II when it successfully rescued two Americans lost during a trans-Antarctic flight in 1935.

After initial attempts to establish an Antarctic base in the late 1940's failed, the inclusion of two RAAF Auster aircraft in a mission to the continent in 1955 proved vital in the establishment of the first permanent base at Mawson.

Over the next eight years, the RAAF contingent included two Beaver and one Dakota aircraft, and provided the only means to quickly traverse this barren continent. Operating conditions were horrendous as demonstrated when the Dakota broke free from its anchor cables during a gale and was blown over eight miles from the base at Mawson.

After 1963, the RAAF planes were withdrawn, however RAAF Hercules aircraft still occasionally fly to the US base at McMurdo Sound.

The RAAF Museum is presently restoring a Walrus amphibian aircraft, which operated from Heard Island until it was destroyed by a cyclone in 1948.

Central Flying School

Formed at Point Cook Victoria in March 1913, the Central Flying School trained over 150 pilots for service with the Australian Flying Corps in the Middle East and Europe.

Following the War CFS was disbanded, before reforming once again at Point Cook in 1940. After relocating to New South Wales in May 1940, CFS operated from various locations within that state, and by 1945 had graduated over 3,600 instructors.

In 1947 CFS was transferred to East Sale Victoria where it received its first Vampire jet trainers six years later. With the arrival of the Macchi in 1968 the school began 'all through' jet flying, graduating its first instructor course that year. As well as providing jet training, CFS also trained Winjeel and CT-4 instructors until 1991, when the PC-9 was adopted for all non-jet training.

Central Flying Schools excellence in setting the flying standards for RAAF pilots is clearly illustrated by the RAAF aerobatic team - the Roulettes - who represent the very best of CFS's pilots.

Elementary Flying Training Schools

During World War II, the RAAF established 12 Elementary Flying Training Schools to meet the rapid demand for pilots in an expanding Air Force. Located in all states except the Northern Territory, these Flying Training Schools provided initial pilot training to students under the Empire Air Training Scheme.

Service Flying Training Schools

To meet the demand for aircrew during World War II, the RAAF established 8 Service Flying Training Schools to train pilots, air observers and wireless air gunners under the Empire Air Training Scheme.

Operating with an assortment of aircraft including Wirraways and Ansons, the 8 Service Flying Training Schools graduated over 13,000 aircrew for service with the RAAF.

RAAF Museum


Statistics : Over 35 million page visitors since  11 Nov 2002  



 Search   Help     Guestbook   Get Updates   Last Post    The Ode      FAQ     Digger Forum

Click for news

Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces