|Category: Air support
Royal Australian Air Force
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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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
|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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Townsville Queensland in August 1942, 41 Squadron operated Empire flying
boats, carrying freight and passengers along Australia's east coast and
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.
in the Northern Territory in June 1944, 42 Squadron was soon deployed to
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
After the war, 76 Squadron was re-equipped with
Mustangs and deployed to Japan for duty with the British Commonwealth
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
formed in New South Wales in May 1941 and three months later sailed for
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
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
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
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
454 Squadron flew its last operational flights
on 1 May and disbanded on 14 August 1945.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
461 Squadron disbanded at Pembroke Dock on 20
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
Research and Development Unit
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.