No. 10 Squadron (RAAF): Second World War

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Short Sunderland INo.10 Squadron, RAAF, flew with RAF Coastal Command for the entire duration of the Second World War, sinking six U-boats during that period. The squadron was formed at Point Cook, Victoria, in July 1939 and a detachment was sent to Britain where it was to collect the squadron's Sunderland flying boats, gain some experience with the new aircraft and then fly then back to Australia.

This plan was disrupted by the outbreak of war in September 1939. On 7 October the detachment was told it was staying in the UK, and it became operational from Pembroke Dock on 10 October, making it the first Dominion squadron to go into action. Extra personnel were dispatched to bring the squadron up to full strength, arriving at Pembroke Dock on 26 December. By this point the squadron had already begun operations over the Western Approaches.

In April 1940 the squadron was split, with most of it moving to Mount Batten, while a detachment was sent to Oban, where it remained until April 1941. During the campaign in France in May-June 1940 the squadron was used to carry important passengers to and from France, as well as flying some longer range missions to Malta and Gibraltar. The squadron spent the next year at Mount Batten, then returned to Pembroke Dock for a few months, before settling back at Mount Batten, where it remained until October 1945.

In July 1940 Flight Lieutenant Bill Gibson was credited with the squadron's first U-boat sinking, after his aircraft attacked and badly damaged U-26 forcing her crew to abandon ship and scuttle the submarine.

U-243 under attack
U-243 under attack

The squadron had to way nearly three years for its next successes. On 8 May 1943 it was probably responble for the loss of U-663, sunk in the Bay of Biscay. Later in the same month (31 May), the squadron combined with No.228 Squadron, RAF, to sunk U-563 in the waters to the south-west of Sicily. A third success followed on 1 August when U-454 was sunk to the north-east of Cape Ortegal.

The squadron's fifth victory came on 9 January 1944 when U-426 was sunk to the north-west of Cape Ortegal. Its six and final victory came on 9 July, when No.10 Squadron and American aircraft combined to sink U-253 in the Bay of Biscay.

No.10 Squadron was the only RAAF squadron to see continuous service during the Second World War. After the end of the fighting in Europe the squadron was transferred to Transport Command, although most of its personnel remained with Coastal Command. On 31 October 1945 the squadron was returned to Australian control,

September 1939-July 1942: Short Sunderland I
June 1941-December 1943: Short Sunderland II
January 1942-June 1945: Short Sunderland III
May 1944-June 1945: Short Sunderland V

August 1939-April 1940: Pembroke Doke
April 1940-May 1941: Mount Batten
    August 1940-April 1941: Detachment to Oban
May-December 1941: Pembroke Dock
December 1941-October 1945: Mount Batten

Squadron Codes: RB

1939-1945: Anti-submarine warfare, Coastal Command

Short: UK based Coastal Command 1939-45


Short Sunderland Squadrons of World War 2, Jon Lake. A look at the service carrier of the most successful British flying boat of the Second World War, and a key component in Coastal Command's battle against the U-boat. Covers the introduction of the aircraft, its role in the Battle of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, West Africa and other theatres.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 August 2012), No. 10 Squadron (RAAF): Second World War,

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