No. 1 Squadron (RAAF): Second World War

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No.1 Squadron (RAAF) first saw action during the Second World War as a Lockheed Hudson squadron that was destroyed during the fighting in Malaya, Sumatra and Java. It was then reformed in Australia, and attacked Japanese targets first from Northern Austrian and then from Borneo.

No.1 Squadron and its Lockheed Hudsons moved to Singapore on 4 July 1940, more than a year before Japan's entry into the war. The squadron was to serve as a bomber-reconnaissance unit if the Japanese did invade.

In August 1941 the squadron moved to Kota Bharu, in northern Malaya, but when the Japanese did attack Kota Bharu was one of their first targets. The squadron withdrew to Singapore, and was used to bomb Japanese shipping and landing areas.

By the end of January the airfields around Singapore were under constant Japanese attack, and so on 29 January the squadron moved to Palembang on Sumatra. Another move came two weeks later when the squadron moved to Semplak, Java.

The squadron was used to attack Japanese invasion forces as they moved towards Java and Sumatra. The fighting soon came to Java, and on 5 March 1942 the squadron's surviving aircraft were evacuated to Australia to avoid capture. The squadron's ground personnel were less fortunate. Some managed to escape in small parties while others were captured on 8 March.

The squadron was reformed in 1943 as part of a large-scale expansion of the RAAF. This time it was equipped with Australian-built Bristol Beaufort torpedo bombers, although these aircraft were normally used as either ground attack aircraft or level bombers.

In 1944 a large part of the Japanese fleet moved to Singapore to be nearer to its fuel supplies. No.1 Squadron, RAAF, moved to the north-west of Australia to guard against any Japanese naval attack. The squadron was also used to attack Japanese targets on the north side of the Timor Sea. The squadron lost two aircraft during an attack on Timor on 8 May 1944.

In January 1945 the squadron began to convert to the de Havilland Mosquito FB Mk IV and Mk 40. The squadron took its Mosquitos to Morotai, off the western coast of New Guinea, from where it operated over the Dutch East Indies. It then moved to Labnan Island, Bornea, where it took part in the re-conquest of Borneo.

The squadron was disbanded on 7 August 1946, but reformed in 1948.

Aircraft
July 1940-March 1942: Lockheed Hudson I

1943-January 1945: Bristol Beaufort
January 1945-7 August 1946: De Havilland Mosquito FB Mk VI and Mk 40

Location
July 1940-August 1941: Sembawang
August-December 1941: Kota Bharu
December 1941-January 1942: Sembawang
January-February 1942: Palembang
February 1942: Semplak
February-March 1942: Kalidjati
March 1942 Andir
1944: North-western Australia
January 1945: Morotai, off western New Guinea
1945: Labnan Island, Bornea

Squadron Codes: US, Beaufort Code: NA

Duty
1940-42: Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron, Malaya and Java
1943-45: Reconnaissance/ Attack Squadron, based Australia

Books

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 August 2012), No. 1 Squadron (RAAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAAF/1_wwII.html

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