No. 454 Squadron (RAAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.454 Squadron, RAAF, was a medium bomber squadron that flew maritime patrols in the Eastern Mediterranean in 1943-44 before joining the Desert Air Force in Italy where it acted as a ground attack unit for the rest of the war.

The squadron was formed in New South Wales on 23 May 1941, with personnel but no aircraft. The personnel moved to the Middle East, where they were dispersed amongst other units and used to service Halifax and Liberator bombers.

The squadron began to receive Blenheims in September-October 1942, but instead of becoming operational was used as a refresher training unit.

At the start of 1943 the squadron converted to the Martin Baltimore. It finally became operational, first carrying out anti-submarine patrols off the Libyan coast and later expanding its area of operations to the Aegean, where it also carried out searches for Axis shipping. The squadron's worst losses of the war were suffered in this period when six of eight aircraft were shot down during a raid on factories on Crete.

In July 1944 the squadron joined the Desert Air Force, which by then was fighting in Italy. It switched to day bombing operations, against targets in Italy and Yugoslavia.

This role lasted until March 1945 when the squadron switched to the night interdiction role, intruding over German occupied territory. The squadron's last combat mission came on 1 May 1945, and it disbanded in Italy on 14 August 1945.

Aircraft
November 1942-January 1943: Bristol Blenheim V
February 1943-December 1944: Martin Baltimore III
July 1943-December 1944: Martin Baltimore IV
December 1944-August 1945: Martin Baltimore V

Location
September-October 1942: Aqir
October 1942-January 1943: Qaiyara
January-February 1943: Gianaclis
February-April 1943: LG.91
April-August 1943: Gambut
August-October 1943: LG.91
October-November 1943: St. Jean
November 1943-July 1944: Berka III
July-August 1944: Pescara
August-December 1944: Falconara
December 1944-May 1945: Cesenatico
May-August 1945: Villaorba

Squadron Codes: -

Duty
September 1942-March 1943: Support unit, Middle East
March 1943-July 1944: Anti-submarine and shipping, Libya and Aegean
July 1944-May 1945: Ground attack, Desert Air Force, Italy

Books

The Decisive Campaigns of the Desert Air Force 1942-1945, Bryn Evans. . Looks at the activities of the RAF's tactical air force in the North Africa and Italian Theatres, where it developed many of the close support techniques used with greater fame by 2nd Tactical Air Force in Normandy. This is a valuable account of the services of a key, but often overlooked, part of the wartime RAF. [read full review]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 September 2012), No. 454 Squadron (RAAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAAF/454_wwII.html

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