No. 458 Squadron (RAAF): Second World War

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No.458 Squadron (RAAF) was a bomber squadron that entered service with Bomber Command in October 1941, but soon moved to the Middle East, where it switched to maritime operations, carrying out anti-shipping patrols, anti-submarine patrols and attacks on coastal shipping and enemy ports.

The squadron's ground echelon was formed at Williamstown, New South Wales on 8 July 1941. The squadron itself was formed at Holme-in-Spalding Moor on 25 August 1941, as a night bomber squadron equipped with the Wellington IV.

The squadron flew its first operation on 20 October 1941, but was only active with Bomber Command for three months, flying its last raid on 28 January 1942.

The squadron began to move to the Middle East in March 1942. The ground crew embarked on 20 March, and didn't reach Egypt until 26 May. The aircrew flew their aircraft out to the Middle East, but were then absorbed into existing units. During the move the squadron's CO, Wing Commander Mulholland, was shot down into the sea and killed while flying to Malta on 16 February 1942 while leading the first wave of aircraft, after missing Malta.

During its time with Bomber Command the squadron flew 65 sorties on 10 raids, losing 3 aircraft.

From May to September 1942 the squadron was used as a maintenance unit.

In September 1942 the squadron finally began to receive more Wellingtons, and it began operations on 1 November from RAF Shallufa (near Suez), operating around the Eastern Mediterranean. It flew a mix of anti-submarine patrols, anti-shipping sweeps and minelaying, with some of the Wellingtons used as torpedo bombers.

From January to May 1943 the squadron also operated a detachment at Luqa on Malta.

In March 1943 the main part of the squadron moved west from Shallufa to LG.91, to the south of Alexandria, and the squadron was reunited there in May 1943.

In June 1943 the squadron was moved much further west to Protville in Tunisia, from where it flew anti-shipping patrols in the Western Mediterranean. However Axis shipping was soon almost swept from the seas, and the squadron began to focus on anti-submarine patrols.

In September 1944 the squadron moved to Foggia, Italy, from where it carried out night attacks on coastal shipping and enemy occupied ports (by this point limited to northern Italy and parts of the Adriatic).

In January 1945 the squadron moved to Gibralter, from where it flew anti-submarine patrols for the rest of the war.

The squadron was disbanded on 9 June 1945.

September 1941-March 1942: Vickers Wellington IV
October-November 1942: Vickers Wellington IC
November 1942-February 1944: Vickers Wellington VIII
January-February 1944: Vickers Wellington XIII
January 1944-June 1945: Vickers Wellington XIV

August 1941-March 1942: Holme-in-Spalding Moor
May 1942: Kasfareet
May-July 1942: Fayid
    June-September 1942: Detachment to Lydda
July-August 1942: St. Jean
August-September 1942: Aqir
September 1942-March 1943: Shallufa (nr Suez)
    January-May 1943: Detachment to Luqa (Malta)
March-June 1943: LG.91 (nr Alexandria)
June-October 1943: Protville I (Tunisia)
October 1943-June 1944: Bone
June-September 1944: Alghero
September 1944-January 1945: Foggia (Italy)
    September 1944-January 1945: Detachments to Falconara and Rosignano
January-June 1945: Gibraltar

Squadron Codes: D, MD, B, R

No.248 Wing, No.201 Group, RAF Middle East: -27 October 1942-
No.323 Wing, No.242 Group, North African Coastal Air Force, NW African Air Forces, Mediterranean Air Command: -10 July 1943-



How to cite this article: Rickard, J (18 April 2022), No. 458 Squadron (RAAF): Second World War,

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