No.40 Transport Squadron (RNZAF): Second World War

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No.40 Squadron (RNZAF) was the first transport squadron formed in the RNZAF and provided regular transport links between New Zealand and the RNZAF's bases out as far as Guadalcanal.

Work on forming the new squadron began early in 1943, after the Americans promised to provide six Dakotas and nine Lodestars to New Zealand. The first Dakota arrived from the States in March 1943 and all six had arrived by the end of May. The first five Lodestares arrived by sea in June and the remaining four by the end of 1943. The squadron officially came into existence on 1943.

The new squadron's main role was to transfer personnel between New Zealand and the squadrons deployed in the Pacific. Aircrew had first priority, followed by ground staff, mail and finally urgent freight.

In April 1943 New Zealand formed a Pacific ferry flight, which was responsible for flying aircraft across the Pacific. In September 1943 this flight was absorbed by No.40 Squadron, which now took over the ferrying role.

In August 1943 the squadron began its first scheduled services, flying along regular routes that reached out as far as Guadalcanal, visiting all of the RNZAF bases. The squadron also operated a weekly mail flight that visited every RNZAF base.

In 1943 the Lockheed Hudson was replaced in frontline service by the Lockheed Ventura, and the Hudsons went to Nos.40 and 41 Squadrons, RNZAF, where they served as transport aircraft until the end of the war.

By August 1944 the squadron had an establishment of 16 Dakotas, 9 Lodestars and 12 Hudsons, which were used as troop transports. In the same month a new transport squadron, No.41, was formed, and was given control of the Lodestars and Hudsons.

During 1944 the number of scheduled services grew and by November the squadron was sending twelve aircraft on regular flights each week. The squadron covered the area between New Zealand, Fiji and Guadalcanal. Transport links to areas north and west of Guadalcanal were provided by No.1 (Islands) Group, by then based on Guadalcanal.

The scale of No.40 Squadron's operations grew rapidly. In July 1943 the squadron transported 383 men, 28,000lb of freight and 16,000lb of mail. By July 1944 that had risen to 7,700 men, 142,000lb of freight and 67,000lb of mail. By the end of September 1945 a total of 37,000 personnel, 4,000,000lb of freight and 1,500,000lb of mail had passed through Whenuapai.

After the end of the war the two transport squadrons helped transport New Zealand service personnel back from the South-West Pacific theatre.

1943-1944: Lockheed Hudson, C-60 Lodestar, Douglas C-47 Dakota
1944 onwards: Douglas C-47 Dakota.

1943-1947: Whenuapai (Auckland, New Zealand)



How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 February 2022), No.40 Transport Squadron (RNZAF): Second World War,

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