No.5 Flying Boat Squadron (RNZAF): Second World War

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No.5 Flying Boat Squadron, RNZAF, went through two incarnations during the Second World War. In the first it operated the Short Singapore flying boat from Fiji during the period in which there was a real danger of a Japanese invasion. The second began in July 1944 when the squadron was reformed and equipped with the Consolidated Catalina. This incarnation of the squadron flew a mix of anti-submarine patrols and shipping escort missions from Espiritu Santo.

Late in 1941 four Short Singapore flying boats from No.205 Squadron, RAF were allocated to the RNZAF. The first two reached Fiji on 18 November, and the second two on 24 December 1941. They were used to form a new unit - No.5 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron. The new squadron began flying long range anti-submarine patrols and shipping escorting missions in January 1942.

By 20 February 1942 only three of the Singapores were still operational (the fourth had hit a reef) but the squadron had also been given six Vickers Vincents, four in the front line and two in reserve.

By November 1942 it was clear that both types of aircraft were obsolete and the squadron was disbanded. The Singapore flight remained in service well into 1943 before it was absorbed by No.6 Squadron. Most most reconnaissance around Fiji was performed by No.4 Squadron.

The second incarnation of the squadron was formed in July 1944 on Fiji and was equipped with the Consolidated Catalina. It was used as a temporary transport squadron, flying between Fiji and Tonga, Samoa, and the Gilbert and Ellice Islands.

In October-November 1944 the squadron moved to a new base in the Segond Channel at Espiritu Santo, where it remained for the rest of the war. Operations from the new base began on 11 November 1944 and the squadron was now used for anti-submarine patrols and to escort shipping. No submarines were found during the rest of the war.

After the end of the war No.5 Squadron helped transport New Zealand service personnel back home from the South-West Pacific. The squadron then withdrew to Fiji. A small cadre remained in existence in the immediate post-war period and the squadron was soon reformed, still on Fiji.

November 1941-November 1942: Short Singapore

July 1944 onwards: Consolidated Catalina

November 1941-November 1942: Fiji

July-October 1944: Fiji
October 1944-October 1945: Espiritu Santo



How to cite this article: Rickard, J (23 May 2013), No.5 Flying Boat Squadron (RNZAF): Second World War,

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