No.8 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron (RNZAF): Second World War

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No.8 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron, RNZAF, went through two incarnations during the Second World War. The first was a home-based squadron that was disbanded early in 1943 while the second incarnation spent two months in the combat zone early in 1945 when it took part in the campaign to isolate Kavieng.

No.8 Bomber-Reconnaissance Squadron was formed in March 1942 at Whenuapai, but quickly moved to Gisborne. It was equipped with the single engined Vickers Vincent. Despite the comparative short range of this single engined aircraft the squadron was used for anti-submarine patrols and shipping escort duties along the east coast of the North Island.

In May 1943 the squadron was disbanded and its personnel used to found the new No.30 Dive Bomber Squadron.

A new No.8 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron was formed in New Zealand in October 1944, this time equipped with the Lockheed Ventura. In November 1944 the squadron moved to Fiji, where it spent two months carrying out anti-submarine patrols over waters that no longer contained any Japanese submarines. This was followed by a similar period on Guadalcanal early in 1945.

In February 1945 the squadron moved to the combat area when it replaced No.4 Squadron on Emirau. This base was just to the north-west of the Japanese base at Kavieng on New Ireland. No.8 Squadron had several duties. It was to search for Japanese shipping to the north of Emirau, fly patrols around the coast of New Ireland and take part in attacks on suitable targets. In February it also combined with American Mitchells based on Emirau and aircraft from Green Island to attack Rabaul.

No.8 Squadron was relieved by No.9 Squadron in March 1945 and was disbanded in the same month.

March 1942-: Vickers Vincent
-May 1943: Vickers Vincent, Vickers Vildebeeste

October 1944-March 1945: Lockheed Ventura

March-May 1943: Gusborne, New Zealand

October-November 1944: New Zealand
November-December 1944: Fiji
January-February 1945: Guadalcanal
February-March 1945: Emirau



How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 May 2013), No.8 Bomber Reconnaissance (RNZAF): Second World War,

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