Air Power Archaeology

The Historical Archaeology of Second World War Air Power in Australia
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The Air Power Archaeology website has been developed by Daniel J. Leahy as part of his PhD project at the University of New England. The project looks at the historical archaeology of Second World War air power sites across Australia. The online database currently includes profiles for...


Website functionality is being made publicly available as the project progresses. It is planned that the website will continue to grow and evolve once the PhD project has been completed.

On This Day

Missing 21 February 1943:
Flight Sergeant

Parafield, South Australia - 1 February 1940 to 29 February 1940 (NAA: A9186, 375)

Training of the first course proceeded satisfactorily during the month subject to the limitations imposted by lack of parachutes, armament and navigation instructional equipment.
No. 2 Course (24 pupils) reported on 5.2.40 but was unable to commence flying training owing to shortage of aircraft. In lieu, pupils were given additional ground instruction and flight experience.
Two aircraft were damaged due to faulty landings and one pupil was unable to reach the required standard and his training was discontinued.
The following Officers were promoted as shown below:-
To Temporary Flying Officer with effect from 17th December, 1939.
Pilot Officer H. PLUMRIDGE
Pilot Officer J.W. WARWICK
Pilot Officer C.C. HAYWARD
Pilot Officer D.P. HADOW
Pilot Officer F.C.E. KNIGHT
Pilot Officer W.A.J. BAKER
Pilot Officer W.S. MADDOCKS
Pilot Officer R.E. HODGES
Pilot Officer C. COX
Pilot Officer F.G. HUXLEY
Pilot Officer J.J. THORPE
Pilot Officer L.C. LEONARD
Pilot Officer R.E. MANIFOLD
Pilot Officer H.R. REESTON

Laverton, Victoria - 1 February 1940 to 29 February 1940 (NAA: A9186, 5)

An inspection of Aerodromes in Tasmania was carried out by two officers from No. 1 Group Headquarters on 6/2/40 in accordance with Operation Order No. 3 1939/40. The return flight to LAVERTON was made on 8/2/40.

On 15th February, six Anson aircraft departed LAVERTON to carry out an Operation using BAIRNSDALE as an Advanced Landing Ground. Two machines remained at BAIRNSDALE as standby aircraft and the remainder carried out a parallel track search. Owing to poor facilities great difficulty was experienced in carrying out the ground organisation. Two of the chief difficulties were the lack of shelter, the only shelter being that of the Vacuum Oil Coy's petrol and Oil shed, and the lack of water. In addition the telephone and the tone oscillator were situated at a most remote part of the aerodrome. The latter trouble has since been rectified.

All aircraft had returned to BAIRNSDALE by 1930 hrs. Owing to bad weather, the aircraft had to remain at BAIRNSDALE until 17th February. All aircraft had returned to LAVERTON by 1200 hrs on 17th February.

On the 22nd February instructions were received from Central Operations Room for the Squadron to proceed to BAIRNSDALE prior to the carrying out of a parallel track search on the 23rd.

On account of bad weather the time of departure from LAVERTON was delayed until 1600 hrs. The eleven aircraft were in readiness to take off when a signal was received from an officer stationed at BAIRNSDALE reporting severe bush fires threatening the aerodrome. This necessitated cancellation of the flight for the afternoon.

The operation however, was carried out on the 23rd February, the aircraft departing for their datum point from LAVERTON. Seven aircraft took part in a parallel track search, three proceeded to BAIRNSDALE as standing by aircraft for shadowing and relief patrols and one aircraft ferried a portion of the ground party from LAVERTON to BAIRNSDALE.

No enemy were sighted by the patrol aircraft and the HMAS ADELAIDE manoeuvring in the area searched was not reported. This could easily be accounted for by the very poor visibility which existed at the time. The aircraft on the patrol returned to BAIRNSDALE. The Anson on Track No. 6 was in the air for 7 hrs 20 mins. All aircraft had returned to LAVERTON by 1800 hrs 23rd February.

During the month four officers who had just completed an N.R. Course and three Cadets who had just completed an Intermediate Flying Training Course were posted to the Squadron.

Daly Waters, Northern Territory - 20 February 1942 to 28 February 1942 (NAA: A9186, 5)

Facilities at this base were very poor, particularly for W/T, accommodation, food, water etc. Maintenance was most difficult. Many of the aircraft were damaged and there was a great lack of spares and essential operational equipment, such as paracutes, life saving jackets, microphones, maps, sykos and codes, navigational gear etc., the majority of which had been destroyed at DARWIN. In addition many of the men after being evacuated from the islands were in poor physical condition. At times the combined efforts of No.s 2 and 13 Squadrons could muster only 2 or 3 operationally serviceable aircraft.

This position was improved slowly by the arrival of replacement aircraft, fresh aircrews, equipment etc. At the end of the month the Commanding Officer No. 2 Squadron returned to DARWIN and Wing Commander S. de B. GRIFFITHS took command of DALY WATERS. DALY WATERS continued to be the base for major repairs and inspections of both Nos. 2 and 13 Squadrons.

During this period the Squadron operated with No. 13 Squadron, carried out several small scale bombing raids on DILLI and KOEPANG and also reconnaissance of the KOEPANG AREA.

Strauss (28-Mile), Northern Territory - 21 February 1943 to 22 February 1943 (NAA: A9186, 137)

At 1100 hrs Sgt P.D. Tully's aircraft engine cut at 29000'; he glided down but when at 600' ran into a cloud, turned too far to port and eventually crashed at right angles to the strip about 20 yards east of the centre of the strip. Sgt Tully only suffered from abrasions. His aircraft, BR386, was written off.
Practice flying in the afternoon. Cricket match in the afternoon against Line of Communications at Noonimah.

Livingstone (34-Mile), Northern Territory - 21 February 1943 (NAA: A9186, 143)

Overcast, some rain, humid. Cannon testing. A loud speaker system throughout the camp for announcements and air raid warnings has been completed. Heavy rain in evening and throughout night.

Database Updated:
15 January 2024
12:15:01 PM (AEDT)
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