No. 1 Squadron RAAF

No. 1 Squadron RAAF
No. 1 Squadron
A No. 1 Squadron F/A-18F in 2010
A No. 1 Squadron F/A-18F in 2010
Active 1 January 1916 – March 1942
Country Australia
Branch Royal Australian Air Force
Role Strike/reconnaissance
Part of No. 82 Wing, Air Combat Group
Base RAAF Base Amberley
Motto "Videmus Agamus"
Engagements World War I
World War II
Malayan Emergency
Richard Williams (1917–18)
Harry Cobby (1925–26)
Raymond Brownell (1926–28)
Frank Lukis (1930, 1932–34)
Frank Bladin (1934–35)
Allan Walters (1940–41)
Aircraft flown
Attack F/A-18F Super Hornet
Bomber F-111C (retired late 2009)

No. 1 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadron based at RAAF Amberley. The squadron is currently being re-equipped with F/A-18F Super Hornet multi-role fighters.



World War I

No. 1 Squadron was established as a unit of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) at Point Cook, Victoria, on 1 January 1916 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel E H Reynolds. It sailed for Egypt in March 1916 and fought in the Palestine Campaign until the end of the war. In the desert, the Squadron flew B.E.2s, R.E.8s and Martinsyde G.100s/G.102s before re-equipping late in 1917 with Bristol Fighters. Its Commanding Officer in 1917–18 was Major Richard Williams, later to become known as the "Father of the RAAF".

On 12 September 1916, while the unit was based at Heliopolis, the British military began to refer to the unit as "No. 67 Squadron", to avoid confusion with No. 1 Squadron RFC; this practice continued until 6 February 1918.[1] This designation was never officially accepted by the AFC, which continued to refer to the unit as No. 1 Squadron.

Five of the squadron's personnel during this period were later knighted for their services to aviation: Williams, Lawrence Wackett, Hudson Fysh, Keith Smith and Peter Drummond. One of the squadron's mechanics, George Jones, was also knighted after becoming the Chief of Air Staff of the RAAF and one of the Squadron's medical staff, John Harris, was later knighted as well.[2]

The squadron's fifteen aces not only included Hudson Fysh, but also Ross MacPherson Smith, Garfield Finlay, Leslie Sutherland, Edward Patrick Kenny, Walter Kirk, Paul McGinness, George Peters, Albert Tonkin, James Hamilton Traill, William Weir, Allan Brown, Ernest Mustard, and Carrick Paul.[3]

Francis McNamara, later an air vice-marshal, was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry in action in effecting the rescue of a fellow flier.

The squadron became part of the RAAF upon its formation in 1921.

World War II

Following the outbreak of World War II, No. 1 Squadron was equipped with Lockheed Hudsons and deployed to Malaya in July 1940, for maritme patrol duties. Two hours before the Japanese attacks on Malaya started, Hudsons from the Squadron spotted the Japanese invasion fleet and later became the first aircraft to make an attack in the Pacific War, sinking a Japanese transport ship, the IJN Awazisan Maru and damaging two more transports, the Ayatosan Maru and Sakura Maru, off Kota Bharu, an hour before the attack on Pearl Harbor.[4][5] However, the squadron suffered severe losses in Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies Campaign. It was withdrawn to Australia in March 1942 and disbanded. 160 of the Squadron's personnel, however, were unable to escape from the NEI and were taken prisoner by the Japanese. Less than half of these men survived captivity.

No. 1 Squadron was re-formed on 1 December 1943 and conducted operations against Japanese forces in the Netherlands East Indies from Darwin, beginning in March 1944. After re-equipping with Mosquito light bombers in January 1945, the squadron deployed to Borneo where it operated from Labuan Island until the end of the war. No.1 Squadron returned to Australia in December 1945 and was disbanded at Narromine, New South Wales on 7 August 1946.


No. 1 Squadron was re-formed as a heavy bomber unit on 23 February 1948, when No. 12 Squadron was re-designated. From 1950–1958, it was based in Singapore, and its Avro Lincolns flew missions against communist guerrillas during the Malayan Emergency. Following its return to Australia in July 1958, the squadron was re-equipped with the Canberra jet bomber.

While 1 Sqn began converting to the F-111C in 1968, technical difficulties delayed delivery of the aircraft and, as an interim measure, the Squadron was equipped with the F-4 Phantom between 1970 and 1973. 1 Sqn has operated F-111s in the low-level strike role since their arrival in Australia in 1973. While the squadron has not seen active service since the Malayan Emergency, it was placed on high alert during the early days of the Australian-led intervention in East Timor in 1999.

The squadron retired its F-111s in 2009[citation needed] and is currently re-equipping with F/A-18F Super Hornets.[6]

Photo gallery

Aircraft operated



  1. ^ RAF Web No 66-70 Squadron Histories
  2. ^ Isaacs, Wing Commander Keith. Military Aircraft of Australia 1909–1918, p62. Australian War Memorial. ISBN 0 642 99374 2
  3. ^ Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  4. ^ No. 1 Squadron Official Website
  5. ^ Shores, Cull and Izawa 1992, pp. 82–83.
  6. ^ "Super Hornets are here". Department of Defence. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 


  • Shores, Christopher; Cull, Brian; Izawa, Yasuho (1993). Bloody Shambles: Volume Two: The Defence of Sumatra to the Fall of Burma. London: Grub Street. ISBN 0 948817 67 4. 
  • Stephens, Alan (2006) [2001]. The Royal Australian Air Force: A History. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195555414. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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