No. 452 Squadron RAAF

No. 452 Squadron RAAF
No. 452 Squadron RAAF
452 sqn (AWM OG3404).jpg
No. 452 Squadron Spitfire aircraft near Morotai in late 1944
Active 8 April 1941 – 17 November 1945
Country Australia Australia
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Australian Air Force.svg Royal Australian Air Force
Role fighter squadron (1941–1945)
Air traffic control (2011–current)
Part of No. 44 Wing
Battle honours
  • Fortress Europe, 1940–1944
  • Pacific, 1941–1945
  • Darwin, 1941–1944
  • Morotai
  • Borneo, 1945
Keith "Bluey" Truscott
Squadron Codes UD (Apr 1941 – Mar 1942)[1][2]
QY (Jan 1943 – Nov 1945)[3][4]
Aircraft flown
Fighter Supermarine Spitfire

No. 452 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force air traffic control unit. It was originally formed in 1941 fighter unit formed in accordance with Article XV of the Empire Air Training Scheme during World War II, in England. The squadron flew Supermarine Spitfires for the entire war, initially over the UK and Nazi-occupied Europe. The squadron was later based in Australia and the Netherlands East Indies before being disbanded in 1945. It was re-raised in its current role in February 2011.



No. 452 Squadron RAAF was the first Australian squadron formed in Britain during the Second World War. Its first personnel gathered at RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey on 8 April 1941 and the squadron became operational there on 22 May of that year, flying Supermarine Spitfires. No. 452 Squadron rapidly developed a formidable reputation in operations against German forces. They were involved in many different kinds of operations. One of the most unusual was escorting a bomber that — with the co-operation of the Germans — dropped an artificial leg by parachute into Europe, for the use of the British ace Douglas Bader, who was a prisoner of war. The bombers flew on to bomb a factory.

Another notable operation was the attack on the German warships Scharnhorst, Prinz Eugen and Gneisenau which were attempting the "Channel Dash", from their French harbour. Allied aircraft inflicted severe damage to these ships, despite intense anti-aircraft fire. The squadron did not lose an aircraft or suffer any damage to it on this occasion. Truscott was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for this action. Keith "Bluey" Truscott was perhaps the best-known of the squadron's fliers. Although it was an RAAF unit, while it was in Europe, 452 Sqn also had some British personnel, from the Royal Air Force as well as other British Commonwealth air forces and other nationalities. One of these was the Irish ace Paddy Finucane. A number of Polish pilots also flew with the squadron and proved to be formidable pilots, despite occasional language problems.

452 Squadron withdrew from operations in Britain on 23 March 1942 to return to Australia. It sailed for home on 21 June, arriving in Melbourne on 13 August and re-assembled at RAAF Base Richmond, New South Wales on 6 September. The squadron began a refresher training at Richmond, using a varied collection of aircraft because its Spitfires had being commandeered in transit by the Royal Air Force in the Middle East.

452 Squadron became operational again on 17 January 1943. Re-equipped with Spitfires, it was based at Batchelor Airfield in the Northern Territory and there joined No. 1 Wing RAAF, which defended Darwin from Japanese air raids. The squadron was relocated to Strauss Airfield on 1 February and, with the exception of a brief period between 9 and 27 March 1943 when it was deployed to RAAF Base Pearce to reinforce the air defences of Perth, it remained there (Strauss Airfield), protecting Darwin, until 30 June 1944, in May 1944 having become part of No. 80 Wing RAAF.

On 1 July 1944 the Squadron moved to Sattler Airfield in the Northern Territory. The protection of Darwin had been handed over to two Royal Air Force squadrons, allowing 452 Squadron to be employed in a ground attack role for the rest of the war. Initially the squadron operated against targets in the Dutch East Indies from Sattler Airfield, but on 11 December 1944 it joined the 1st Tactical Air Force and was relocated to Morotai in the Dutch East Indies, to support the Australian operations in Borneo (Kalimantan). The ground staff established themselves quickly at the newly captured Juwata airfield on Tarakan on 10 May 1945, but the state of the landing field was such that it was not fit for the aircraft of the squadron until 29 June. Following the landing at Balikpapan on 1 July a detachment of 452 Squadron Spitfires moved there on 15 July, to support the land campaign. The squadrons last sortie of the war was flown on 10 August 1945 and it disbanded two months later at Tarakan on 17 November 1945.

No. 452 Squadron was re-raised as an air traffic control unit on 16 February 2011. It forms part of No. 44 Wing and is headquartered at RAAF Base Darwin. It maintains subordinate flights at RAAF Base Darwin, RAAF Base Tindal, RAAF Base Amberley, RAAF Base Townsville and the Oakey Army Aviation Centre which provide air traffic control for these bases.[5]

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 452 Squadron RAAF, data from[6][7][8][9]
From To Aircraft Version
April 1941 May 1941 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I
May 141 August 1941 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IIa
August 1941 April 1944 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb
April 1944 November 1945 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII

Squadron bases

data from[6][7][8][9]
From To Base Remark
8 April 1941 21 July 1941 RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire
21 July 1941 21 October 1941 RAF Kenley, Surrey
21 October 1941 14 January 1942 RAF Redhill, Surrey
14 January 1942 23 March 1942 RAF Kenley,
23 March 1942 21 June 1942 RAF Andreas, Isle of Man Ground echolon at RAF Atcham, Shropshire
21 June 1942 13 August 1942 en route to Australia
6 September 1942 17 January 1943 RAAF Base Richmond, New South Wales RAAF Station Mascot[8]
17 January 1943 1 February 1943 Batchelor Airfield, Northern Territory
1 February 1943 9 March 1943 Strauss Airfield, Northern Territory Dets. at Wyndham, Western Australia
and Milingimbi Island, Northern Territory
9 March 1943 27 March 1943 RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia Guildford Airfield[8][9]
27 March 1943 30 June 1944 Strauss Airfield, Northern Territory
1 July 1944 11 December 1944 Sattler Airfield, Northern Territory
11 December 1944 29 June 1945 Morotai, Dutch East Indies
29 June 1945 17 November 1945 Juwata Airfield, Tarakan Det. at Balikpapan Airfield, Kalimantan

Commanding officers

Officers commanding no. 452 Squadron RAAF, data from[6][9]
From To Name
8 April 1941 15 June 1941 Squadron Leader Roy Gilbert Dutton (RAF), DFC & Bar
15 June 1941 25 January 1942 Squadron Leader Robert Wilton Bungey
25 January 1942 18 March 1942 Squadron Leader Keith "Bluey" Truscott
18 March 1942 30 March 1943 Squadron Leader Ray Edward Thorold-Smith, DFC
30 March 1943 3 February 1944 Squadron Leader Ronald Sommerville MacDonald
3 February 1944 4 June 1945 Squadron Leader Louis Thomas Spence
4 June 1945 17 November 1945 Squadron Leader Kevin Milne Barclay

See also




  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE, BA, RAF(Retd.). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • RAAF Historical Section. Units of the Royal Australian Air Force: a concise history. Volume 2: fighter units. Canberra: Australian Governmeny Publishing Service, 1997. ISBN 0-64442-794-9.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald & Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (2nd edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Smith, Frank; Geoffrey Pentland (1971). Spitfire Markings of the RAAF: Pacific area 1942–45, part 1. Dandenong, Victoria, Australia: Kookaburra Technical Publications. ISBN 0-85880-001-2. 
  • Smith, Frank; Peter Malone (1971). Spitfire Markings of the RAAF: Pacific area 1944–45, part 2. Dandenong, Victoria, Australia: Kookaburra Technical Publications. ISBN 0-85880-007-1. 
  • Southall, Ivan. Bluey Truscott: Squadron Leader Keith William Truscott, R.A.A.F., D.F.C. and Bar. Sydney, Australia: Angus and Robertson, 1958.
  • Wawn, Clive Jr. (collection of memorabilia and documents)

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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