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No. 31 Squadron RAAF

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31 Sqn.jpg
No. 31 Squadron at Coomalie Creek NT January 1943. Pilots & Observers with Bristol Beaufighter


Brief History

No. 31 Squadron was formed at RAAF Base Wagga on 14 Aug 1942, and was equipped with Bristol Beaufighter fighter and attack aircraft. The squadron undertook a period of training before deploying to Batchelor Airfield, in the Northern Territory in October. A period of more intense training followed and familiarisation flights were carried out before moving to its operational base at Coomalie Creek Airfield on 12 Nov 1942. Combat operations commenced 17 November, attacking targets in Portuguese Timor with some success.


The squadron then flew ground-attack missions against Japanese forces in the Netherlands East Indies, concentrating on airfields and ships. It operated from the Coomalie Creek airfield in this role until December 1944 when the squadron moved to Noemfoor Island north of the Dutch New Guinea mainland to bring them closer to targets in the region. From then until the end of the war the squadron continued in the ground attack role from bases in Morotai and Tarakan. In its first year of combat operations, the squadron was credited with 18 air-to-air victories and a further 49 aircraft destroyed on the ground. However, casualties were significant as a result of operating at low altitude, with 79 men killed in action or died during their time with the unit.


After the war No. 31 Squadron conducted weather reconnaissance and escorted single-engine aircraft from the Dutch East Indies to Australia. The squadron returned to Australia in December 1945, moving to Deniliquin, New South Wales, and was disbanded at RAAF Base Williamstown on 9 July 1946.

Battle Honours

  • Pacific 1942-1945
  • Darwin 1942-1944
  • Eastern Waters 1942-1945
  • Morotai
  • Borneo 1945

Individual Honours

  • 18 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 2 bars
  • 1 x Distinguished Flying Medal
  • 6 Mentioned in Despatches
  • 1 x King's Commendation for Brave Conduct

Ground Crew

Notes


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