No. 42 Squadron RAAF

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42 Squadron.jpg
An RAAF PBY Catalina, A24-17, on the surface in New Guinea waters during WW2 - AWM i52098

Brief History

No. 42 Squadron, raised in the Northern Territory in June 1944, was soon after equipped with Catalina flying boats. Deployed from Melville Island it initially flew reconnaissance and shipping escort sorties. From September 1944 the squadron's role changed to primarily mine laying operations in Dutch East Indies and Philippine waters. The planes were painted black and operated over vast distances at night.

In October 1944 one of 42 Squadron's aircraft was damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire and was forced to make a forced landing in enemy territory. An aircraft from 41 Squadron, escorted by a B-24 Liberator made a successful rescue mission to retrieve the crew. From November 1944 a detachment of the squadron deployed to Morotai from where it continued mine laying operations around Borneo. In December seven of their aircraft were deployed to Leyte from where they mined Manila Bay, before returning to mining waters off Surabaya. During this time another of their planes was forced to land after being damaged by Japanese anti-aircraft fire, and again the crew was rescued by another Catalina.

In 1945 the squadron was involved in mine laying along the Chinese and Formosa coastlines, operating from a base in Leyte Gulf. Following the cessation of hostilities, 42 Squadron assisted in the repatriation of Australian prisoners of war from Manila, and the return of Australia servicemen from Labuan in Borneo. The Squadron was disbanded at Melville Bay on 30 Nov 1945 having completed nearly 400 operational sorties.

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