No. 76 Squadron RAAF

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Kittyhawk taxing at Milne Bay Sep 1942
Kittyhawk Kiriwina.jpg
Servicing a Kittyhawk at Kiriwina Jan 1944

Brief History

76 Squadron was formed at Archerfield, Queensland, on 14 March 1942, equipped with Curtis P-40 Kittyhawk aircraft (P-40E model). During April the squadron transferred to Weir strip, near Townsville, and during July personnel and equipment were moved by ship to Milne Bay, and while they were establishing the base, the aircraft operated from Port Moresby. In August 1942 the aircraft completed the move to Milne Bay, where 76 Squadron operated alongside 75 Squadron in the defense of Milne Bay. On 24 August a Japanese force was sighted heading for Milne Bay, and soon after the two squadrons fought Japanese raiders, claiming three enemy aircraft for the loss of three pilots. The Japanese landed early the next day and in the ensuing battle for Milne Bay, from 25 August to 3 September, the squadrons strafed Japanese troops, barges, and stores. Lieutenant General Sydney Rowell, reported that the efforts of the fighter squadrons were "the decisive factor" in the ultimate victory over the invading forces.

The squadron moved to Batchelor in the NT on 9 Oct 1942 and undertook convoy patrols and escort duties until they moved to Onslow and then Exmouth in February 1943 when it was thought the Japanese planned to invade WA. Once the fear of invasion had receded they relocated, this time to Bankstown, NSW where they received new P-40M Kittyhawks. In June 1943 it began operating from airstrips at Kiriwina, followed by Momote, Noemfoor, Morotai, Tawitawi, and Labuan, engaged in bombing and strafing attacks on enemy airfields, supply points, shipping and as escort for bombers. In September 1945 they were re-equipped with North American P-51 Mustang aircraft and during February 1946 the Squadron relocated to Borfu, in Japan as part of the occupying force. In 1948 they relocated to Iwakuni, Japan before being disbanded on October 1948. The Squadron suffered the loss of 24 men during WW2.

76 Squadron reformed in 1949, and has been active since flying Vampires, Sabres, and Mirages before changing its role to training with Macchi and BAE Hawk 127 aircraft.

Battle Honours

  • Milne Bay 1942
  • New Guinea 1942-44
  • Borneo 1945

Individual Honours

  • 8 x Distinguished Flying Crosses
  • 1 x Mention in Despatches


Ground Crew


External Links