No. 17 Repair & Salvage Unit RAAF

From Our Contribution

17 RSU.jpg
A 17 RSU convoy with salvaged Vengeance aircraft, Giralia Staion

Brief History

Repair and Salvage Units were specialised units that were formed to help overcome the acute shortage of RAAF aircraft and the high incident of accidents, due to inadequate airfields, inexperienced pilots and the confusion and haste associated with the need to combat a rapidly advancing enemy. These units were required to attend crashed aircraft and restore them if possible or, if not, to recover any salvageable parts for use as spares for other aircraft. As aircraft often crashed at remote and inhospitable locations the men were often required to work without supporting facilities, making full use of any local resources, material or personnel. An important part of their role was to know which parts were interchangeable between different types of aircraft, and to maintain parts updates for different models. 16 of these units operated in Australia and overseas. In addition to recovery of crashed aircraft, much of the unit's work was in servicing a wide range of aircraft in remote areas.

17 Repair & Salvage Unit (RSU) was formed at RAAF Pearce on 19 May 1942. It moved to Cunderdin on 29 Jun 1942 and was based a local garage and the 'Burnside' homestead. It was soon servicing Beaufort, Buffalo, Wirraway, Kittyhawk, Anson, Hudson and Brewster aircraft. In 1943 a squadron of Boomerangs was posted to the airfield \with 17 RSU responsible for their servicing.

By February 1943, two hangars were completed at the airfield and 2 canvas hangars constructed at the garage to allow for vehicle servicing in wet weather. On 13 Jul 1943 the unit returned to Pearce, from where it operated until disbanded on 12 Feb 1946.



Content comes from Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History - Vol 7 Maintenance Units - Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995, and the Australian War Memorial website.

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