No. 17 Replenishing Centre RAAF

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Brief History

No. 17 Replenishing Centre was established at Bowral, New South Wales, on 3 Feb 1943, with the purpose of serving the explosives requirements of units located in that State. By the end of the month, 774 tons of explosives stocks had been transferred from Picton, and a disused railway tunnel was the main storage facility. The camp site was owned by the Sydney City Mission, who offered the farm outhouses for the accommodallon of the men.

During May 1943, 16 days of continuous rain resulted in the storage tunnel being flooded to a depth of 38 centimetres, fortunately without damage to the stock held there. Fires were also a hazard. During 28 Feb 1944, members of the unit combined with the local firc bngade to control a fire which was burning 11 kilometres from Bowral, and a mall fire broke out on 18 March at 'Hopewood'- where a WAAAF training unit was established - requiring the assistance of unit members to bring it under control. They assisted locals to fight a number of fires each summer, including one that threatened the strage tunnel. The fire which most threatened the unit broke out during the morning of 1 Jan 1945. Having burnt to within 50 metres of the firebreaks near the incendiary store, the fire was extinguished with the assistance of the Mittagong Fire Brigade.

The Sydney C1ty Miss1on facilities were 1mproved by the RAAf and, during November t944, the members of the unit commenced a project to manufacture toys for the children of the Mission Home, which was adjacent to the camp. Toys were manufactured and presented to the children as a Christmas treat at a special parade on 20 Dec 1944.

At the end of the War, the strength of the un1t was 38 officers and men, and the unit disbanded on 1 Dec 1945. Six airmen remained as caretakers, maintaining the remaining explosives in the tunnel, and it became a detachment of No. 1 Central Reserve.

Unit Personnel


Content has come from Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History - Volume 6 Logistics Units - Australian Government Publishing Service - 1995 paged 76 & 77

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