No. 201 Flight RAAF

From Our Contribution

201 Flight.jpg
An airman standing on top of a No. 201 Flight RAAF B-24 Liberator at RAAF station Laverton AWM P08483.003

Brief History

201 Spec1al Duties Flight was formed at RAAF Station Laverton on 10 Mar 1945, and Liberator aircraft A72-186 and A72-197 were allotted to the Flight on 27 March. A72-186 was delivered to Laverton on 5 Apr 1945 and was handed over to No 1 Aircraft Performance Unit (APU) for modifications to allow it to carry out the special role of the Flight. The second aircraft (A72-197) arrived at Laverton on 27 Apr 1945. Work was not started on it at once as it was considered advisable to first carry out structural modifications to A72·186. In Jun 1945 a third aircraft (A72-357) was allotted to 201 Flight to be used for general training purposes.

Many delays were experienced in securing necessary intercept equipment and progress on the aircraft was slower than antic1pated. By the end of June modifications to A72-186 were almost finished, and in early July flight tests were carried out. The main elements of these modifications were the removal of the ball turret and the addition of a radar scanning dome and fully enclosed radar operator's cabin. The aircraft were also fitted with an AN/APR-1 radar intercept receiver though it was hoped to replace these with AN/APR-4 sets. In mid-July the aircraft was handed over to the Flight so that flying and air training of the special operators could be carried out. In September A72·197 was completed at 1 APU. In the same month RAAF Headquarters advised that tentative post-war plans for the RAAF included the retention of 201 Flight, to be established at RAAF Station Laverton.

A detachment of about 100 No. 201 personnel were transferred to Darwin in the Northern Territory to prepare for operations while the rest of the unit remained at Ascot Vale until the B-24s were ready. Two modified B-24s had reached Darwin by the time the war ended in mid-August, but the flight had not been able to conduct any operational missions by this time. On 9 October 1945, 201 Flight Headquarters moved from Ascot Vale to Laverton and the detachment moved from Darwin to Laverton on 16 Oct 1945. The unit ceased to function on 17 Dec 1945 and was formally disbanded on 15 Mar 1946.

Ground Crew


Content has come from Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History - Volume 4 Maritime & Transport Units pages 176 & 177- Australian Government Publishing Service - 1995

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