No. 44 Operational Base Unit RAAF

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Brief History

No. 44 Operational Base Unit was formed at Garbutt, Townsville, in December 1942. The Unit relocated to Merauke on the south coast of Dutch New Guinea on 15 May 1943, after transiting through Horn Island, which was bombed on 11 May 1943, but without casualties to members of the Unit. The landing strip at Merauke was approximately 2 miles from the Unit headquarters, which controlled aerodrome control personnel and the permanent duty crew of fitters, firemen and medical orderlies.

86 Squadron Kittyhawks operated at this time and were used in defence during Japanese air raids. On 10 Sep 1943 five No. 12 Squadron Vengeance aircraft arrived to carry out patrol duties. During this time, the strip was lengthened to 4290 feet. A new control tower was erected in June 1944, and a radio telephony communications system was instaiJed by The United States Army Air Force. Beauforts and Venturas of the RAAF carried out bombmg and strafing attacks from the strip, and as the Japanese were being pushed further back, 44 Operational Base Unit became more a staging camp for personnel moving on to postings further north.

Toward the end of 1944 the urgency of the War was not noticeable at Meraukc, however, he unit continued with its work of refueling visiting aircraft, general maintenance and admmistration duties connected w1th the organisation of the Unit. In February 1945 aircraft, including Spitfires staged through the base enroute to Morotai. The final entry in the unit history record was made on 31 Oct 1945.

Unit Personnel


Content has come from Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History - Volume 1 Bases, Supporting Organisations - Australian Government Publishing Service - 1995 pages 34 & 35

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