No. 5 Volunteer Air Observers Corps RAAF

From Our Contribution


Brief History

The Volunteer Air Observers Corps was devised by the RAAF during the latter months of 1941, with the purpose of sighting and reporting enemy aircraft over Australian territory. On 22 Dec 1941, the Volunteer A1r Observers Corps was organised and the first observation station became operational at Bainsdale, Victoria, on 25 Dec 1941.

The organisation covered a 150-mile (250 km) band inland from Port Douglas, Queensland. to Port Lincoln, South Australia, and from Albany to Northampton, Western Australia. Tasmania was covered by a ring of observation posts around their industrial centres.

Observation posts were manned by volunteers, under the control of a Chief observer, and linked to control posts under a civilian commandant. Control posts used existing Civil Defence and Volunteer Defence Force facilities wherever possible. Volunteer Air Observer Corps personnel were controlled by the RAAF and recruited from local areas. They came under RAAF control on 28 Mar 1942.

From October 1943 The volunteers were to be supervised by experienced RAAF personnel. The Corps peaked in manpower in 1944, with approximately 24,000 members manning 2,656 observation posts and 39 control posts. 14,310 volunteers manned. Between January 1943 and August 1945, the organisation had definately saved 78 aircraft, substantialy aided another 710 and assisted a further 1098. On 11 Dec 1945 the organisation was placed on hold and on 10 Apr 194 it was formally wound up.

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 208 - 211.

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