No. 7 Repair and Salvage Unit RAAF

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Recovery of crashed aircraft often required hard work

Brief History

No. 7 Repair and Salvage Unit RAAF was formed at Richmond, New South Wales, on 3 Jun 1942. Members of the Unit travelled to areas including Coffs Harbour, Singleton, Grafton, Nowra and Nabiac to salvage CAC Wackett, Fairey Battle, Bristol Beaufort, Supermarine Spitfire and Lockheed Hudson aircraft. The first recorded operation was the conversion of a Douglas DC-2, A30-7. On 5 Sep 1942, the unit was advised that it was to move to Port Moresby. This planned move was deferred until the Unit was suitably equipped, and finally cancelled on 22 September.

A party of 1 officer and 23 airmen travelled to No. 1 Aircraft Depot RAAF at Laverton to gain experience on Spitfire aircraft. The party returned to Richmond on 10 November and on 12 Dec 1942, notification was received that the Unit was to move to Pell, in the Northern Territory. On 31 December 1941, the main party embarked on the SS James Russell Lowell and arrived at Darwin on 12 January 1943. The Unit disembarked the next day, and travelled by road to the camp site at Pell, at which a mobile works unit had erected 43 tents, four mess rooms, two kitchens and four showers. The Unit was greeted by two air raid alerts, on 20 and 21 January 1943, before commencing duty on the 23rd when 1 Mobile Repair Unit travelled to Daly Waters to repair a Spitfire.

The Unit established three mobile repair un1ts and salvage units, which travelled to Pine Creek, Humpty Doo, Cape Shield, Millingimbi, Bathurst Island, Melville Island, Wyndham and Daly Waters. The Unit abo maintained and salvaged aircraft from the fighter airfields at Sattler, Strauss and Livingstone. No. 7 Repair and Salvage Unit maintained Supermarine Spitfire aircraft, but also serviced Mitchell and Wirraway types.

An advance party departed from Pell, bound for the Darwin Civil Aerodrome, on 10 Feb 1944. The move was completed on 15 February. The final entry in the Unit History Record was made in August 1945.

Unit Personnel


Content has come from Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History - Volume 7 Maintenance Units - Australian Government Publishing Service - 1995 pages 94 & 95.

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