No. 80 Squadron RAAF

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80 Squadron.jpg
No. 80 Squadron Kittyhawks at Noemfoor Island being prepared for ground attack missions in 1944 AWM OG1751

Brief History

No. 80 Squadron was formed at Townsville, on 10 Sep 1943 equipped with Kittyhawks. They commenced training at Aitkenvale strip on 3 November. The Squadron completed training and deployed to Nadzab, Papua & New Guinea on 24 Feb 1944. Operations included patrols of the Markham Valley to prevent Japanese incursions against the Nadzab airfield complex, escorting Allied bombers and strafing enemy targets at Alexishafen, Madang and along the Bogadjim Road.

On 21 Mar 1944 the Squadron deployed to the airstrip at Cape Gloucester, from where it flew convoy protection patrols and armed reconnaissance missions. On 29 Apr 1944, 22 Kittyhawks deployed to Tadji airfield, Aitape. The landing at Aitape was made to cover the landing at Hollandia, and the Squadron patrolled over Tadji and Hollandia and covered the invasion convoy, before moving to Hollandia itself on 15 May 1944. No. 80 Squadron covered the Wakde and Biak landings during June, During July 1944, 120 men and the aircraft moved to Biak Island, while the transport section deployed to Noemfoor on 20 July, to prepare for the Squadron coming together at Noemfoor from where they commenced strikes over the Manokwari-Jefman area. During August, three aircraft were lost and one pilot was reported 'missing, believed killed'. During September two aircraft were shot down by anti-aircraft fire, two collided on landing and another two were damaged in taxiing accidents. Operations consisted of watercraft sweeps and attacks on sawmills on Kokas Island, before ranging over the Halmaheras during October. In December two pilots were lost and the Squadron deployed to Morotai on 21 Jan 1945 from where it continued strikes on the Halmaheras. The rate of operations then began to decrease, and those which were undertaken mainly comprised dive bombing missions and strafing i.e. an infantry support role..

On 11 Apr 1945, No. 80 Squadron was taken off operations to prepare for the 'Oboe' landing at Tarakan, Borneo. The ground crew participated in the landing, with the aircraft remaining at Morotai, to follow when landing facilities became available. It was 12-13 July, when 22 aircraft flew to Tarakan from Morotai. From Tarakan, the Squadron flew Army close support missions until the Armistice on 15 August. During September, the rate of flying was limited, and this did not improve before the unit embarked on HMS Glory for passage to Sydney, via Manus Island. HMS Glory arrived in Sydney on 12 Dec 1945, and interstate members of the Squadron were granted leave. The remainder proceeded to Deniliquin, New South Wales, where the strength of the Squadron decreased until the end of the year. No. 80 Squadron was reduced to a 'number only' status on 9 May 1946 and was disbanded on 11 July.

Unit Personnel


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