No. 7 Operational Training Unit RAAF
From Our Contribution
Three 7 OTU Consolidated B-24 Liberators in formation - AWM 043184
No. 7 Operational Training Unit was formed at Tocumwal, New South Wales, on 15 Feb 1944. W1th a total strength of 473 personnel, the Units purpose was to provide operational training for Consolidated B-24 Liberator crews. The first two Liberator aircraft arrived at Tocumwal on 21 Feb 1941, followed by another on 18 March. Two more arrived on 13 April, and two were delivered on 30 April. By the end of April 1944, the aircraft strength of the unit was eight Liberators, one Vultee Vengeance and an Airspeed Oxford.
No. I Liberator course was completed on 2 June 1944, and nine days later the second commenced, with an intake of 18 crews to commence training in September, 27 crews to commence in October 1944, and an intake of 27 crews every four weeks thereafter. To meet the demands or this plan, No. 3 Liberator Course was designed to convert selected pilots as flying Instructors to train an expected 648 trainees who would be under training at Tocumwal at any one time. At the end of 1944, No.8 course comprised 23 crews.
Training continued despite five Liberators being found to have had the bulk of the aircraft wiring cut. An investigation failed to identify the perpetrator of the sabotage. A number of aircraft were destroyed in ground and flying accidents, fortunately without loss of life. IN June 1945, there were 1660 personnel on strength at 7 Operational Training Un1t, and 54 Liberators, 11 Vultee Vengeance, one Oxford and five Kittyhawk aircraft made up the fly1ng strength of the Unit. On 24 Aug 1945, orders were received that 15 Liberators were to be converted to transport aircraft to assist with the return of prisoners of war to Australia. No. 7 Operational Training Unit disbanded on 30 Nov 1945.
- Frederick Matthew Howlett 26 Aug 1944 - 23 Apr 1945