No. 22 Squadron RAAF

From Our Contribution

22 Squadron RAAF.jpg
Arming a Boston aircraft on Noemfoor Island 29 Oct 1944. AWM photo OG1732

Brief History

This unit was formed at Richmond, NSW on 20 Apr 1936, and soon after was renamed as No. 22 (City of Sydney) Squadron. Their initial aircraft were two Hawker Demon aircraft, and three Gypsy Moths. In March 1937 the Squadron received their first Avro Anson aircraft to asist them to provide a range of roles from transport, to exercising with other forces.

When WW2 began the squadron was equipped with four Anson and eight Demon aircraft, and the next day they were tasked with coastal searches. On 7 Oct 1939 "C" Flight was re-armed with CAC Wirraways. In late 1939 a fourth Flight was formed to train air cadets. The Squadron temorarily relocated to Cressy in Victoria on 3 Oct 1940 and became involved in training air gunners at No. 1 Armament Training School before returning to Richmond on 2 Nov 1940.

Throughout the early months of 1941, 22 Squadron caried out exercises in Army co-operation, dive-bombmg. parachute dropping and photography before The operations of the Squadron took on a more vital role with the entry of Japan into the war. In April 1942, the Squadron began re-equiping w1th Douglas Boston aircraft. On two occasions in June 1942, 22 Squadron Oostons attacked enemy submarines off the cast coast of Australia. In September 1942, the Squadron moved to Ward Strip near Port Moresby. Early operations in New Guinea were directed against enemy troops and supply dumps in the Buna-Gona area. During December 1942, 46 sorties were flown including an attack on a Japanese Destroyer which was caught while unloading troops and supplies at Mambarc River in the early hours of 14 Dec 1942. Stores and troops were then attacked and the damaged destroyer was later sunk by B-17s. No. 22 Squadron played an important part in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea during the first week of March 1943.

The Squadron continued to operate during April to July from Ward's Strip providing close tactical support of ground forces, bombing and strafing )apanese-occup1ed villages, supply dumps and defended positions. Most targets were strongly defended by anti-aircraft guns which rendered the Squadron's low level operations particularly hazardous. In July 1943, six Bostons of No. 22 Squadron took part in the biggest RAAF strike yet undertaken in the soulh-west Pacific, when 63 aircraft attacked Gasmata. Towards the end of September 1943, eight new long range Bostons were received by the Squadron. Following work to convert them they were in action in mic October 1943. but considerable work had to be done on the aircraft to make them fully serviceable. Their operational debut was delayed until mid-October. On 1 Sep 1943 the Squadron, together with two RAAF fighter squadrons, moved to Goodenough Island.

During a mission in November 1943, the crew of an aircraft were reported missing, apparently shot down a mile north of Malakua Village. They returned to 22 Squadron three months later. On 26 Nov 1943, the Squadron moved to Kiriwina. ln January 1944, the main objective was disrupt enemy barge traffic on the north and south coasts of New Britain. The Squadron was credited with destroying three barges and destroying a further two. The Squadron continued to support the American ground forces on New Britain and harass the Japanese movements.

For three months the Squadron was non operational and went through a rebuild, having been allocated 12 new A·20G Boston aircraft. The squadron was sent to Noemfoor Island on 11 Aug 1944, to support aerial dominance over Western New Guinea in anticipation of the invasion of Sansapor and Morotai. The Squadron was tasked with attacking enemy Airfields, villages and shipping. On 17 Nov 1944, 16 Bostons of No. 22 Squadron arrived at Morotai and on the following day Beaufighters and Bostons took off from Wama airfield on strikes against airfields, watercraft and enemy installations in the northern Celebes supporting the American landings in the Philippines. After Japanese attacks on 22 and 23 Nov 1944, the Squadron was left with so few aircraft that it was ordered to withdraw to Noemfoor where it would be re-armed and the crews retrained with Bristol Beaufighters.

Until the end of the war No.22 Squadron formed part of a force of Beaufighters and Kittyhawks that carried out raids on enemy bases and garrisons, and in the process sank and damaged surfnce used to support Japanese land forces cut off from Japan, making life miserable for 20,000 Japanese troops in the northern Celebes. In April 1945 No. 22 Squadron was tasked to move to Tarakan, but when circumstances made that impossible they moved to Sanga Sanga aerodrome on Tawitawi Island in the southern Phihppines in order to provide air cover over Tarakan. The Squadron arrived at Tawitawi from Morotai on I Jun 1945, and carried out operations in support of Australian landings at Labuan and Brunei Bay in British North Borneo on 10 June. At the end of June the squadron was moved to Morotai. A nucleus of No. 22 Squadron moved to Deniliquin, NSW on 17 Dec 1945 and remained there until the Squadron was disbanded on 15 August 1945.

The Squadron was reformed as the City of Sydney (Fighter) Squadron on l Apr 1948 at Bankstown, New South Wales. Four Mustangs were taken on strength at the beginning of November 1948 and the Squadron moved to Scholields, NSW, on 16 Nov 1948. Weekend pilot training continued and the Squadron also engaged in Army and Navy co-operation exercises to further its experience. In July 1951 a helicopter joined the Squadron and carried out food relief duties in following years. The Squadron moved from Schofields to Richmond, NSW in March 1953. In September 1953, Vampire aircraft were allotted to No. 22 Squadron. In January 1960, advice was received that No. 22 Squadron was to relinquish its Meteors (which had replaced the Vampires in April 1956) and then be re-organised in a non-flying role and re-named No. 22 (Auxiliary) Squadron RAAF. The Squadron is stil active today, as a reserve unit, at RAAF Base Richmond.

Squadron Personnel


Content has come from Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History - Volume 8 Training Units - Australian Government Publishing Service - 1995

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