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No. 450 Squadron RAAF

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450 Squadron.jpg
Ground crews of 450 Squadron in Malta preparing Kittyhawk fighter-bombers for operations during the invasion of Sicily, 1943 - AWM SUK11288
450 Squadron badge.jpg


Brief History

Established at RAAF Station Williamstown on 7 Feb 1941, it was the first Squadron raised under the Empire Air Training Scheme. The ground crew personnel embarked on HMT Queen Elizabeth for the Middle East on 11 Apr 1941 and as they as yet had no aircrew, they joined with the pilots of No. 260 Squadron and as 260/450 Squadron they briefly operated Hawker Hurricane Aircraft during the Syrian campaign against the Vichy French. Soon after, the aircrews and ground crew reverted to their original groupings and during the remainder of 1941 No. 450 Squadron operated primarily as an Operational Training Unit, or as an advanced repair, salvage and service unit


In February 1942, now with their own pilots, and Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk aircraft they began a 15 month stretch operating as fighters and fighter/bombers in the North African and Tunisian campaigns, regularly moving from airfield to airfield, while claiming 49 enemy aircraft shot down. On 13 Jul 1943 the squadron re-located to Malta from where they participated in the Allies invasion of Sicily, followed by the Italian campaign, primarily in a close support role to troops on the ground, regularly changing airfields on the Italian mainland to follow the front lines. In May 1945 they began to be re-equipped with North American P-51 Mustang fighters, but were disbanded at Lavariano (north east Italy) on 20 Aug 1945 without having used these aircraft in combat.


Forty Seven (47) Australian servicemen lost their lives while posted to this Squadron.

Aircrew

Battle Honours

  • Syria 1941
  • Egypt and Libya 1940-1943
  • El Alamein
  • El Hamma
  • Gothic Line
  • Gustav Line
  • Italy 1943-1945
  • North Africa 1942-1943
  • Sicily 1943
  • South-East Europe 1942-1945

Individual Honours (Australian personnel)

  • 2 x Distinguished Service Order
  • 20 x Distinguished Flying Cross & 3 Bars
  • 6 x Distinguished Flying Medals
  • 1 x Military Medal
  • 7 x Mentioned in Despathes

Notes


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