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No. 4 Repair and Salvage Unit RAAF

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Brief History

No. 4 Repair and Salvage Unit was established at RAAF Laverton on 18 May 1942. After working on repair and salvage tasks for several weeks, the advance party, comprising two officers and 61 airmen moved out on 20 Oct 1942 to North-Western Area (NWA), installing itself at Pell Field located on the Stuart Highway, 93 kilometres south of Darwin and approximately ten kilometres north of Adelaide River. All members of the unit had arrived by the end of the year.

For the next three years the Unit remained in the NWA recovering lost aircraft and either repairing them or reducing them to parts. In the course of this activity, many small parties of men, or individuals, spent lengthy periods in the bush away from settled camps, living rough while searching for, and working on, crashed aircraft. The types of aircraft dealt with included virtually every type operated by the RAAF in the NWA during this period, and the work required a sound knowledge of the different engineering requirements of the various aircraft involved. By 31 Jan 1943 the Unit comprised 11 officers and 353 other ranks, all of whom became accustomed to 'the wet'.


The Unit was engaged in various airfield defence exercises and construction of fire breaks during this period, including training for preventative measures should the airfield be attacked by the enemy using gas. On 21 August 1943, a Japanese aircraft returning form another target attacked the airfield. It dropped three anti-personnel bombs and an incendiary, causing superficial damage to an empty sentry box. There were no casualties, although telephone communication was temporarily cut.


By the end of November 1943 the Unit comprised 10 officers and 520 other ranks. In January 1945 the Unit's name was changed to 4 Repair and Servicing Unit (4RSU) and in May the unit moved to Winnellie and established itself there. As war activities moved north away from Australia, the strength of the Unit slowly declined and by the end of August the strength was 11 officers and 385 other ranks. 4RSU moved from Darwin on 15 Dec 1945 by road and rail via Alice Springs. Quorn, Mildura and Tocumwal, to Parkes. Most of the convoy arrived at Parkes between 26 and 29 Dec 1945, and the Unit moved on to Amberley in Queensland on 15 Apr 1946. The unit was renamed No. 482 Maintenance Squadron on 10 May 1946.

Unit Personnel

Notes

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


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