No. 5 Operational Training Unit RAAF

From Our Contribution


Brief History

This unit was formed at Wagga Wagga, NSW on 26 Oct 1942 with training commencing on 2 Nov 1942 using seven aircraft - five Beaufightcrs and two Beauforts. The first training course comprised 12 crews, with their training completed by 12 Dec 1942. By June 1943, Unit personnel totalled 387, of whom 17 were WAAAF. There were 20 Beaufighter / Beaufort aircraft, four DH-84s and one Moth Minor. The first Oxford aircraft arrived in August.

The Unit moved to Tocumwal, New South Wales, on 20 Oct 1943, and No. 10 Beaufighter and No. 3 Boston courses completed training there on 26 Oct 1943. The first Mosquito aircraft was received on 13 Nov 1943, and by April 1944, of THEIR 63 aircraft, five were Mosquitos. In addition to the regular inflow/outflow of students being trained as pilots or navigators, a stream of conversion courses for aircrew experienced on other forms of aircraft were conducted. A detachment of 177 personnel moved to Williamstown in May 1944, with the entire unit there by July. In October 1944, the strength of personnel exceeded 1,000, peaking at 1,700 in May 1945. (The loss of four aircraft and crews in three days during November 1944 was indicative of the hazards of realistic training). Thirty crews were in training during January 1945. Aircraft strength was 75, of which Mosquitos now numbered 28. Training continued beyond Victory in the Pacific Day, but the wind down from a war footing was fairly rapid. On 30 Nov 1945, the last two Beaufighters were ferried to No. 5 Aircraft Depot, and from 1 Feb 1946 5 OTU became a crew conversion unit and Mustang and Wirraway aircraft were taken on strength in September 1946. Disbandment finally occurred on 7 Jul 1947.

5 OTU was reformed at Williamstown on 1 April 1970 with responsibility for Sabre aircraft conversion and operational traimng preparatory to Mirage conversion. By 31 Jul 1971, with its purpose served, 5 OTU ceased to exist.

Unit 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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