Australia

Australia

At the outbreak of war, the Royal Australian Air Force had a strength of 246 aircraft, of which only 164 were operational. These aircraft were operated within 12 squadrons by a total of 310 officers and 3179 airmen.

The first squadron to ' go operational' was No. 10, whose crews came to England just before the outbreak of war, to take delivery of a number of short Sunderland Flying Boats which, following conversion to type, they were due to ferry back to Australia. Instead they stayed in England for the duration of the war and fought as a unit of RAF Coastal Command (my wife complains if I'm ten minutes late home from work.).

RAAF10

In fact, for a period during this time, No. 10 squadron operated from Royal Air Force Station, Mount Batten, which used the waters of Plymouth Sound as it's 'airfield' and which is overlooked by our memorial.

The RAAF operated in all theatres, and Australians took part in every major action in Europe either with the RAAF or as members of the RAF, including the Battle of Britain, the 'Dams Raid' by 617 squadron, RAF and the raid against the German Battleship "Tirpitz".

Away from Europe they played a vital role in the invasion of Borneo, undertook photo recconaisance flights over Japanese bases in the Phillipnes and the mining of seaways such as the harbour at Hong Kong.

In the European theatre alone the RAAF lost 5,488 personnel killed or missing whilst in the Middle East and Asia they lost a further 1,135.

As the war progressed, the RAAF underwent immense expansion until in 1942 it had a strength of over 20,000 officers and 158,000 airmen and women.

Its fleet of over 5,000 aircraft included Spitfires, Beauforts and Beaufighters supplied by England and Vengeances, Hudsons, Catalinas, Liberators, Mitchells, Mustangs and Kittyhawks from America in addition to it's indigeonously manufactured aircraft