The Australian War Theatres
Australian airmen served overseas from the earliest days of the First World War. Two pilots were sent to New Guinea in 1914, but were not needed. The following year a group, to become known as the Mesopotamian half-flight, went to the Middle East and were absorbed into the Royal Flying Corps. Here, in a disastrous campaign for the British against the Turks, the Australian Flying Corps suffered its first casualties and some of the men were taken prisoner.
In early 1916 the first complete Australian squadron, No.1 Squadron AFC, left for Egypt. From there in the Sinai and Palestine, the squadron gave outstanding service and brought to the fore some of our finest airmen.
A similarly important role was played by three more front line squadrons (Nos. 2, 3, and 4 Squadrons AFC) that had arrived in England by 1917 and later flew in France and Belgium. Operating over the Western Front these units undertook reconnaissance and observation, photography, aerial combat, bombing and ground attacks.
A further four Australian training squadrons (Nos 5, 6, 7, 8) were also stationed in England. To find out more about AFC Training please click here.