No. 5 Squadron

Event Aitape-Wewak Campaign
Commanding Officers
Decorations 1 OBE; 4 DFC; 9 MID
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Second World War
  • Second World War
  • Second World War
Category Unit
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Unit hierarchy

5 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps was reformed at Laverton in Victoria on 9 January 1941, with a single flight of Wirraway aircraft. Serving primarily as a training unit in Rockhampton, Toogoolawah, Kingaroy, and Mareeba, 5 Squadron did not commence operations in the Pacific until November 1944.

From Torokina in Bougainville, the unit undertook tactical reconnaissance, led a strike on Japanese positions by RNZAF Corsairs, and made an attack on enemy positions at Pearl Ridge in support of an army assault. In February and March 1945 an attack was made on positions at Tsimba Ridge and against enemy tanks at Ruri Bay.

On 17 April 1945 a detachment was sent to Tadji airfield in Atiape and was joined by a wireless detachment that had been operating from Jacquinot Bay in New Britain. In early May the squadron undertook attacks with other units in support of the advance and eventual capture of the Japanese stronghold at Wewak. The squadron's busiest month was June, with a total of 188 flying hours, including reconnaissance, artillery direction, bombing, strafing, map correction, and transporting officers to forward areas.

Following the Japanese surrender, 5 Squadron aircraft dropped leaflets to Japanese forces. During October the unit dropped storepedoes (torpedo-shaped containers of supplies dropped from low-flying aircraft) to the 27th Australian Infantry Battalion on Fauro Island. The tropical conditions had damaged the fabric and frames of many of the squadron's aircraft and most were grounded by 15 November. Disbandment orders came on 7 January 1946 and the destruction of all Wirraway and Boomerang aircraft commenced immediately. One-third of the remaining members were posted to other units before the squadron moved to Pearce in Western Australia on 22 February. The squadron was partly reformed with Kittyhawk aircraft but was disbanded on 18 October 1946.

Most of 5 Squadron's 24 deaths were as a result of accidents during training between 1941 and 1943.

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