Royal Australian Air Force Squadrons - History & Codes

Spitfire Squadrons practicing formation flying at an Australian base. 014383 Spitfires manned by RAF and RAAF pilots practicing formation
flying at an Australian base.

During the Second World War RAAF flying squadrons were identified by an alphabetic code. Between 1939 and early 1943, aircraft flown in Australia or the South West Pacific were marked with a single letter. RAAF aircraft flying in Malaya, Europe and the Middle East were marked with RAF codes that consisted of a group of three letters, two to identify the squadron and one to identify an individual aircraft. Thus, within and individual squadron an aircraft was referred to by the phonetic equivalent of its code letter.

For example, the Memorial's Lancaster bomber is marked with AR-G. AR was the two letter code for 460 Squadron RAAF and G signified the sixth aircraft in that squadron. Following the phonetic alphabet of the time, the aircraft was known to the squadron as 'G for George'. In early 1943, the RAF coding system was adopted for use on RAAF aircraft in Australia and the South West Pacific. Squadron codes were abandoned after the Second World War.



Further information:

  • Document: RAAF Squadron Codes
    This document contains a listing of RAAF Squadron codes used during WWII in Australia and the Pacific as well as Malaya, the Middle East and Europe.
  • RAAF Museum: Research Page
    This web site contains a complete listing of all of the types of aircraft used by the RAAF along with a brief history of each squadron.