Two months after being formed at Darwin on 1 June 1940, 13 Squadron commenced day-night training, shipping security patrols, and weekly patrols of Australia's northern coastline. These activities continued until February 1941. The first detachment to the Pacific theatre, which left on 7 December 1941 for Ambon, suffered badly at the hands of Japanese bombing and strafing raids on the airfields in January 1942.

The unit survived the Japanese raids on Darwin, having moved to an inland airfield just weeks before the 19 February attack. After moving to Hughes airfield, squadron aircraft harassed Japanese positions on Timor and made reconnaissance, photography, and search flights. In September the squadron sunk a Japanese ship in the vicinity. It moved to Canberra on 19 April 1943 to convert to Beaufort and Ventura aircraft. Detachments to Coffs Harbour and Camden undertook coastal and sea patrols.

In mid-1944 the unit relocated to Cooktown in Queensland and then to Gove in the Northern Territory. It commenced anti-submarine operations and escort duties for the remainder of the year. In early 1945 squadron aircraft took part in combined attacks on enemy-held islands, destroying many Japanese vessels around the coast of Sumbawa. June and July were spent relocating to Morotai and then Labuan, where the unit dropped supplies and assisted in the evacuation of Australian prisoners of war. The squadron was disbanded at Labuan on 11 January 1946.
  • Royal Australian Air Force Historical Section, Units of the Royal Australian Air Force : a concise history: volume 3 Bomber units(Canberra : AGPS Press, 1995)
  • Barnes, Norman, The RAAF and the flying squadrons(St Leonards, N.S.W : Allen & Unwin, 2000)
  • Grantham, Sid, The 13 Squadron story(Dee Why, N.S.W. : S.R. Grantham for the 13 Squadron Story Book Fund, 1991.)
Related conflicts Second World War, 1939-1945
Commanding officers
Decorations5 DFC; 2 DFM; MID
Alternative names
  • 13 Sqn
  • 13 Sqn RAAF
  • 13 Squadron RAAF
  • No. 13 Squadron
Unit hierarchy
Squadron codeSF, N
MottoResilient and ready