No. 462 Squadron
|No. 462 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force was formed at Fayid, Egypt, on 6 September 1942 in accordance with Article XV of the Empire Air Training Scheme. The nucleus for the new squadron, however, was provided by several Royal Air Force (RAF) squadrons then based in Egypt and for much of its operational career the majority of the squadron's personnel were British. |
The squadron joined the RAF's Middle East Command and, operating Halifax heavy bombers, conducted operations throughout that theatre. In January 1943 the squadron relocated to Solluch in Libya and its main role became attacks on harbours and shipping in Sicily. It moved again in February to Gardabia in Tunisia to operate in support of the ground campaign there, returning to Libya when these operations drew to a close in late May. Operating from a succession of airfields in Libya - Hose Raui (22 May - 1 October 1943), Terria (1 October 1943 - 1 January 1944), and El Adem (1 January 1944 - 1 March 1944) - the squadron resumed operations over southern Europe, striking at targets in Italy, Sicily, Greece, Crete and the Dodecanese Islands. On 1 February 1944 the squadron departed Libya for Celone in Italy and once there reformed as 614 Squadron RAF. Australian personnel were transferred to RAAF Squadrons in Britain, and 462 Squadron ceased to exist on 1 March 1944.
The squadron had been disbanded at the request of RAAF Overseas Headquarters, due to a continuing reluctance on behalf of the RAF's higher command to post Australian personnel into what was notionally an Australian squadron. This policy had resulted in significant friction within the squadron because its commanders had to scour Mediterranean Air Command for spare Australian personnel, often unqualified on Halifaxes, to raise Australian numbers. Many of its British personnel resented both the inexperience of these personnel and that their own efforts being recognised as those of the RAAF and not the RAF.
462 Squadron was reformed at Driffield in the United Kingdom on 14 August 1944, a large nucleus of personnel being drawn from 466 Squadron RAAF. Again equipped with Halifaxes, the squadron joined 4 Group, Bomber Command and for the next five months was involved in the bombing of various targets in France and Germany. The squadron relocated to Foulsham on 29 December 1944 and joined 100 Group, a specialist formation tasked with disrupting the German air defence system through the employment of diversionary raids and various radio countermeasures. The squadron's operations played a critical role in drawing German attention away from real raids. It continued in this role until its last operation was flown on the night of 2 - 3 May 1945. After the end of the war in Europe, 462 Squadron continued training and was also employed in a transport role, which included the repatriation of Allied prisoners from Europe. It disbanded for the second and last time on 24 September 1945.
|References||AWM 64, RAAF formation and unit records ^*ORMF 0118, Roll 91 ^*1/335 Sep 43 - Feb 44 ^*1/336 Sep 44 - Sep 45 ^*1/337 May - Aug 43 ^*1/338 Aug 44 - Sep 45; Units of the Royal Australian Air Force: a concise history. Volume 3, bomber units, (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995).|
|Related conflicts||Second World War, 1939-1945|
|Decorations||Australian personnel only: 1 DSO; 18 DFC; 1 CGM; 4 DFM|
|Equipment||Handley Page Halifax|