6 Squadron RAAF

On 1 January 1939 4 Squadron (General Reconnaissance) was renumbered 6 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps. Early in the war the unit commenced reconnaissance and bombing exercises with the navy and flew escort to naval convoys carrying AIF troops to the Middle East. Shortly after the opening of the Pacific War, seaward patrols were conducted around Sydney Harbour.

In August 1942 the squadron was deployed to Horn Island in Queensland and detached a flight to Milne Bay to perform reconnaissance duties. Later that month a Hudson unit participated in a combined attack on a Japanese invasion convoy off Milne Bay and also bombed positions on the nearby coast. During October the squadron completed its move to Wards Strip near Port Moresby and continued to carry out seaward reconnaissance, anti-submarine patrols, and other tasks over enemy-held areas.

During the campaign on the northern coast of New Guinea, 6 Squadron dropped supplies to Australian troops at Buna, Ioma, Kakoda, and Baibara Island. Medical evacuation sorties were also flown from the Wanigela Mission to Port Moresby. As the raids on Buna, Gona, and Sanananda intensified in December the unit commenced night bombing raids against enemy positions and also made attacks on Japanese naval vessels off the Buna coast.

A Japanese bombing raid on Turnbull airfield in January 1943 (where 6 Squadron had relocated a month earlier) caused damage to many of the squadron’s Hudsons. Between March and August 1943 the squadron attacked Japanese lifeboats from ships sunk at the Battle of the Bismark Sea, conducted reconnaissance flights over the Solomon Sea, escorted Allied convoys, photographed radio-radar stations, and conducted anti-submarine activities. From September 1943 the squadron began operating with Beaufort bomber aircraft. Actions in the latter part of the year included an attack on an enemy convoy in St George’s Channel on 11 October, a combined night attack on an enemy convoy on 20 October, and numerous bombing raids on Rabaul.

In November the squadron moved to Vivigani on Goodenough Island, to continue bombing raids on Japanese camps. Supply dumps in New Britain continued until early April, when the units again focused on seaward surveillance and anti-submarine patrols. Squadron’s operations then returned to Rabaul area in late-October when a series of combined raids attacked shipping, airfields, and enemy installations. Supplies were also dropped to army patrols fighting to isolate Japanese forces in Rabaul.

In late-December 1944 and early 1945 the squadron moved to Dobodura airfield. It continued to attack targets across New Britain, flying close-support missions for the army over the Gazelle Peninsula and supporting the Allied capture of Wewak in May. After end of the war 6 Squadron dropped surrender leaflets over Japanese controlled territory and provided shipping escorts, before being withdrawn to Australia and disbanded on 31 October 1945.

Squadron Motto

  • We shall return

Squadron Code

  • FX,       F

Glossary

Battle Honours

Casualties

  • 35 died

For more information please see the Roll of Honour and Second World War Nominal Roll (external website) databases.

Decorations

  • 1 OBE
  • 14 DFC
  • 2 DFM
  • 5 MID

For more information please see Honours and Awards database

Collection Items

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