8 Squadron RAAF

8 Squadron reformed in Canberra at the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 and began conducting patrols and searches, and providing transportation services from January 1940. Once re-equipped with Hudsons, the squadron left Canberra for Singapore, arriving on 9 August 1940, to fly general reconnaissance missions. When Japan invaded Malaya, the squadron began attacking troops and invasion vessels from a new base at Kota Bahru. The rapidity of the Japanese advances forced the unit to withdraw to Singapore, where they continued to attack the invading forces and flew protective cover to Allied convoys.

The heavy losses of crew and aircraft saw 8 Squadron leave for Sumatra on 27 January 1942. Remaining aircraft were handed to 1 Squadron a month later. 8 Squadron went back into action temporarily with a few Hudsons, most of which were lost or damaged in Japanese air attacks. Continued Japanese advances forced the squadron to return to Adelaide, arriving on 15 March 1942. The next 18 months were spent retraining with Beaufort aircraft, with the full squadron operating from Goodenough Island by mid-September 1943. For the next five months the unit attacked Japanese airfields and shipping in New Britain. A combined attack on Rabaul on 4 December saw two crew members killed and another two, including the Commanding Officer Quinn, become prisoners of war.

By 6 May the unit relocated to Nadzab in New Guinea and then to Tadji airfield at Aitape, where they wrought heavy losses on Japanese supply vessels moving between Wewak and Muschu Island. Between September and November 1943 8 Squadron attacked enemy targets around Wewak, in support of the 6th Division and combined raids on Rabaul and Wide Bay areas.

Squadron aircraft also joined the combined bombing of Japanese guns, in the rescue of an American bomber crew forced to land at sea just off the Wewak coast on 11 November 1944. In 1945 the unit bombed in concert with army operations at But, Maprik, Cape Moem, Wewak, and Dove Bay. From 15 August missions were flown dropping leaflets and carrying out transport duties. 8 Squadron was disbanded at Tadji on 19 January 1945.

Squadron Motto

  • Seek to destroy

Squadron Code

  • NN,       UV, H

Glossary

Equipment

Battle Honours

  • nil

Casualties

  • 79 died

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

Commanding Officers

Decorations

  • 1 OBE
  • 12 DFC
  • 1 DFC and bar
  • 2 DFM
  • 7 MID

For more information please see Honours and Awards database

Collection Items

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References

  • Barnes, Norman, The RAAF and the flying squadrons, (St Leonards, N.S.W : Allen & Unwin, 2000)
  • Hall, E R (Bon), Glory in chaos : the RAAF in the Far East in 1940-42, (West Coburg, Vic : Sembawang Association, 1989)