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March 3, 2011
FLTLT Skye Smith
NUMBER 44 Wing celebrated the
reformation of wartime units 452 and
453SQNs with a parade at RAAF Base
Williamtown on February 16.
The new squadrons, which will
be responsible for air traffic control
services at bases from Darwin to
Edinburgh, stood up on December 1.
OC 44WG GPCAPT Forster
Breckenridge said the parade was the
culmination of a lot of hard work by
many people involved in the reforma-
tion of the squadrons.
He said the squadrons were a vital
component of the national air traffic
"They will provide airspace man-
agement and air base air traffic con-
trol for both civil and military aircraft
operating in and around ADF airbas-
es, including Darwin and Townsville
airports," he said.
"We also look forward to the
enhancement of career opportunities
across a number of categories and
musterings through the establishment
of a new commanding officer, sen-
ior engineering officer, administrative
officer and technical and administra-
tive positions in the new headquar-
The restructure will improve the
efficiency of 44WG.
452 and 453SQNs will separate
NUMBER 452 Squadron first formed at
Kirkton in England on April 8, 1941, the
first RAAF squadron stood up in Britain
under the Empire Air Training Scheme.
It was equipped with Spitfires and
established itself as one of Fighter
Command's leading squadrons.
The squadron reformed at Richmond
on September 6, 1942, and became opera-
tional again on January 17, 1943.
Initially based at Batchelor in the
defence of Darwin, in July 1944 it deployed
forward in ground attack and other combat
roles in the Dutch East Indies and to sup-
port operations in Borneo.
It disbanded on November 17, 1945.
Number 453 Squadron formed in NSW
in May 1941 and three months later sailed
for Singapore. It was equipped with the
Following Japan's surprise attack on
Malaya on December 7, the squadron
deployed forward to Ipoh in Malaya to
support retreating Allied troops.
It destroyed several Japanese aircraft.
However, with no warning systems and
vastly overwhelmed, it suffered severe
In February, 1942, 453SQN returned to
Australia and disbanded.
Then, in June 1942, the squadron
reformed in Britain, flying Spitfires.
In 1944, it was given a vital task of defen-
sive sweeps around the southern British
coast to prevent Luftwaffe aircraft from
detecting the build-up of shipping before the
June 6 D-Day landings.
It returned to Britain in September for
another vital task; finding and destroying
the well-defended V-1 and V-2 missile
launch sites, and then until the end of
the war was reassigned to sweeps and
After Germany's surrender it was
selected as part of the Allied occu-
pation forces and became the first
Commonwealth squadron based in Berlin.
453SQN disbanded in early 1946.
Distinguished history to build on
the tactical command and control of
the subordinate flights at each base,
allowing HQ 44WG to focus on oper-
ational matters and the overall man-
agement of the Battlefield Airspace
452SQN is headquartered at
RAAF Base Darwin with flights at
Darwin, Tindal, Townsville, Amberley
and Oakey. 453SQN is headquartered
at RAAF Base Williamtown, with
flights at Williamtown, Richmond,
Nowra, East Sale, Edinburgh and
In November 2000, 44WG was
reformed as a dedicated Air Traffic
It is responsible for delivering aer-
odrome and radar control services to
Navy, Army and Air Force and also for
providing tactical control of forward
airfields, battlefield aviation and other
airspace activity, both within Australia
and on operational deployments.
NEW ERA BEGINS: ACAUST AVM Mark Skidmore talks at the
reformation parade for 452 and 453SQNs, watched by OC 44WG
GPCAPT Forster Breckenridge.
Photo: LACW Amy Trebilco
WWII FLASHBACKS: Above,
452SQN RAAF Spitfire FU_Z
on the English coast; right,
453SQN pilots in front of a
Spitfire Mk IX.
Photos courtesy RAAF Museum
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