Home' Air Force News : March 15th 2012 Contents C
h f m ?
Wh o ?
F x d v b ?
R d w v off ?
wh do I u ?
Wh m I d o?
17,000 Gov G ?
Wh hou d
N v G ?
Po v C hflow?
March 15, 2012
32SQN was hastily formed as a bomber and recon-
naissance squadron in Port Moresby on February
21, 1942, in the face of the advancing Japanese
Its personnel were drawn from other units
operating in the area and it was equipped with
It went into action on the day it was formed,
searching for a Japanese submarine.
The squadron was soon in action in a wide
variety of roles ranging from reconnaissance and
supply drops to anti-submarine and anti-shipping
patrols and conventional bombing raids on ships,
airfields, flying boat bases and other targets.
In September 1942, 32SQN was withdrawn
to Sydney and re-equipped with Beauforts the
following year. 32SQN spent the remainder of the
war conducting anti-submarine patrols along the
east coast from RAAF Base Richmond and then
Camden until its disbandment in November 1945.
On July 1, 1989, 32SQN reformed at RAAF Base
East Sale as a training and transport squadron. It
flew the Hawker Siddley HS-748 aircraft and sup-
ported the then School of Air Navigation (now the
School of Air Warfare).
In 1997, some Beechcraft B200 Super King
Airs joined the squadron and the iconic "Draggie"
748s were retired in 2004.
The squadron further upgraded in 2003 when
the first of eight Beechcraft King Air 350s arrived.
FLTLT Kirsten Gunn
IT MAY have rained on its parade, but
in keeping with the squadron's motto
of 'Adaptable', 32SQN switched to a
wet weather plan and commemorated
its 70th anniversary in high spirits at
RAAF Base East Sale on March 2.
The day opened with a commem-
orative ceremony, which was held
in the base chapel to reflect on the
sacrifices made by 81 of 32SQN's
first members in New Guinea during
The roll of honour took pride
of place in the chapel, with DCAF
AVM Gavin Davies, Commander Air
Force Training Group AIRCDRE John
Hewitson and FLGOFF Grant Targett
-- as the youngest squadron member --
all laying wreaths.
AVM Davies paid tribute to
32SQN's participation in the Battle
of the Coral Sea and the Battle for
Milne Bay, as well as its current role
in training air combat officers.
"A common thread has endured:
success, brought about by a highly
professional squadron, capable of
adapting and remaining committed to
the provision of the best level of sup-
port possible," AVM Davies said.
The commemoration continued in
the evening with a 1940s-style cock-
The walls of one hangar were
adorned with photographs of the
CPL Nick Wiseman and
THREE 79SQN Hawks from RAAF
Base Pearce provided a fitting trib-
ute when they overflew the memo-
rial service for the 70th anniversary
of the first air raids on Broome on
In February 1942 Broome was
the epicentre of evacuees escaping
from the Japanese invasion of the
Netherlands East Indies.
They arrived in both military and
civilian aircraft, including military
and Qantas flying boats, and by
March the town was overflowing
with both military personnel and
On the morning of March 3,
1942, nine Japanese Zero fighters
and a Mitsubishi reconnaissance air-
craft attacked the town, the RAAF
base and the flying boats moored in
Roebuck Bay without warning.
In what was to become
Australia's second-worse air raid, at
least 88 people were killed and 25
aircraft were destroyed, including
16 flying boats.
Many of the victims were Dutch
women and children, packed into
the flying boats, either waiting to be
transferred ashore or flown further
Many of these drowned while
trying to swim ashore or were
burned to death by burning fuel
32SQN's historic wartime service. A
modern King Air 350 parked in the
hangar provided a stark contrast to the
faded sepia images of the Hudsons
and Beauforts projected onto the wall
During the party, AVM Davies
presented a framed painting of the
Unit Colours that Queen Elizabeth
approved late last year.
CO 32SQN WGCDR Peter
Donaldson wrapped up the for-
malities with a story only recently
uncovered of a young WWII pilot and
crew who died after taking on eight
Japanese Zero fighters. He remind-
ed the attendees that 32SQN started
flying operations on the day it was
"I can still see that level of dedica-
tion at the squadron today," WGCDR
Donaldson said. "We fly over 5000
hours a year and provide an incred-
ible level of support to the School of
Aviation Warfare while still conduct-
ing air lift support and pilot develop-
"While the roles and aircraft have
changed, we have adapted and will
always get the job done."
THEN AND NOW:
A line of Lockheed
1942; inset, one
of the squadron's
first King Airs to
arrive at RAAF
Base East Sale in
32SQN'S LONG ROAD
REMEMBERING THE PAST: Among those at the memorial service at the RAAF Base East Sale
Chapel were, from left, CO 32SQN WGCDR Peter Donaldson, Commander AFTG AIRCDRE
John Hewitson and DCAF AVM Gavin Davies.
Photo: WOFF Ray Bennell
Broome's crisis recalled
and many were never recovered.
Consequently, the final death tally
may never be known.
In addition, a B-24 with more
than 30 wounded personnel on
board was shot down off the coast
with the loss of all but one and
further north a Dutch DC-3 full of
evacuees was shot down with the
loss of four lives.
In reply, two Zeros were shot
down by ground fire.
The 70th anniversary service
took place in Bedford Park, over-
looking Roebuck Bay with the
wreckage of Catalina flying boats
destroyed during the attacks still
remaining on the sea bed.
The Hawks flew a box forma-
tion about 500 feet over the town
On the last pass, they performed
the missing man manoeuvre, with
one jet climbing vertically from the
Also involved were a Qantas 717
and several general aviation aircraft.
West Australian Premier Colin
Barnett, former CDF ACM Angus
Houston (ret'd) and GPCAPT
David Thiele, representing CAF,
were among the guests.
GPCAPT Thiele said it was
important to recognise and remem-
ber what happened.
"The Broome air raids rep-
resented the coming of war to the
Australian shore," GPCAPT Thiele
said.Commander Air Combat Group
AIRCDRE Tony Grady said the
group was honoured to support
Broome residents and help the town
to commemorate the fateful events
that occurred 70 years ago.
was one of the
to pay their
Links Archive March 1st 2012 March 29th 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page