No. 24 Squadron RAAF
|No. 24 Squadron RAAF|
|Role||Military Airbase Combat Support|
|Part of||Combat Support Group RAAF|
|Garrison/HQ||RAAF Base Edinburgh|
|Motto||"Sic Aggredere ut Defendas"|
|John Lerew (1941–42)|
No. 24 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force squadron. The Squadron was formed in 1940 and saw action as a bomber squadron during World War II. From the end of the war to 2010 the Squadron was an RAAF Reserve squadron located near Adelaide, South Australia. In 2010 the Squadron combined with Combat Support Unit Edinburgh to once again become a PAF unit.
World War II
No. 24 Squadron was formed at RAAF Base Amberley on 17 June 1940. The Squadron moved to Townsville in October where it undertook patrol and training flights operating a mix of Wirraway, Moth Minor and Hudson aircraft.
No. 24 Squadron moved to Rabaul in December 1941 shortly before the outbreak of war in the Pacific. Following the outbreak of war Rabaul came under Japanese attack on a number of occasions, but flying operations continued until 20 February 1942 when over 100 Japanese aircraft attacked Rabaul, destroying five of No. 24 Squadron's eight Wirraways (all of which had taken off to intercept the raiding force). With the Squadron reduced to just three aircraft orders to attack the approaching Japanese invasion force were cancelled and the Squadron was withdrawn to Townsville. The Australian Army garrison at Rabaul was later defeated in the Battle of Rabaul.
No. 24 Squadron moved to Bankstown, New South Wales in July 1942 where it performed training, anti-submarine and air defence patrols using a diverse assortment of aircraft. The squadron continued in this role until May 1943 when it began converting to a dive bomber squadron equipped with Vultee Vengeance aircraft.
After completing its training on the Vengeance No. 24 Squadron deployed to New Guinea in August 1943 where it provided support to Australian Army and United States Marine Corps units in New Guinea and New Britain. The Squadron continued in this role until March 1944, making it the last RAAF Squadron to use the Vengeance in action.
No. 24 Squadron was withdrawn to Australia in March 1944 to begin preparations to convert to the heavy bomber role equipped with Consolidated B-24 Liberator aircraft. The Squadron flew its first combat sorties with these new aircraft in September 1944. Operating from bases in the Northern Territory the Squadron continued to fly bombing and anti-shipping strikes against Japanese forces in the Netherlands East Indies until the end of the war. Following the Japanese surrender No. 24 Squadron was used to ferry Australian prisoners of war home before being disbanded at RAAF Station Tocumwal on 15 May 1946.
No. 24 Squadron was re-formed as a Citizens Air Force (reserve) fighter squadron in 1951. The Squadron operated P-51 Mustang fighters and training aircraft until 1 March 1960 when it ceased operations as a flying squadron. Since this date No. 24 Squadron has been a non-flying RAAF Reserve squadron based at RAAF Base Edinburgh near Adelaide. On 28 May 1979, the squadron received the Freedom of Entry to the City of Adelaide. The Freedom Scroll was presented at a ceremonial parade by the Lord Mayor, The Right Honourable Mr George Joseph.
- CAC Wirraway (June 1940 – May 1943, April 1951 – June 1960?)
- de Havilland Moth Minor (June 1940 – December 1941?)
- Lockheed Hudson (June 1940 – February 1942)
- Junkers W34F(?) (February 1942)
- Ford Trimotor (February 1942)
- Bell Airacobra (July 1942 – May 1943)
- Fairey Battle (July 1942?-May 1943)
- Brewster Buffalo (May–August 1943)
- Vultee Vengeance (May 1943 – March 1944)
- Consolidated B-24 Liberator (June 1944 – May 1946)
- North American P-51 Mustang (April 1951 – June 1960)
- de Havilland Tiger Moth (1951?-?)
- CAC Winjeel (January 1959 – June 1960)
- RAAF Museum 24 Squadron
- Steve Eather (1995) Flying Squadrons of the Australian Defence Force. Aerospace Publications.
- RAAF Historical Section (1995), Units of the Royal Australian Air Force. A Concise History. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
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