No. 462 Squadron RAAF

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No. 462 Squadron RAAF
462 Sqn (AWM P01523033).jpg
A No. 462 Squadron Halifax in 1944, the yellow tail stripes identifying it as part of No. 4 Group RAF.
Active 1942–1944
1944–1945
2005–current
Country Australia Australia
Branch Ensign of the Royal Australian Air Force.svg Royal Australian Air Force
Role Heavy bomber (1942–1944)
Electronic warfare (1944–1945)
Information operations (2005–current)
Part of Information Warfare Wing RAAF
Current location RAAF Base Edinburgh
Battle honours


  • Fortress Europe, 1940–1944
  • France and Germany, 1944–1945
  • Ruhr, 1940–1945
  • Berlin, 1940–1945
  • German Ports, 1940–1945
  • South-East Europe, 1942–1945
  • Egypt and Libya, 1940–1943
  • North Africa, 1942–1943
  • Mediterranean, 1940–1943
  • Sicily, 1943
  • Italy, 1943–1945
  • El Alamein
  • El Hamma[1]
Insignia
Squadron Codes Z5 (Aug 44 – Sep 45)[2][3]
Tail markings Three vertical yellow stripes
Aircraft flown
Bomber Handley Page Halifax

No. 462 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadron which forms part of the Information Warfare Wing in the RAAF's Aerospace Operational Support Group. The squadron was first formed in 1942 as a heavy bomber unit and saw combat in this role in the Mediterranean area until it was disbanded in March 1944. It was reformed in the United Kingdom in August 1944 to participate in the bombing campaign against Germany, and in December that year converted to a specialist electronic warfare unit. No. 462 Squadron continued in this role until the end of the European war in May 1945 and was disbanded in September that year. The squadron was reformed in its current role during April 2005.

Squadron history[edit]

1942–44[edit]

No. 462 Squadron was formed on 6 September 1942 at RAF Fayid, Egypt as an RAAF Article XV squadron.[4] However, the original air and ground staff, were transferred from three British Royal Air Force (RAF) units: 10, 76 and 227 Squadrons. Because of this, almost all of it personnel were non-Australian and it initially had only a single Australian airman and no Australian ground crew.[5][6]

The squadron was equipped with Handley Page Halifax B. Mk. II heavy bombers and flew its first operation on the night of 8–9 September 1942 against ground targets at Tobruk. No. 462 Squadron was the only Halifax-equipped squadron in North Africa during 1942 and suffered from shortages of aircrew as a result. This problem became so severe in December that the squadron became non-operational until January 1943.[7]

A No. 462 Squadron bomber crew in September 1942. Only the man third from the right is Australian and the others are from Britain, Newfoundland and New Zealand

RAAF Overseas Headquarters attempted to have more Australians posted to the squadron during late 1942, without much success. Furthermore, most of the Australian ground staff assigned to the squadron in 1942 had no experience with Halifaxes, which caused aircraft availability to decrease for a period. British personnel were also reportedly unhappy about serving in an "Australian" unit and this contributed to tensions amongst squadron personnel.[7] In January 1943, the Australian Air Board agreed to a proposal by Air Marshal Richard Williams, the Commanding Officer of the RAAF Overseas Headquarters, to concentrate eight RAAF bomber squadrons into a single group in RAF Bomber Command in the UK; this would have included re-numbering the squadron, in order to formally designate it a RAF unit, and forming a new No. 462 Squadron RAAF (with different personnel) at a base in the UK. However, British authorities were slow to accept this request, and the unit retained its original designation throughout 1943.[8]

During 1943, No. 462 Squadron remained in North Africa and conducted raids against Axis targets throughout the Mediterranean area. In the early months of 1943 it primarily attacked harbours and shipping in Sicily. These raids were initially made from Cyrenaica until the squadron moved to Gardabia Main in Tunisia on 14 February. From this base it participated in the Tunisia Campaign until it concluded in May.[9] More Australian personnel were posted into the squadron in early 1943, but by March only 120 of its 660 personnel were Australian. By August almost all aircraft maintenance was being conducted by Australian ground crew and the relationship between the Australian and British members of the squadron had improved. Following the end of the Tunisian Campaign the squadron moved to Hosc Raui in Libya from where it attacked targets in Sicily and southern Italy.[10] On 1 October the squadron moved again to Terria in Libya and conducted raids against German targets in Greece, Crete, Rhodes and other islands in the Dodecanese. In December 1943 its operations included conducting attacks on Greek ports to divert attention away from aircraft laying naval mines nearby.[citation needed]

By late 1943 – despite the efforts of the RAAF to "Australianise" the squadron – it still contained mostly British personnel. RAAF Overseas Headquarters again requested that No. 462 Squadron be officially re-numbered and officially cease to be an RAAF unit; the RAF agreed to this request in December 1943,[7][11] although it was not put into effect for more than two months. The squadron moved to RAF El Adem, Libya, on 1 January 1944 and continued operations over Greece, mainly attacks on ports and dropping propaganda leaflets.[12]

On 1 March 1944, after No. 462 Squadron relocated to Celone Airfield in Italy, it was re-designated No. 614 Squadron RAF.[12] The squadron's Australian personnel were gradually posted to other units, although it was not until mid-1944 that Australian ground crew left and the Australian aircrew in the unit had dropped to a proportion similar to that of other squadrons in No. 205 Group RAF.[11]

1944–45[edit]

Australian ground crew working on one of No. 462 Squadron's Halifax bombers in December 1944

No. 462 Squadron was reformed at RAF Driffield, Yorkshire in Britain on 12 August 1944 as an Australian heavy bomber squadron within RAF Bomber Command, now equipped with Halifax B.Mk.III bombers.[12] In its new incarnation the squadron had an Australian commanding officer and a higher proportion of its personnel were Australians.[7] Many of its initial personnel were transferred from No. 466 Squadron RAAF, then also at Driffield.[12] No. 462 Squadron flew its first operational mission on 25 August and subsequently took part in attacks against 39 different targets over the next four months in support of Allied ground forces in Western Europe and as part of Bomber Command's campaign against Germany.[7][13]

On 27 December 1944 No. 462 Squadron was relocated to RAF Foulsham and became part of No. 100 Group RAF. This group specialised in electronic warfare and No. 462 Squadron's aircraft were modified to radar jamming equipment and other countermeasures.[14][15] Until the end of the war the squadron used its special equipment and mounted small diversionary attacks to deceive the Germans as to the location of the raids conducted by Bomber Command. While the squadron maintained a high rate of operations at times, its losses were relatively light as the countermeasures carried by the aircraft also protected them from attack.[15] No. 462 Squadron continued to operate until almost the end of the war in Europe, and was the only Australian squadron in Bomber Command to either fly a higher number of sorties in April 1945 than March or operate in May.[16] The squadron flew its final operation of the war on the night of 2/3 May.[15]

Following the end of the European war, the RAF sought to retain No. 462 Squadron for a period so that it could be used to test radio countermeasure equipment and techniques.[17] As a result, the squadron continued to fly training and ferry flights and also conducted armed patrols over Germany. These duties continued until the squadron was disbanded at Foulsham on 24 September 1945.[15]

Since 2005[edit]

No. 462 Squadron was reformed in April 2005 as a non-flying squadron within the Information Warfare Wing of the RAAF's Aerospace Operational Support Group. The squadron's role is to "protect the Air Force's capability through the conduct of information operations".[18] The squadron is based in Canberra but is scheduled to move to RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia in 2012.[19]

Aircraft operated[edit]

Aircraft operated by no. 462 Squadron RAAF, data from[20][21][22]
From To Aircraft Version
September 1942 March 1944 Handley Page Halifax Mk.II
August 1944 September 1945 Handley Page Halifax Mk.III

Squadron bases[edit]

Bases and airfields use by no 462 Squadron RAAF, data from[20][21][22]
From To Base
7 September 1942 13 November 1942 RAF Fayid, Egypt
13 November 1942 29 November 1942 LG.237 Kilo 40/Jebel Hamzi, Egypt
29 November 1942 14 December 1942 LG.167/Bir el Baheira, Libya
14 December 1942 18 January 1943 LG.237 Kilo 40/Jebel Hamzi, Egypt
18 January 1943 24 January 1943 LG.167/Bir el Baheira, Libya
24 January 1943 14 February 1943 Soluch I, Libya
14 February 1943 22 May 1943 Gardabia Main, Libya
22 May 1943 1 October 1943 Hosc Raui, Libya
1 October 1943 1 January 1944 Terria, Libya
1 January 1944 1 March 1944 LG.144/El Adem, Libya
1 March 1944 3 March 1944 Celone airfield, Italy
12 August 1944 29 December 1944 RAF Driffield, Yorkshire
29 December 1944 24 September 1945 RAF Foulsham, Norfolk
11 April 2005 Present Canberra, Australia

Commanding officers[edit]

Officers commanding no. 462 Squadron RAAF in the Mediterranean, data from[1]
From To Name
7 September 1942 8 October 1942 Wing Commander David Oswald Young, DSO, DFC, AFC, RAF
9 October 1942 13 January 1943 Wing Commander George Philip Seymour-Price, DFC, RAF
14 January 1943 14 July 1943 (killed in action) Wing Commander Peter George Batty Warner, DSO, RAFVR
17 July 1943 19 August 1943 Squadron Leader Reginald Owen Buskell, DFC, RAF (temporarily commanding)
29 August 1943 15 February 1944 Wing Commander William Taylor Russell, RAF

Squadron disbanded 3 March 1944 at Celone airfield, Italy.
Squadron reformed 12 August 1944 at RAF Driffield, UK

Officers commanding no. 462 Squadron RAAF in the European theatre of operations, data from[1]
From To Name
12 August 1944 17 January 1945 Wing Commander David Eliot Strachan Shannon, DFC, MID, RAAF
17 January 1945 24 September 1945 Wing Commander Peter McCallum Paull, DFC(US), RAAF

Squadron disbanded 24 September 1945 at RAF Foulsham, UK.
Squadron reformed 11 April 2005 in Canberra, Australia

Officers commanding no. 462 Squadron RAAF in its present incarnation
From To Name
11 April 2005 21 January 2007 Wing Commander Brett 'Frosty' Newell, RAAF
21 January 2007 January 2009 Wing Commander Nicholas Allan Cram, RAAF
21 January 2009 Present Wing Commander Darren Reyce May, RAAF

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "462 Squadron RAAF". Second World War, 1939–1945 units. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 122.
  3. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 123.
  4. ^ RAAF Historical Section 1995, p. 124.
  5. ^ Herington 1954, pp. 305, 360.
  6. ^ Stephens 2006, p. 99.
  7. ^ a b c d e Eather 1995, p. 121.
  8. ^ Herington 1954, pp. 454–455.
  9. ^ RAAF Historical Section 1995, p. 125.
  10. ^ RAAF Historical Section 1995, p. 126.
  11. ^ a b Herington 1963, p. 82.
  12. ^ a b c d RAAF Historical Section 1995, p. 127.
  13. ^ RAAF Historical Section 1995, p. 128.
  14. ^ Herington 1963, p. 405.
  15. ^ a b c d Eather 1995, p. 122.
  16. ^ Herington 1963, p. 446.
  17. ^ Herington 1963, p. 447.
  18. ^ "462SQN is born again". Air Force. 8 February 2007. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  19. ^ Defence Support Group (2009). "RAAF Base Edinburgh Redevelopment Stage 2. Statement of Evidence to the Standing Committee on Public Works". Parliament of Australia. p. 1. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  20. ^ a b Moyes 1976, p. 256.
  21. ^ a b Halley 1988, p. 482.
  22. ^ a b Jefford 2001, p. 95.

References[edit]

External links[edit]