No. 488 Squadron RNZAF
|No. 488 (NZ) Squadron RAF|
|Active||1 September 1941 – 26 April 1945|
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Motto(s)||Māori: Ka ngarue ratau|
(Translation: "We shake them")
|Anniversaries||1 September 1941|
|Squadron Badge||In front of a taiaha and tewhatewha in saltire, a morepork|
|Squadron Codes||NF (Oct 1941 – Jan 1942)|
ME (Jun 1942 – Apr 1945)
de Havilland Mosquito
488 Squadron was the name given to two distinct Royal New Zealand Air Force squadrons during the Second World War. Both were formed under Article XV of the Empire Air Training Scheme and served under the operational command of the Royal Air Force.
Day fighter unit
488 (NZ) Squadron was formed on 1 September 1941 at Rongotai, New Zealand under Squadron Leader Wilfred Clouston, a veteran of the Battle of France and Battle of Britain with nine victories to his credit. The squadron was one of several Commonwealth squadrons equipped with Brewster Buffaloes, and arrived at Kallang Airfield Singapore in November 1941, where it took over the Brewsters of No. 67 Squadron RAF. Kallang was shared with a Brewster detachment of the 2-VLG-V of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Air Force, and No. 243 Squadron RAF, in which most of the aircrew were Kiwis.
When the Japanese attacked, the squadron was still in training and sorting out difficulties with its machines, including dysfunctional oxygen which prevented high altitude flying, weight difficulties which resulted in armour and machine guns being deleted and high maintenance requirements resulting from Brewster's use of worn out ex-airline engines in manufacturing the aircraft (which had been supplied to No. 67 Squadron in March). There were also problems getting spares and with the peacetime red tape and restricted flying hours laid down by the British High Command in Singapore.
Frequent air battles over Singapore occurred from 12 January 1942, the Japanese pilots being better trained and outnumbering the defenders, but (despite widespread claims of Mitsubishi Zeros being present), with the exception of a few Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa "Oscars" most Japanese fighters and many bombers were in no better condition than those of the Royal Air Force's. As the Buffalo squadrons (many manned by New Zealanders and Australians) lost men and machines, several were amalgamated into 488 Squadron. Clouston had presented a plan "Get Mobile" to provide daylight air cover off the coast to Admiral Phillip's Force Z, but this was rejected by the Navy.
The squadron received nine Hawker Hurricanes at the end of January to partially replace the Buffaloes, but by 31 January, losses and the ground situation forced a withdrawal to Palembang, Sumatra and a few days later to Tjililitan airfield, near Batavia, Java, where Dutch East Indies Buffalo squadrons were facing a similarly unequal fight. Clouston handed over command to Squadron Leader MacKenzie and stayed with remaining staff to become a prisoner when Singapore fell.
On 23 February, the squadron evacuated Tjililitan, to Fremantle in Australia where it disbanded on 2 March, the New Zealand pilots returning home to form the nucleus of No. 14 Squadron RNZAF. Figures for the squadron's achievements in the Far East are difficult to determine, but one notable pilot, Pilot Officer Noel Sharp, who flew a Brewster Buffalo in Singapore, is credited with three victories.
Night fighter unit
When it switched to a defensive role in August 1943 it re-equipped with de Havilland Mosquitoes. In November 1944 the squadron moved to France, and was based in Belgium and Holland in the closing stages of the war. It disbanded on 26 April 1945.
Possibly the top scoring 488 Squadron Mosquito of the war was NF.Mk.XII MM466, ME-R, which shot down seven enemy aircraft between July 1944 and November 1944, after which the aircraft was passed on to 409 Sqn., with which it shot down another four. In its night fighter incarnation, 488 Squadron flew 2899 sorties, shot down 67 aircraft and, in its intruder role, destroyed 40 trains. Pilots were awarded 5 DFCs, a DSO and an AFC.
488 Squadron was unique in that it was the only "Article XV" New Zealand unit to have two distinct and separate roles, in different theatres, during World War Two.
In December 2010, the new headquarters formed to command the RNZAF units stationed at RNZAF Base Ohakea was named No. 488 Wing RNZAF in honour of No. 488 Squadron. This unit was disbanded in early 2015.
|October 1941||January 1942||Brewster Buffalo||Mk.I|
|January 1942||February 1942||Hawker Hurricane||Mk.IIb|
|June 1942||March 1943||Bristol Beaufighter||Mk.IIf|
|March 1943||September 1943||Bristol Beaufighter||Mk.VIf|
|August 1943||May 1944||de Havilland Mosquito||Mk.XII|
|October 1943||September 1944||de Havilland Mosquito||Mk.XIII|
|September 1944||April 1945||de Havilland Mosquito||Mk.XXX|
|1 September 1941||2 September 1941||Rongotai, New Zealand||Formed here|
|2 September 1941||10 October 1941||en route to Singapore|
|10 October 1941||2 February 1942||RAF Kallang, Singapore||Det. at Kluang, Malaysia|
|2 February 1942||9 February 1942||Palembang, Sumatra, Dutch East Indies|
|9 February 1942||23 February 1942||Tjililitan, Java, Dutch East Indies|
|23 February 1942||1 March 1942||en route to Australia|
|1 March 1942||2 March 1942||Fremantle, Australia||Disbanded here|
|25 June 1942||1 September 1942||RAF Church Fenton, Yorkshire||Reformed here|
|1 September 1942||3 August 1943||RAF Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland||Dets at RAF Drem, East Lothian, Scotland and RAF Coltishall, Norfolk|
|3 August 1943||3 September 1943||RAF Drem, East Lothian, Scotland|
|3 September 1943||3 May 1944||RAF Bradwell Bay, Essex|
|3 May 1944||11 May 1944||RAF Colerne, Wiltshire|
|11 May 1944||28 July 1944||RAF Zeals, Wiltshire|
|28 July 1944||9 October 1944||RAF Colerne, Wiltshire|
|9 October 1944||15 November 1944||RAF Hunsdon, Hertfordshire|
|15 November 1944||5 April 1945||B.48/Amiens-Glisy, France|
|5 April 1945||26 April 1945||B.77/Gilze-Rijen, Netherlands||Disbanded here|
|September 1941||January 1942||S/Ldr. W.G. Clouston|
|January 1942||March 1942||S/Ldr. J.N. McKenzie|
|June 1942||February 1943||W/Cdr. R.M. Trousdale, DFC|
|February 1943||July 1943||W/Cdr. J. Nesbitt-Dufort, DSO|
|July 1943||September 1943||W/Cdr. A.R. Burton-Giles|
|September 1943||January 1944||W/Cdr. P.H. Hamley|
|January 1944||October 1944||W/Cdr. R.C. Haine, DFC|
|October 1944||April 1945||W/Cdr. R.G. Watts|
- New Zealand Article XV squadrons (for an explanation of the official status and naming of these units).
- Rawlings 1978, p. 452.
- Halley 1988, p. 531.
- Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 91.
- Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 76.
- Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 89.
- Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, pp. 71–72.
- Clayton 2008, p. 52.
- A kill ratio of 2:1 was claimed by the Buffalo squadrons
- Clayton 2008, p. 83.
- Sharp & Bowyer 1995, p. 449.
- Blaikie, Bill (December 2010). "New Wing Established at Ohakea" (PDF). Air Force News. p. 26. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
- "Spitfire display marks Air Force changes". Stuff.co.nz. 3 March 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
- Rawlings 1978, pp. 452–453.
- Jefford 2001, p. 95.
- Halley 1988, p. 532.
- Rawlings 1978, p. 453.
- Ross 1955, p. 325.
- Thompson 1956, p. 461.
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- Thompson, H.L. (1953). New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force (Vol I): European Theatre September 1939 – December 1942. Wellington, New Zealand: War History Branch, Department of Internal Affairs.