Training of the first course proceeded satisfactorily during the month subject to the limitations imposted by lack of parachutes, armament and navigation instructional equipment.
No. 2 Course (24 pupils) reported on 5.2.40 but was unable to commence flying training owing to shortage of aircraft. In lieu, pupils were given additional ground instruction and flight experience.
Two aircraft were damaged due to faulty landings and one pupil was unable to reach the required standard and his training was discontinued.
The following Officers were promoted as shown below:-
To Temporary Flying Officer with effect from 17th December, 1939.
Pilot Officer H. PLUMRIDGE
Pilot Officer J.W. WARWICK
Pilot Officer C.C. HAYWARD
Pilot Officer D.P. HADOW
Pilot Officer F.C.E. KNIGHT
Pilot Officer W.A.J. BAKER
Pilot Officer W.S. MADDOCKS
Pilot Officer R.E. HODGES
Pilot Officer C. COX
Pilot Officer F.G. HUXLEY
Pilot Officer J.J. THORPE
Pilot Officer L.C. LEONARD
Pilot Officer R.E. MANIFOLD
Pilot Officer H.R. REESTON
An inspection of Aerodromes in Tasmania was carried out by two officers from No. 1 Group Headquarters on 6/2/40 in accordance with Operation Order No. 3 1939/40. The return flight to LAVERTON was made on 8/2/40.
On 15th February, six Anson aircraft departed LAVERTON to carry out an Operation using BAIRNSDALE as an Advanced Landing Ground. Two machines remained at BAIRNSDALE as standby aircraft and the remainder carried out a parallel track search. Owing to poor facilities great difficulty was experienced in carrying out the ground organisation. Two of the chief difficulties were the lack of shelter, the only shelter being that of the Vacuum Oil Coy's petrol and Oil shed, and the lack of water. In addition the telephone and the tone oscillator were situated at a most remote part of the aerodrome. The latter trouble has since been rectified.
All aircraft had returned to BAIRNSDALE by 1930 hrs. Owing to bad weather, the aircraft had to remain at BAIRNSDALE until 17th February. All aircraft had returned to LAVERTON by 1200 hrs on 17th February.
On the 22nd February instructions were received from Central Operations Room for the Squadron to proceed to BAIRNSDALE prior to the carrying out of a parallel track search on the 23rd.
On account of bad weather the time of departure from LAVERTON was delayed until 1600 hrs. The eleven aircraft were in readiness to take off when a signal was received from an officer stationed at BAIRNSDALE reporting severe bush fires threatening the aerodrome. This necessitated cancellation of the flight for the afternoon.
The operation however, was carried out on the 23rd February, the aircraft departing for their datum point from LAVERTON. Seven aircraft took part in a parallel track search, three proceeded to BAIRNSDALE as standing by aircraft for shadowing and relief patrols and one aircraft ferried a portion of the ground party from LAVERTON to BAIRNSDALE.
No enemy were sighted by the patrol aircraft and the HMAS ADELAIDE manoeuvring in the area searched was not reported. This could easily be accounted for by the very poor visibility which existed at the time. The aircraft on the patrol returned to BAIRNSDALE. The Anson on Track No. 6 was in the air for 7 hrs 20 mins. All aircraft had returned to LAVERTON by 1800 hrs 23rd February.
During the month four officers who had just completed an N.R. Course and three Cadets who had just completed an Intermediate Flying Training Course were posted to the Squadron.