Air Power Archaeology

The Historical Archaeology of Second World War Air Power in Australia
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The Air Power Archaeology website has been developed by Daniel J. Leahy as part of his PhD project at the University of New England. The project looks at the historical archaeology of Second World War air power sites across Australia. The online database currently includes profiles for...


Website functionality is being made publicly available as the project progresses. It is planned that the website will continue to grow and evolve once the PhD project has been completed.

On This Day

Died 23 September 1943:
No. 218 Squadron, RAF

Laverton, Victoria - 1 September 1939 to 30 September 1939 (NAA: A9186, 1)

On Sunday, 3rd September, England and France declared war on Germany. Australia's declaration of war on the same day found this unit unprepared for the role it would have to fulfil if called upon. This was due to the very recent change in equipment from Hawker Demons to Avro Ansons and to the fact that of the first pilots on strength only three had completed Navigation Reconnaissance Courses.
Mobilization on restricted war basis was proceeded with according to schedule, and by 7/9/39 this mobilization was completed as far as possible.
On 3/9/39 when war was declared the personnel strength of the unit was 9 Officers and 118 Airmen.
Postings both to and from the unit, of permanent, Citizen Force and Reserve personnel have, at the end of the month altered the strength to 16 officers and 137 airmen.
During the month a number of patrols was carried out by the Squadron.
A patrol of three aircraft left LAVERTON at dawn on Monday, 4/9/39, but bad weather and poor visibility caused them to return. The patrol went out again later in the day and carried out a diverging search from Cape Otway.
On Tuesday, 5/9/39, a similar patrol was attempted by three aircraft, but two were forced by bad weather conditions to return to LAVERTON within one hour of taking off.
On 18/9/39, three aircraft, working under unit arrangements, carried out practice searches between the mainland and King Island.
On 22/9/39, a parallel track search of a practice nature, again under unit arrangements, was carried out by three aircraft. The area covered extended from the coast to a line approximately 50 miles out to sea and bounded East and West by lines due South of Pt. Lonsdale and Cape Nelson. Two of the aircraft engaged returned direct to LAVERTON whilst the other returned after refuelling at Mt. GAMBIER.
A ground party of 7 airmen left LAVERTON by road for Mt. GAMBIER early on 30/9/39 to establish a base at that point from which No. 1 Squadron aircraft could operate during the combined exercise which was scheduled to take place on 1/10/39. Six Squadron aircraft proceeded to Mt. GAMBIER late in the day, and together with the ground party stayed overnight at that place.
Navigation Reconnaissance and Air Gunners' Courses for Squadron personnel were commenced and continued during the month. All officers attended the abridged Navigation Reconnaissance Course whilst 7 airmen underwent the Air Gunners' Course. In addition, lectures in Communications and Ship Recognition, and A.M.L. and Link Trainer practices occupied flying personnel whilst not otherwise employed.
During the earlier part of the month the weather was particularly boisterous. During a storm on 8/9/39 the wind reached a velocity of 70 m.p.h., whilst on several other occasions it was necessary to manhandle aircraft to prevent damage. By 11/9/39 the weather had changed to cold, and light snow was visible on the surrounding hills. During the remainder of the month, however, the weather improved considerably.
On 24/9/39 a Squadron Anson manned by unit personnel conveyed G/C A.T. COLE and W/C F.M. BLADIN to CURRIE and Mt. GAMBIER to carry out an inspection of aerodromes, and returned the same day.
The strength of the Squadron in aircraft at the end of the month is - 11 Avro Ansons.

Richmond, New South Wales - 23 September 1939 (NAA: A9186, 8)

Week-end leave.

Richmond, New South Wales - 23 September 1942 (NAA: A9186, 137)

"B" Flight moved their living quarters to "Little Pitt Street" - the Richmond side of the aerodrome.

Richmond, New South Wales - 23 September 1942 (NAA: A9186, 143)

Weather non-operational -- Intelligence Officer P/O P.E. GOLDIN (RAF) posted to H.Q. Eastern Area. Flown to BRISBANE and TOWNSVILLE to study Fighter Operations and Intelligence in the Nortern Area.

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory - 23 September 1943 (NAA: A9186, 126)

2 Airmen arrived on posting to Unit.

Cape Otway, Victoria - 23 September 1943 (NAA: A9186, 581)

Competitive rifle shoot on range.

Database Updated:
16 August 2023
8:32:00 AM (AEST)
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