NHILL AIRFIELD, VICTORIA
DURING WWII

 

In early January 1940 the Federal Aviation Department started to investigate the possible establishment of a military camp and Air Force training centre in Nhill in Victoria. In November 1940 the Department of Air advised the Shire Council that an Air Navigational School was to be established at Nhill. Tenders were received for the construction of the school in May 1941. Contractor from Ballaarat, S.J, Weir, was given 8 weeks to complete the new base for an estimated cost of $125,000 to $130,000.

No. 2 Air Navigation school became operational at Nhill in September 1941 with an initial complement of 22 officers, 42 trainees and 280 airmen. The Commanding Officer was Wing Commander A.G. Carr (AFC). No 2 Air Navigation School was previously located at Mount Gambier in South Australia. The school used Fairey Battles, Tiger Moths, Wirraways, Oxford, Beauforts and Lockheed Hudsons while it was stationed at Nhill.

On 14 February 1942, the unit's aircraft, instructors and trainees left Nhill headed fro West Sale. The following day a special troop train transported all the remaining personnel, stores and equipment  to West Sale.

On 13 December 1943 the Armament School relocated from Hamilton to Nhill airfield. The first course commenced the following day. Their Commanding Officer was Wing Commander A.D. Garrison. It was renamed as the Air Armament School on 15 January 1944. It was later renamed to the Air Armament and Gas School. The school comprised 688 personnel. Their aircraft comprised 3 Beauforts, 6 Avro Ansons, 3 Wirraways and 1 Moth Minor.

There have been many rumours concerning vehicles, aircraft parts, ammunition, bombs and machine guns being buried at Nhill airfield. A report in the Melbourne Sun in 1975 declared that Mustard Gas containers had been buried at Nhill airfield.

 

USAAF Camp at Nhill Airfield

 

Crash of an Avro Anson 8 miles north east of Nhill on 13 May 1943

 

Crash of a Tiger Moth 16 kms north of Nhill airfield on 4 May 1945

 

Crash of a Wirraway 8 kms east of Lorquon on 2 July 1945

 


 

The Australian Armourers Association is interested in early history of the RAAF Armament Schools and is interested in data, photos etc of the RAAF involvement in Nhill.

Troy Kennedy (kenna1@iprimus.com.au ) is also looking for information on the Nhill Air Force base eg: photo's and maps.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"Brief History of the Nhill Airforce Base"
by Stephen J. Purchase

In Just Five Years
The RAAF & Nhill in World War II, 1941-1946

by Kevin O'Reilly

 

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This page first produced 18 May 2001

This page last updated 28 December 2014