12 SQUADRON RAAF
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

 

12 Squadron was formed at Laverton on 6 February 1939. The Squadron was equipped with Avro Ansons and Hawker Demons. The Commanding Officer of 12 Squadron was Charles "Moth" Eaton. The Squadron started to move to Darwin Civil airfield in July 1939. By the end of August 1939 they had 7 Avro Ansons based at Darwin. The Hawker Demons had remained at Laverton and were replaced by CAC Wirraways. The Wirraways left Laverton on 1 September 1939 and arrived in Darwin on 5 September 1939.

p920566.jpg (151684 bytes) No 12 Squadron, Darwin, Oct 1939. Temporary camp at the civil airfield.

Charles Eaton Photographic Collection via Mitch Williamson

RAAF Station Darwin and 13 Squadron RAAF were formed  from 12 Squadron on 1 June 1940. Charles Eaton was the first Commanding Officer of Darwin RAAF base 1940-1941. He then went on to become Commanding Officer of 72 and 79 Wings from 1943 to 1944. A number of personnel and "A" and "B" Flights of Avro Ansons Mark I's, were detached from 12 Squadron  to form 13 Squadron RAAF. "C" Flight and its Wirraways stayed with 12 Squadron RAAF.

On 19 February 1942, 12 Squadron lost two of its Wirraways during the massive bombing raid on Darwin. It also lost a lot of technical equipment and stores when its new hangar was burnt to the ground.

In April 1941, 12 Squadron moved to the new Darwin RAAF airfield.

"B" and "C" Flights of 12 Squadron relocated to Batchelor airfield in February 1942 and "A" Flight moved back to the Civilian airfield in Darwin.

12 Squadron move to Pell airfield in July 1942. It was here that they were re-equipped with Vultee Vengeance aircraft. They moved back to Batchelor airfield in September 1942.

12 Squadron RAAF was stationed at Cooktown in August 1943 flying Vultee Vengeance aircraft. Prior to that they had been at Darwin since 1939 flying Wirraways. The squadron were due to move to Merauke in New Guinea. While the airfield and facilities were being prepared in New Guinea, 12 Squadron moved to the old mission airfield up the river from Cooktown, a few miles away from the town airfield on 1 July 1943. From there they carried out anti-submarine patrols escorting convoys of ships heading for New Guinea. The convoys mostly passed through the Grafton Passage. 12 Squadron RAAF also took part in Army co-operation and Navy gunnery exercises and also assisted with searches for downed aircraft and possible enemy submarines.

12 Squadron RAAF departed Cooktown for Merauke on 28 October 1943.

They moved to Merauke in October 1943. In July 1944 they moved to Strathpine airfield just north of Brisbane. They then moved to Cecil Plains airfield in December 1944 and then in May 1945 they moved back to Darwin where they stayed until the end of the war.

On 20 April 1945, six B-24's of 12 Squadron also arrived at Amberley Base to await movement to N.W. Area.  12 Squadron at this period was re-arming as a Heavy Bomber Squadron and the Air Echelon departed the Amberley Station during the following month.

On 5 February 1946, the advance party of 12 Squadron, Commanded by Squadron Leader J.E.S. Bennet arrived at Amberley Base and became a lodger unit on No 3 Aircraft Depot. The movement of 12 Squadron was completed during March 1946 and the Squadron was reduced to a care and maintenance unit at Amberley, and eventually came under the command of the Headquarters No 82 Wing. 12 Squadron was disbanded at Amberley in February 1948.

 

5 September 1939 - Crash of a Wirraway at Darwin Civil airfield 6 June 1940 - Crash of a Wirraway at Darwin Civil airfield 15 March 1941 - Crash of a Wirraway at Adelaide River Railway Station, NT
31 March 1941 - Crash of a Wirraway at Batchelor, NT 23 April 1941 - Crash of a Wirraway at Casurina Beach, Darwin, NT 27 August 1941 - Crash of a Wirraway on a beach at Rocky Cove, NT
23 September 1941 - Crash of a Wirraway at Casurina Beach, Darwin, NT 20 March 1942 - Crash of a Wirraway in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf area, NT 12 April 1942 - Crash of a Wirraway at Bynoe Bay, NT
2 August 1942 - Crash of a Wirraway at Bomb Range, Pine Creek, NT 3 October 1942 - Crash of a Wirraway, 40 miles south west of Batchelor, near Mt. Litchfield 27 October 1942 - Crash of a Vultee Vengeance at Oodnadatta, SA
25 February 1943 - Crash of a Wirraway on Howard Island 1 April 1943 - Crash of a Wirraway 25 miles south of Adelaide River, NT 15 May 1943 - Crash of a Vultee Vengeance at Batchelor, NT
23 May 1943 - Crash of a Vultee Vengeance at Dum in Mirrie Island, Port Patterson, NT 30 May 1943 - Crash of a Vultee Vengeance at Batchelor, NT 10 June 1943 - Crash of a Vultee Vengeance probably at Batchelor, NT
5 July 1943 - Crash of a Vultee Vengeance on a beach near Port Douglas 4 August 1943 - Crash of a Vultee Vengeance at Ruby Reef, 35 miles south east of Cooktown 30 September 1943 - Crash of a Vultee Vengeance at Cooktown, QLD
16 February 1945 - Crash of a Vultee Vengeance at Manton Dam, NT 20 May 1945 - Crash of a B-24 Liberator at Truscott, WA September 1945 - Crash of a B-24 Liberator at Darwin, NT

 

Charles Eaton Photographic Collection
via Mitch Williamson - This Collection contains
some magnificent photographs)

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I'd like to thank Mitch Williamson for his assistance with this home page.

 

 

 

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This page first produced 23 December 2001

This page last updated 24 March 2013