2 AIR AMBULANCE UNIT RAAF
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII

 

No 2 Air Ambulance Unit RAAF, 2 AAU, was established at Canberra, ACT, on 1 March 1942 "to transport stretcher and sitting up cases of sick and wounded members of the fighting services from battle areas to bases, where medical treatment of hospital facilities are available."

2 AAU was initially equipped with four Tugan Wackett LJW7 Gannets which had previously been attached to Survey Flight and were subsequently converted to carry two stretcher cases.

On 7 March 1942, two aircraft were detached to Daly Waters, NT as the hospital was not operational at that stage. The aircraft returned to Canberra on 21 April 1942. The Daly Waters detachment was re-activated and was transferred to Batchelor, NT on 8 May 1942.

On 5 July 1942 a four engined DH-86 joined the unit from Laverton. The Canberra based unit travelled as far as Charters Towers, Maryborough, Coffs Harbour and Wagga. The Batchelor Detachment travelled to Katherine, Alice Springs and Millingimbi.

No. 2 Air Ambulance Unit relocated to Kingaroy on 26 February 1943. Extra Detachments were established at Archerfield, Townsville and Port Moresby. The Detachment at Port Moresby moved to Milne Bay, then Goodenough Island and back to Milne Bay where the Detachment eventually ceased on 18 August 1944. A Detachment was also established at Horn Island but this returned to Townsville during April 1944.

Another Detachment was operational at Corunna Downs from 11 January 1944. It was almost de-activated after a Gannet crashed on take-off on 25 August 1944, killing all on board. The Detachment remained at Corunna Downs until two Avro Ansons could be obtained. The Corunna Downs Detachment closed on 15 December 1944.

On 28 May 1944, F/Lt Karutz flew a modified Lockheed Hudson from Parafield to Kingaroy to commence service with 2 AAU. It was capable of carrying 13 patients. More Hudsons then joined 2 AAU.

On 27 August 1944, No 2 Air Ambulance Unit RAAF, received a signal at Kingaroy from Eastern Area Headquarters giving instructions for the Unit to move to Archerfield. It's new postal address was to be Group 634, RAAF, Archerfield, Q.

On 31 August 1944, Sgt Hibbert flew to Archerfield in DH-84 Dragon A34-53 from Kingaroy with passenger Sgt. Cheese who remained at Archerfield to take over duties in the Station Sick Quarters at the D.P.M.O.'s request and to receive equipment sent from Kingaroy in connection with the Unit's move.

On 31 August 1944, Flying Officer D.G. Barrett was appointed as the temporary Commanding Officer.

On 3 September 1944, DH-84 Dragon A34-21 flew from Kingaroy to Archerfield with two Airmen on board to prepare the Headquarters Building at Archerfield in readiness for the staff to move in on 7 September 1944. Flight Lieutenant Colbert was in charge of the advanced party.

Unit Headquarters at Kingaroy closed at 070145 hours on 7 September 1944 and F/Lt Krautz flew Lockheed Hudson A16-226 to Archerfield with Wing Commander Fulton, Squadron Leader Cockings and all Orderly Room documents on board. Flight Lieutenant Colbert flew DH-84 Dragon A34-22 to Archerfield on the same day.

On 12 September 1944, the Unit's equipment was loaded on a train at Kingaroy for shipment to Archerfield. The remainder of the Airmen left Kingaroy for Archerfield by train on 13 September 1944.

Airmen and equipment arrived at Archerfield from Kingaroy on 14 September 1944. This completed the move except for four aircraft which left behind at Kingaroy in a hangar (under guard) as they were not required immediately.:-

A14-3 Tugan Wackett LJW7 Gannet ex VH-UYE

A41-3 De Havilland DH-83 Fox Moth

A41-4 De Havilland DH-83 Fox Moth

A21-23 De Havilland DH-94 Moth Minor

2 Air Ambulance Unit was a lodger on No. 4 Communications Unit for barracks and messing arrangements and canteen facilities at Archerfield Airfield. They were allocated one hangar at Archerfield.

In September 1944, No 2 Air Ambulance Unit had 15 Officers and 131 Airmen on strength and the following establishment of aircraft:-

AIRCRAFT ESTABLISHMENT ON STRENGTH
Lockheed Hudson 6 4
DH-83 Fox Moth 2 2
DH-84 Dragon Nil 6
Tugan Wackett Gannet Nil 2
DH-94 Moth Minor Nil 1

During March - April 1945, 2 AAU destinations included Madang, Tadji, Lae, Hollandia, Morotai, Jacquinot Bay, and Nadzab.  From 2 to 27 July 1945, Flying Officer Howe in a Hudson flew 408 medical patients, 55 Medical Personnel and 18,762 lbs of medical supplies between Tadji and Archerfield with numerous other locations in between.

Six C-47B Dakotas were allocated to the Unit in July 1945 as follows:-

A65-117
A65-118
A65-119
A65-120
A65-121 - Allocation subsequently cancelled
A65-122 - Allocation subsequently cancelled

The Unit's aircraft at that stage had reduced to 5 Lockheed Hudsons and 1 Fox Moth. The Hudsons were handed over to Survey Flight when the Dakotas arrived.

 

Lockheed Hudson of No. 2 Air Ambulance Unit RAAF at Archerfield Airfield
in Brisbane on 4 August 1945 after arrival of their first of four C-47 Dakotas

 

The Dakotas were then involved after the Japanese surrender in the recovery of Australian POW's from Singapore, Bangkok and the Philippines.

In November 1945, in readiness for disbandment, the Unit's aircraft were handed over to 36 Squadron Air Ambulance Flight.

A Unit dinner was held at Lennon's Hotel at 1830 hours on 5 November 1945 in view of the announcement that that Unit was to disband on 8 December 1945.

COMMANDING OFFICERS
1 March 1942          Flight Lieutenant C.C. Loxton
11 June 1942          Flight Lieutenant J.G. MacDonald
7 September 1942   Flight Lieutenant C.C. Loxton
6 May 1943             Squadron Leader J.W. Warick
6 December 1945    Squadron Leader G.T. Newstead

 

REFERENCE BOOK

RAAF Air Ambulance and Medical Air Evacuation Units 1940-1946
By John Lever

Units of the Royal Australian Air Fore - A Concise History
Volume 4 - Maritime and Transport Units

 

 

 

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This page first produced 3 September 2013

This page last updated 03 September 2013