THE WAR YEARS
RAAF STATION ARCHERFIELD

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When the Second World War started, Archerfield became an important military air base for the RAAF, and the United States and the Dutch Air Forces.

Pilot Officer Beaufort Mosman Hunter Palmer was the first pilot to land at the newly established RAAF Archerfield. He landed at Archerfield on about 4 July 1940 six days before the official opening of RAAF Archerfield to deliver a consignment of alcohol for the newly completed officer's club. He then lead his squadron in to land at Archerfield on 10 July 1940 for the official opening of RAAF Archerfield. Beau Palmer later received a Distinguished Flying Cross for an attack on 5 Japanese tanks advancing on Australian troops on Bougainville. Beau Palmer, DFC passed away on 22 November 2011 on the Gold Coast.

American B-17 Flying Fortresses, Kittyhawks, Dakotas and Dutch Mitchell bombers became common sights at Archerfield. Many large hangars were built on both sides of Beatty Road. Many of those on the eastern side of Beatty Road still stand today along Kerry Road. They were used by the big earth-moving companies Thiess Brothers and Hastings Deering after the war.

The 8 ships of the Pensacola Convoy which arrived in Brisbane on 23 December 1941 had originally been enroute to the Philippines.  Due to the start of the war and Japanese action they were diverted to Brisbane. They had approximately 70 crates of A-20 and A-24 aircraft on board. Many of these were sent to Amberley for assembly. Archerfield was then to receive later shipments of crated aircraft for assembly.

On 17 February 1942, some Dutch airmen arrived at Archerfield on three Lockheed Lodestars. On that same day, six B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 88 Reconnaissance Squadron of the 7th Bomb Group arrived at Archerfield from America.   Harold N. Chaffin's B-17E, #12430, was damaged that night when an Australian DC3 civilian aircraft, VH-ACB,  piloted by Keith Virtue, ran into it while taxiing. The civilian aircraft also badly damaged a Dutch Lockheed Lodestar, # LT922, which was parked beside the American B-17. Chaffin's B-17 suffered damage to its starboard wing, the tail and part of its fuselage. Fortunately the parked aircraft had nobody in them at the time that they were hit by the civilian aircraft. The Lockheed Lodestar's fuselage was completely wrecked.

On 1 July 1942 the RAAF closed down its Station at Archerfield, leaving the US establishment and civil operations.

On 4 September 1942, No. 22 Squadron RAAF with their new A-20 Boston bombers arrived from Richmond. They stayed for about 3 weeks.

When the US forces reached the Philippines they started to pull out of the Kerry Road area. From February 1945, the Royal Navy Air Service (Fleet Air Arm) took over the two middle hangars in Kerry Road. There is a plaque in the Administrative Building at Archerfield commemorating HMS Nabsford, Archerfield. They established their Transportable Aircraft Maintenance Yard No. 1 or TAMY 1 in this area, where they assembled, repaired and flight tested Corsairs, Seafires, some Grumman Avengers and Fairey Barracudas. They were all sent to the Pacific after victory in Europe.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"Queensland Airfields WW2 - 50 Years On"
By Roger R. Marks

 

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This page first produced 8 November 1998

This page last updated 04 September 2015