75 SQUADRON - RAAF
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

 

75 Squadron RAAF was formed in Townsville on 4 March 1942 when twenty five P-40E Kittyhawk's (A29-1 through to A29-25) were made available to the RAAF by the Americans. The majority of ground personnel and some flying personnel were drawn from 24 Squadron, Townsville.

The Squadron was formed against War Establishment HD100 and equipped with Kittyhawks, 16 I.E. and 8 I.R.

On 4 March 1942 Flight Lieutenant Church of North East Area acted as their Equipment Officer pending the appointment of a Squadron Equipment Officer.

On 5 March 1942 Squadron Leader Peter Jeffrey, D.S.O., D.F.C. was ordered to command a ferry flight of Kittyhawks to Townsville and then act as temporary Commanding Officer.

Crash of a Kittyhawk A29-2
at Kyogle, NSW on 7 March 1942

 

Crash of a Kittyhawk A29-3
at Wauchope, NSW on 7 March 1942

 

Crash of a Kittyhawk A29-1
at Kempsey on 8 March 1943

 

On 8 March 1942 the first allotment of Kittyhawks arrived in Townsville and the following ferry pilots were posted to 75 Squadron:-

F/O Barry Mortimer Cox (260706)
Sgt Vernon Jasson Sims (401396)
Sgt Stanley Charles Havard (403868)
Sgt Richard John Cecil Granville (403923) from S.H.Q. Canberra
F/Lt John Francis Jackson (493) from 4 Squadron, Canberra
F/Lt Lelsie Douglas Jackson (270520)
F/O Kenneth William Lloyd (270736)
Sgt Ally Cecil Clifton Davies (406124) from 23 Squadron, Archerfield
F/Lt Peter St. George Bruce Turnbull, DFC (481) from 3 S.F.T.S., Amberley

On 9 March 1942, Squadron Leader J. H Wright from 22 Squadron arrived on attachment to 75 Squadron pending his posting as Commanding Officer of 76 Squadron.

On 10 March 1942 P/O Donald Swann (2826) from G.R. School at Laverton in Victoria arrived and became the Adjutant for 75 Squadron. P/O Ronald Kevin Critchley O'Connor (411175) from S.H.Q. Williamtown arrived for flying duties.

From 10 to 18 March 1942, 75 Squadron commenced flying practice in Townsville under the direction of Squadron Leader Peter Jeffrey (035436-145), D.S.O., D.F.C. They Squadron undertook formation flying, gunnery and practice in the use of R/T Equipment.

On 12 March 1942 the Squadron was organised as follows:-

"B" Flight
Officer Commanding - F/Lt John Jackson

"C" Flight
Officer Commanding - F/Lt Peter Turnbull

Servicing Party
Officer Commanding - F/O William Irwin Matson (03452)

Headquarters Flight
Officer Commanding - P/O Donald Swann

On 12 March 1942 F/O W.L. Wackett (588) from 24 Squadron, Townsville reported for flying duties. On the same day S/Ldr Peter Jeffrey, D.S.O., D.F.C. was appointed Commanding Officer of 75 Squadron effective 12 March 1942.

On 13 March 1942 Sgt D.B. Davies was involved in a landing accident in Kittyhawk A29-4 at Townsville. The aircraft was extensively damaged, but the pilot was uninjured.

 

Crash of a Kittyhawk A29-4
at Garbutt airfield on 13 March 1942

 

This Kittyhawk was received by 75 Squadron on 16 March 1942. It was coded 'U' and assigned Serial No. A29-18.

 

P-40E-1 Kittyhawk of 75 Squadron. It was coded X in early March 1942. It had been assigned the serial A29-10. It was received by 75 Squadron on 16 March 1942. It was destroyed on the ground by enemy aircraft and totally burnt out at Port Moresby.

 

 

Possibly Aitkenvale Airfield

Possibly Aitkenvale Airfield

 

P/O Oswald John Channon (411286) from S.H.Q. Canberra reported for flying duties on 13 March 1942.

On 14 March 1942 F/O Jeffrey Woods (406064) and Sgt John Henry Stephen Pettett (403372) from 23 Squadron and F/O Bruce Horace Anderson (260770) from 24 Squadron reported for flying duties.

On 15 March 1942 P/O Geoffrey Charles Atherton (408030) from 24 Squadron and Sgt D.B. Davies, Airman pilot was posted out of 75 Squadron to No 24 Squadron for flying duties.

On 16 March 1942, F/O Donald Robert McKendry (03360) from S.H.Q. Port Moresby reported for duty as the Equipment Officer. F/O Montague David Ellerton (568) from 22 Squadron, Sgt. Robert Ronald Munro (416360) and Sgt D.W. Munro from S.H.Q. Williamtown reported for flying duties.

On 17 March 1942 an Advance Party of 33 ground personnel departed Townsville for Port Moresby to report to the acting Equipment Officer, F/Lt Church.

On 17 March 1942, F/Lt William Deane-Butcher (261286) from Archerfield reported for duty as the Medical Officer.

P-40E Kittyhawk A29-13 was involved in a landing accident at Garbutt Airfield, Townsville on 18 March 1942. The pilot, Sgt David Stuart Brown was not injured in this accident. The aircraft was badly damaged.

 

Crash of Kittyhawk A29-13
at Garbutt airfield on 18 March 1942

 

On 18 March 1942, F/O J. Legay Brereton (260697) from 3 S.F.T.S. reported for flying duties.

Two Kittyhawks left Townsville for Port Moresby on 19 March 1942. They were piloted by S/Ldr Peter Jeffrey and F/O Barry Cox.

F/Lt John Jackson, a Queensland grazier, was appointed Acting Squadron Leader and became the Commanding Officer of 75 Squadron effective 19 March 1942.

On 20 March 1942, S/Ldr John Jackson led a flight of 14 Kittyhawks to Port Moresby via Cooktown and Horn Island. They were escorted by a Lockheed Hudson from 32 Squadron RAAF. Two Kittyhawks flown by P/O O'Connor and Sgt Sims were unable to get off on datum. They later took off for Cairns.

P/O O'Connor and Sgt Sims arrived at Cooktown from Cairns in the morning of the 21 March 1942, rejoining the rest of the group. Four Kittyhawks led by S/Ldr Peter Jeffrey took off for Port Moresby via Horn Island. Two hours later the remaining Kittyhawks led by S/Ldr John Jackson took off for Port Moresby via Horn Island escorted by the Lockheed Hudson.

F/O Lloyd was forced to turn back to Cooktown due to fuel trouble. On 21 March 1942, the first four Kittyhawks arrived at Horn Island followed by the other 13 Kittyhawks led by S/Ldr John Jackson and the Lockheed Hudson.

Later that day (21 March 1942) the two groups took off from Horn Island headed for Port Moresby. When the leading formation arrived over 7 Mile Aerodrome (later renamed Jackson's Strip) at Port Moresby Army Machine Gun posts fired at them thinking they were Japanese aircraft. They had never seen a Kittyhawk and the still had the red circle in the center of the RAAF roundel. One bullet missed S/Ldr Peter Jeffrey by half an inch. Three of the aircraft were damaged. One of them was later written off. After a number of other cases of mistaken identity, the Allies changed their roundels/insignia to remove the red circles in the centre, on or after 27 March 1942.

Two of the less badly damaged aircraft refuelled and took off again to patrol the area. They were flown by F/O Wackett and F/O Cox. When at 6,000 feet they spotted a single daily reconnaissance Japanese aircraft at 10,000 feet. They carried out a an astern and quarter attacks on the aircraft which eventually exploded and dived into the sea from 500 feet near the harbour entrance. This was the first combat kill for the Squadron, just 17 days after the Squadron's formation.

The other formation of Kittyhawks led by S/Ldr John Jackson arrived from Horn Island. One of the Kittyhawks flown by Sgt Bailey had engine trouble and dropped down to 60 feet above the sea. The engine eventually recovered avoiding a nasty situation.

F/Lt Deane-Butcher and P/O Atherton also arrived at Port Moresby by flying boat on 21 March 1942.

At dawn on 22 March 1942, a surprise attack was made on the Japanese forces at Lae. Six Kittyhawks from 75 Squadron strafed the airfield at Lae. S/Ldr Peter Turnbull and Sgt. John Pettett were credited with destroying two Jap A6M Zeros. F/O Wilbur Wackett and F/Lt Bruce Horace Anderson were both shot down. Wackett ditched into the sea and swam to shore. After a gruelling trek across the Owen Stanley Ranges he arrived back in Port Moresby. F/Lt. Anderson was killed when his aircraft crashed some miles from Lae Airfield.

On 23 March 1942, F/O Ellerton, Sgt. Brown, and P/O Tucker departed south to ferry more Kittyhawks alloted to 75 Squadron. On 23 March 1942, 75 Squadron became a Unit under teh administration of RAAF Headquarters, Port Moresby.

On 25 March 1942, five Kittyhawks allocated to 75 Squadron arrived in Townsville with F/Lt Boyd in charge of the flight. F/O Cox, Sgt SIms and Sgt Havard escorted by a Lockheed Hudson from 32 Squadron left Townsville for Port Moresby at about 10:30am.

Sgt Sims was delayed at Cooktown on 25 March 1942 with a damaged tail wheel. Sgt. Havard made a forced landing on a beach 8 miles north of Cooktown. F/O Cox flew back to Cooktown and boarded a motor launch and headed for the beach. F/O Cox successfully took off Havard's aircraft and flew it back to Cooktown. Sgt Havard returned to Cooktown on the motor launch.

 

Forced landing of a Kittyhawk on beach
8 miles north of Cooktown, QLD
on 25 March 1942

 

On 26 March 1942, F/O Cox departed Cooktown for Townsville to organise a flight of all available aircraft and pilots to fly to Port Moresby escorted by Hudson aircraft from 32 Squadron. Their departure was delayed pending advice of serviceability of aircraft held up at Cooktown.

On 28 March 1942 F/O Cox lead a formation of six replacement Kittyhawks, escorted by a Lockheed Hudson from 32 Squadron which left Townsville for Port Moresby.

On 28 March 1942, the Establishment for 75 Squadron increased by provision for 3 more pilots and 8 Aircraft-hands (as Armament assistants).

After a stopover in Cairns, the flight led by F/O Cox arrived in Cooktown on 29 March 1942. Sgt. Davies damaged his tail wheel on landing. The Lockheed Hudson flew back to Townsville for parts to repair the tail wheel. It flew back with Kittyhawk A29-29 flown by S/Ldr Wright. Sgt Havard was still held up in Cooktown due to engine trouble.

On 30 March 1942, the other aircraft along with S/Ldr Wright left Cooktown for Horn Island. They all arrived safely at Horn Island and later departed for Port Moresby. Sgt. Sims was held up at Horn Island with engine trouble. Later that day five Kittyhawks escorted by a Lockheed Hudson arrived at Port Moresby. P/O Davies crashed on landing and his Kittyhawk overturned. The aircraft was damaged considerably and P/O Davies was slightly injured.

On 1 April 1942, F/O J.W. Piper, in Kittyhawk A29-23, escorted by Hudson aircraft from 32 Squadron headed south for Townsville for depot repairs to A29-23.

At 1732K hours on 5 April 1942, 7 replacement Kittyhawks arrived from the south.

On 6 April 1942, the Establishment was increased to allow for an Engineer Officer.

On 7 April 1942, 51 personnel of 75 Squadron arrived from Townsville on the ship "Malaita".

On 8 April 1942 North Eastern Area Signal P564 dated 8 April 1042 was received reporting that S/Ldr J.F. Jackson was awarded the D.F.C for service in the Middle East.

At 1655K hours, on 9 April 1942, F/O Ellerton and F/O Piper arrived at 7 Mile Airfield with replacement Kittyhawks.

At 0605K hours on 10 April 1942, S/Ldr John Jackson, D.F.C. took off in Kittyhawk A29-24 on a recconnaissance flight over Lae, Salamaua and Nadzab. At 0930K hours.S/Ldr Jackson had still not returned from his recce flight and was reported missing.

At 1030K hours on 11 April 1942, F/O Cox took off to search for S/Ldr John Jackson who was still missing.

On 12 April 1942, F/Lt Peter Turnbull, D.F.C. was appointed as Temporary Commanding Officer of 75 Squadron. At 0830K hours F/Lt Les Jackson took off to search for his brother without success.

On 15 April 1942, 3 replacement Kittyhawks arrived from the mainland.

On 16 April 1942 P-40E Kittyhawk A29-33 (#41-5518) piloted by Sgt Andrews made a belly landing at Rockhampton during a ferry flight from Archerfield to Port Moresby. It was being delivered to 75 Squadron. It had been involved in an earlier forced landing at Laverton in Victoria on 20 March 1942 when piloted by F/O Grant. A broken control cable to the elevators had been the cause of that accident.

On 18 April 1942, S/Ldr John Jackson was found safe and well at Navos 20 miles north west of Salamaua.

On 22 April 1942, Chief of Air Staff SIr Charles Burnett visited 75 Squadron at 7 Mile.

S/Ldr John Jackson returned to 7 Mile at 1227K hours on 23 April 1942.

On 24 April 1942, 75 Squadron was given 36 hours notice to relocate to 11 Mile and operate from Bomana runway.

On 28 April 1942, the Establishment was increased to allow to provide for one Flying Officer for Intelligence duties. This role was taken up by F/O Stuart Henry Collie (252288). On the same day 6 Kittyhawks took off to intercept 8 Japanese bombers escorted by Zeros. S/Ldr John Jackson in A29-8 and F/O B.M. Cox in A29-47 failed to return and subsequent investigations found that both men had been killed and their aircraft totally destroyed.

On 29 April 1942, F/Lt Les Jackson was appointed Temporary Commanding Officer of 75 Squadron.

During April 1942, Security Patrols, Interception of Enemy Aircraft, Reconnaissances and Raids over enemy territory were carried out. They flew a total of 638 hours as follows:-

7 Pilots were killed during the month of April 1942.

By the end of April 1942 strength of the Squadron was as follows:-

Aircraft on strength as follows:-

During April 1942 the Establishment was increased to provide for 28 Pilots and 8 Aircrafthands to assist Armament Section.

Flying Officer Montague David Ellerton (568), aged 23 years, was killed on 27 April 1942, when the wing tip of his Kittyhawk, A29-69, hit a sand dune and his Kittyhawk flipped over while attempting to land on a beach about 50 kms north west of Cooktown. It ended up on a beach south of Murdoch Point, near some rocky ledges.

Ellerton was attempting to give assistance to the pilot of a USAAF P-39 Airacobra #41-7210 flown by Lt. William McGovern of the 35th Fighter Squadron of the 8th Fighter Group, USAAF. This Airacobra was one of the eleven P-39 Airacobras which crashed on 26 April 1942. The wreck of Ellerton's Kittyhawk ended up about 400 yards from the crashed Airacobra. Flying Officer Montague David Ellerton was ferrying a new Kittyhawk to New Guinea for 75 Squadron.

 

 Crash of a Kittyhawk A29-69
of 75 Squadron on 27 April 1942

 

From 1 May 1942 to 7 May 1942 operations were considerably reduced due to the reduced number of serviceable aircraft. Two Kitthawks were lost during this period, one in combat and another in a take-off accident.

On 5 May 1942 F/Lt Les Jackson was appointed Commanding Officer of 75 Squadron effective 29 April 1942.

On the evening of 7 May 1942, instructions were received to leave Bomana Camp and return to Australia. 154 Officers and airmen embarked on SS. Taroona at 2100 hours for Townsville. At this stage there were only 3 serviceable Kittyhawks left and 2 unserviceable Kittyhawks. The Commanding Officer and 3 other pilots and a rear party of 27 ground personnel remained behind to facilitate the takeover by USAAC Squadrons.

On 9 May 1942 3 Kittyhawks of 75 Squadron assembled at Kela Airfield with a number of USAAC A-24 dive bombers were strafed by Zeros. The 3 Kittyhawks were damaged necessitating shipment of one aircraft to the mainland.

The Commanding Officer F/Lt Les Jackson took off in a Kittyhawk on 9 May 1942 and arrive din Cairns in north Queensland.

SS Taroon arrived in Townsville 4 days later on 11 May 1942 and moved to a tent camp at the Bohle River Airfield approximately 12 miles from Townsville. The operationally unserviceable Kittyhawks were flown back to the mainland and the rear party returned to Austral as transport became available.

S/Ldr Les Jackson left Townsville on 13 May 1942 for Bankstown to ferry replacement aircraft for the Squadron.

On 15 May 1942, 75 Squadron entrained for Kingaroy at 2000K hours on 15 May 1942, arriving there on 17 May 1942. They occupied the barracks at the Kingaroy Airfield except for a small rear party which relocated to Amberley. They were the only unit at that location at that point in time.

P/O Cory was involved in a landing accident at Rockhampton on 17 May 1942. The aircraft was badly damaged and the pilot was uninjured.

Re-equipment and organisation of the Squadron began. Replacement aircraft were diverted to the new location. Wirraways were used for dual flight training. During the month of May 75.5 hours were flown representing 7.5 hours air fighting, 20 hours ferrying and 48 hours training.

At the end of their 44 day deployment to Seven Mile Airfield, 75 Squadron had destroyed over 60 Japanese aircraft in air-to-air combat and strafing attacks, with a corresponding loss of 12 pilots and 24 Kittyhawks from 75 Squadron.

75 Squadrons activities against the Japanese between 21 March 1942 and 8 May 1942 resulted in:-

75 Squadron's losses were as follows:-

S/Ldr Bernard Barton Cresswell (82), the Commanding Officer of 76 Squadron, was killed on 17 April 1942 while flying a 75 Squadron aircraft on a reconnaissance flight over Lae. 

 

Crash of Kittyhawk A29-13
four miles east of Marburg on 12 July 1942

 


Profile:- Gordon Birkett

Kittyhawk A29-13 of 75 Squadron RAAF

 


Photo:- Len Storey

Kittyhawks of 75 Squadron, Horn Island, 1943

75 Squadron eventually arrived at No. 1 Strip (now called Gurney Airfield) at Milne Bay on 24 July 1942 (or 21 July 1942?).  They joined Kittyhawks from 76 Squadron that had arrived a few days earlier.  This airstrip had only just been carved out of 426 acres of plantation in the previous 24 days. Milne Bay was being developed to protect Port Moresby from a left flank attack by the Japanese. It also strengthened the Allies air power over the north coast of New Guinea and the Louisade Islands.

The Japanese attacked the area on 8 August 1942 and met stiff opposition from the two RAAF squadrons. A Japanese force was sighted heading for Milne Bay late on 24 August 1942. Also on the 24 August 1942, a dog fight with Japanese raiders saw

Ron Cuskelly <cuskelly@powerup.com.au> is researching details of two F-4 Lightnings which were loaned by the 8th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron to 75 Squadron RAAF on 16 August 1943.

http://www.adastron.com/lockheed/lightning/75sqn.htm

Ron is trying to match USAAF serials to the "Malaria Mabel" and "Map Happy Pappy".

 

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TOWNSVILLE BULLETIN
Thursday, 3 September 1998
Page 10

TRUE TALES ... Colonel Lindemann DFC, a former 75 Squadron commanding officer, tells the history of the squadron during the memorial service at the RAAF Base yesterday

Photo:  MICHAEL CHAMBERS

 

The plaque dedicated to 75 Squadron - located at the RAAF Museum, Garbutt - photo taken 6 February 1999.  See a text replica of this plaque below

FLYING HEROES REMEMBERED
By Debbie Xinos

AUSTRALIAN flyers who fought and won the battle of Milne Bay 55 years ago were honoured yesterday at the RAAF Base Garbutt.

Air Commodore Geoff Michael unveiled a plaque dedicated to 75 Squadron, who defeated the Japanese air force just off Papua New Guinea during World War Two.

"Milne Bay is where the Japanese suffered their first defeat in World War Two at the hands of the Australian air force," Air Commodore Michael said.

"This commemoration is something that has been planned for a long time."

Twelve members of the original 75 Squadron attended the ceremony, which was the first of its kind since the battle was won in 1945.

The significance of the victory was virtually unrecognised until yesterday's formalities, according to former 75 Squadron member Arthur Tucker.

"This (battle of Milne Bay) was the first time Australia had to fight for itself," Mr Tucker said.

"If 75 Squadron had not gone to Port Moresby, there is little doubt that the Japanese would have attacked North Queensland next. It's efforts like this memorial service which get people thinking."

 

No. 75 Squadron
Royal Australian Air Force

On 9th March 1942, 75 Squadron was formed in Townsville.
The squadron transferred to New Guinea on 23 March.
The bitter aerial defence of Port Moresby lasted for fourty-five days.
After a short period for rest and refit at the victorious
Battle of Milne Bay from 26 August to 5 September.
The Squadron continued active service until the surrender of the
Japanese to the Allied Forces on 2 September 1945.

Killed in action in New Guinea and its environs

  Anderson B.H.
  Adams J.M.R
  Bailey R.S.
  Brown D.S.
  Barden W.M.
  Bates J.C.
  Bath R.W.R.
  Channon O.J.
  Casey T.K.
  Cornfoot J.G.
  Cox B.M.
Cowe W.D.
Cresswell B.B.
Davies A.G.C.
Dowton A.R.
Dudley U.N.
Ellerton M.D.
Fawcett F.D.
Granville R.J.C.
Gilbert M.A.J.
Guster P.F.
Harbottle P.G.F.
Hay R.N.
Hunt S.B.
Jackson J.F. DFC
Munro D.W.
Munro S.
Morrison J. Mc.
Maxted R.H.D.
Mogg G.C.
Norton J.W.
O'Conner R.K.C.
Pontifex R.B.
Rose L.G.
Robinson C.D.
Shelley F.P.
Sheldon M.B.
Sherwin G.F.
Stirling J.Mc.
Thyes J.B.
Whitehead P.F.
Ward W.J.
Wentworth J.A.
Wackett W.L.

 


 

Subject:    75 SQN RAAF
Date:             Thu, 17 Dec 1998 19:19:52 +1100
From:           "Steve, Peril-" <peril@ozemail.com.au>

I quite liked your pages, they were my first stop for info before creating my squadron history pages ;)

Please drop in and have a look around my WarBirds WW2 Flight simulator squadron pages. We have 60 members with an average age of 30 and we are all mad WW2 fighter nuts. The squadron decided to take an historic role to our squadron name and last week became the 75 SQN RAAF. We were the RAAF Squadron and as you know by now we are all Aussies. WarBirds the game is run from the States via the internet where you can fly any of 64 WW2 fighter or bomber planes all with very realistic flight characteristics.

Anyway you can learn more by looking at our pages so I'll stop chattering.

Great site, some people are very grateful for your efforts.

Peril

--
Wing Commander Peril
75 SQN RAAF Commander

Email: peril@ozemail.com.au

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank David Storey for his assistance with this home page. His father LAC Leonard James "Len" Storey (52163) was an engine mechanic with 7 Squadron RAAF.

 

REFERENCES

"Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History"
Volume 2 - Fighter Units
by RAAF Historical Section

 

 

 

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This page first produced 11 July 1998

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