8TH FIGHTER (PURSUIT) GROUP
"CYCLONE'S FLYING CIRCUS"
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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visits since 24 September 2000

 

- Headquarters

- 35th Fighter (Pursuit) Squadron

- 36th Fighter (Pursuit) Squadron

- 80th Fighter (Pursuit) Squadron

- 683 Ordinance Coy., 2 & 3 Platoon

 

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"Attack & Conquer"
"The 8th Fighter Group in World War II"
by John C. Stanaway & Lawrence J. Hickey

 

The whole of the 8th Fighter Group sailed to Australia on an old cattle boat called "Maui" in about late January 1942.  They arrived in Brisbane on about 6 March 1942. Due to congestion at Brisbane and Sydney ports, the ship carrying their P-39's was directed to Adelaide to unload.

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"Cyclone" Davis

On 15 May 1942 the designation of Pursuit Group changed to Fighter Group. The 8th Fighter Group became known as "Cyclone's Flying Circus" in honour of their commander Captain Emmett "Cyclone" Davis.

They arrived in Brisbane on 6 March 1942 and began air operations out of Brisbane's Municipal airport. 

The Eighth Fighter Group, USAAC established 8 Fighter Sector in Brisbane. When the 8th Fighter Group moved north, the Fighter Sector was taken over by the 565th Aircraft Warning Battalion, US Army, for a short while until it was taken over by the RAAF

On 29 July 1942 they then moved to Garbutt airfield in Townsville. On 18 September 1942 the Group moved to Milne Bay in Papua New Guinea. War records indicate that the men in the Group were all getting sick with malaria and were being sent back to the hospital in Townsville. Many hitched rides on aircraft returning to Garbutt airfield after bombing missions to New Guinea.

The History of the 36th Fighter Squadron shows that the 36th Fighter Squadron arrived at Ross River airfield, arriving there on 2 August 1942 where they used the new runway that was nearing completion on the edge of Townsville..

Bruce Graham told me that the 8th Fighter Group left Milne Bay and arrived at Mareeba in February 1943. They then moved to Port Moresby in New Guinea on 16 May 1943. Another unknown source indicated that the 8th Fighter Group were moved back to Townsville for rest and re-equipment.

The 35th Fighter Group replaced the 8th Fighter Group in Port Moresby. 

 

12 April 1942 - Crash of an Airacobra 
of the 35th Fighter Squadron at Woodstock

 

26 April 1942 - Crash landing of eleven P-39 Airacobras
between Cooktown and Cape York

 

1 May 1942 - Crash landing of six P-39 Airacobras north of Cooktown

 

7 May 1942 - Crash of a P-39 Airacobra at Murdoch Point

 

2 July 1942 - Crash of a P-39 Airacobra at Woodstock airfield

 

15 July 42 - Crash of a P-400 Aerocobra off Redcliffe

 

15 July 1942 - Crash of a P-400 Aerocobra off Redcliffe

 

27 July 1942 - Crash of a P-39 Airacobra
at Woodstock airfield

 

10 September 1942 - Crash of a Tiger Moth
in Halifax Bay near Townsville killing Captain James Bevlock

 

28 September 1942 - Crash of a P-39 Airacobra
between Garbutt airfield and Mareeba

 

18 December 1942 - Captains Carl H. Silber and Peter E. Kiple of the 8th Fighter Group
killed in crash of "Texas Terror" on Hinchinbrook Island

 

28 September 1942 - Crash of a P-39 Airacobra
north of Townsville

 

25 February 1943 - Crash of a P-400 Airacobra
between Cooktown and Mareeba

 

24 March 1943 - Crash of a P-39D-1 Airacobra
near Cairns in north Queensland

 

12 April 1943 - Crash of a P-39 Airacobra
near Tolga in north Queensland

 


 

E-mails from Craig Grude

 

E-mails from Ronald J. Yamka

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Bruce Graham for his assistance with this home page. Click here to see all of Bruce's research notes on the 8th Fighter Group.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS:-

The Forgotten Fifth
A Classic Photographic Chronology of the
Fifth Air Force in Action in the Pacific in WW2

By Michael Claringbould

"Attack & Conquer - The 8th Fighter Group in World War II"
By John C. Stanaway & Lawrence J. Hickey

Eagle Farm 1942 - Airacobra Assembly
by Brian Creer
(note these Airacobra's were actually assembled at Amberley airfield)

"North Queensland WWII, 1942-1945"
By P.D. Wilson

 

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Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2004

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This page first produced 20 February 1999

This page last updated 23 January 2010