LEYBURN AIRFIELD,
LEYBURN, QLD, AUSTRALIA
ALSO KNOWN AS STRATHANE INITIALLY
DURING WW2

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visits since 18 January 2004

Leyburn Airfield 4 October 1945

Leyburn Airfield Leyburn was located 37 kms from Toowoomba between Toowoomba and Warwick. It was one of four airfields provided for use by the USAAF's Heavy Bomber aircraft in the event of a Japanese landing near Brisbane. The Australian War Cabinet approved the urgent construction of Leyburn Airfield on 8 May 1942. This of course was just after the Battle of the Coral Sea

It would appear that would was already well advanced before this approval as on 3 May 1942, PO Keays reported that the NW-SE runway had been cleared and graded for a length of 7,000 feet and suitable for use in dry weather. A camp had been erected and gravelling of the NW-SW runway was due to start on 5 May 1942.

All facilities at Leyburn were completed by April 1943.  It was described as "a heavy bomber field with buildings and services for 450 personnel (no sleeping accommodation)". By July 1943, it was one of 17 airfields in Queensland that were still unoccupied.

An advanced party of 21 Squadron RAAF, arrived at Leyburn airfield from Camden in New South Wales on 9 July 1944. The advanced party comprised 1 Officer, 29 Other Ranks, 2 Chev trucks, 1 Dodge Weapon Carrier, blankets, mess gear and 7 days rations. 

When they arrived at Leyburn, the camp consisted of one large building which was the mess hall and kitchen. They immediately started to dig latrines and erect tents in readiness for the arrival of the crews. The camp was about 3 miles from the airfield hidden in a pine and she-oak forest on the Leyburn to Clifton Road.

23 Squadron RAAF arrived at Leyburn on 19 October 1944 from Menangle, NSW while 21 Squadron was still there.

99 Squadron RAAF arrived at Leyburn on 1 February 1945 and became a lodger unit there with 23 Squadron.

In June 1944 it was decided that the Allied Intelligence Bureau (AIB) and the Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD) should have an RAAF unit allocated to it to assist it in delivering agents and supplies of the Australian Army's "Z Special Operations unit by parachute into enemy territory. 200 Flight RAAF was formed as a Special Duties (SD) unit at Leyburn airfield, on 20 February 1945. 200 Flight RAAF was equipped with Liberators to allow them to carry the planned cargoes and achieve the duration range into enemy territory. The USAAF 380th Bomb Group were also working with Special Operations.

Leyburn airfield was now starting to get crowded. It was decided to move 99 Squadron to Jondaryn/Brymaroo airfields in the last week of March 1945.

200 Flight RAAF disbanded at Leyburn in December 1945, leaving the airfield deserted. The Australian Grand Prix was first staged at Leyburn airfield in 1949. 

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

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

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Andrew Owen for his assistance with this home page.

 

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 Peter Dunn 2004

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This page first produced 18 January 2004

This page last updated 17 June 2007