452 SQUADRON RAAF
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII

 

452 Squadron RAAF was formed at Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire in the UK on 8 April 1941 under Commanding Officer Squadron Leader R.G. Dutton (RAF), DFC and Bar.

Squadron Leader Robert Wilton Bungey (257414) took over as Commanding Officer on 15 June 1941. The Squadron joined 11 Group Fighter Command in Kenley, UK on 21 July 1941. The Squadron moved to Redhill on 21 November 1941.

Squadron Leader Keith William "Bluey" Truscott (400213), took over as Commanding Officer on 25 January 1942. He was replaced by Squadron Leader Ray Edward Thorold-Smith (402144) on 18 March 1942.

452 Squadron left Liverpool, UK on 21 June 1942 and arrived in Melbourne in mid August 1942 minus their Spitfires which had been commandeered by the RAF whilst in transit.

452 Squadron RAAF reformed at Richmond airfield in New South Wales on 7 September 1942. 452 Squadron after re-equipping with Mk Vc Spitfires moved to Darwin in the Northern Territory arriving there on 17 January 1943 and after initially being located at Batchelor Airfield moved to Strauss Airfield. It was from Strauss Airfield that the Squadron claimed its first Japanese victories during Japanese Raid No. 53 on the Darwin Oil Fuel tanks and Floating Dock, when Flying Officer Adrian Philip Goldsmith (402500) shot down a Mitsubishi "Betty" and a Zero.

On 27 January 1943 F.VC Spitfire A58-55 (BR549) and F.VC Spitfire A58-73 (BS184) of 452 Squadron RAAF collided 4 miles south east of Coomalie Creek Airfield in the Northern Territory. Sgt. Eric .Ebsworth Hutchinson (403602), the pilot of Spitfire A58-73 was killed. Sgt. Henry William Stockley (407881) in A58-55 was not injured in this tragic incident

On 27 February 1943, Mark F.VC Spitfire, A58-69 (BS175) of 452 Squadron RAAF, crashed inverted in bad weather at Tabletop Range, near Litchfield Park (near Batchelor), en route to Wyndham from Strauss airfield. The pilot Flying Officer William Hendrie Ford was killed.

Squadron Leader R.S. MacDonald took over as Commanding Officer of 452 Squadron RAAF on 30 March 1943.

On 2 May 1943 during Japanese Raid No. 54 on Darwin RAAF airfield and a Floating Dock, Flying Officer Adrian Philip Goldsmith (402500) shot down a Nakajima "Helen" but was then forced to bale out joining three other squadron pilots. They all landed safely. Flying Officer Alexander Charles McNab (405420) was killed during combat during this raid. F.VC Spitfire A58-53 (BR547) Code QY-S, piloted by R. Stagg of 452 Squadron RAAF went missing at sea after a dogfight with some Japanese aircraft west of Darwin Harbour on 2 May 1943.

During the rest of May and June 1943 the squadron was scrambled on a number of occasions to respond to unidentified aircraft which were normally straying USAAF B-24 Liberators.

On 20 June 1943 Squadron Leader R. S. MacDonald, Flight Lieutenant John Henry Eric Bisley (402720) and Flight Lieutenant D. Evans each shot down a Japanese "Sally". Flying Officer Robert Harold Whillans (404693) and Flight Sergeant K. Cross each claimed a damaged "Sally". Flying Officer Granville Allen Mawer (403112) shot down a Japanese Zero and Pilot Officer Anthony Thomas Ruskin-Rowe (411389) shot down two more Zeros. Pilot Officer Ruskin-Rowe was shortly later shot down and killed in Spitfire BS174 at Cape Gambier, Northern Territory. Pilot Officer Willie Everard Nichterlein (416104) was also show down and killed in Spitfire EE 607 over Adam Bay, Van Diemen Gulf on the same day.

On 30 June 1943, Spitfires from 452 Squadron were involved in aerial combat with over 40 Japanese aircraft. Squadron Leader MacDonald claimed a "Betty" bomber and and Flying Officer Clive Percival Lloyd claimed a Zero. Both were forced to bale out from their aircraft due to combat damage. Pilot Officer Paul Dominic Tully (404998) claimed a probable Zero. Flight Sergeant C.R. Duncan (possibly Colin Ronald Duncan 401778) was also forced to bale out and then spent five days in the bush before he was rescued.

Flying Officer William John Lamerton (407900) died as a result of a crash landing in Spitfire BR 241 (A58-19) at Strauss airfield in the Northern Territory on the 30 June 1943. He was buried at the Adelaide River War Cemetery. Unfortunately his name was spelt incorrectly as "Lammerton" on his headstone. His sister Miss M. Lamerton wrote to the Secretary, Department of Air on 10 March 1947 after visiting her brother's grave asking for the mistake to be rectified. His Spitfire developed engine trouble at a height of approximately 16,000 feet.

On 6 July 1943, 452 Squadron shot down two Zeros. Two pilots were forced to bale out and another pilot crash landed after and engine failure.

Flight Sergeant Paul Angelo Padula (411813) and Wing Commander Caldwell shared a "Dinah" kill on 20 August 1943.

Flying Officer Adrian Philip Goldsmith (402500) shot down a "Tony" on 7 September 1943 and four other Japanese aircraft were claimed as probables or damaged. Squadron leader MacDonald was wounded and was forced to bale out of his aircraft. Pilot Officer Paul Dominic Tully (404998) was also forced to bale out of his Spitfire.

Spitfires piloted by Flying Officer Granville Allen Mawer (403112) and Flying Officer Adam collided on 25 September 1943 tragically killing both men.

The Japanese carried out their final air raid (Raid No. 64) on 12 November 1943 in the Parap and Adelaide River areas as well as on Batchelor airfield.

Squadron Leader Louis Thomas Spence (011315), DFC, took over as Commanding Officer on 3 February 1944. In early March 1944, the Squadron deployed to Guildford in Western Australia to defend a perceived threat to the Perth area which never eventuated.

452 Squadron relocated from Guildford to the Darwin area on 17 April 1944. They took part in an attack on Japanese installations on Babar and Wetan Islands. It was at this time that the Squadron converted from Mk V Spitfires to Mk VIII Spitfires.

452 Squadron shot down a "Dinah" on 12 June 1944.

On 18 September 1944, Flying Officer Arthur Keith Kelly (401968) of 452 Squadron RAAF, piloting Spitfire A58-435, was taking part in an interception and attack exercise on B-24 Liberator #42-40935 of the 380th Bomb Group, 5th Air Force over Cape Van Diemen. During a head on simulated attack, F/O Kelly's Spitfire collided with the B-24 and spiralled into the sea. His body was never found.

After the arrival of two RAF Squadrons, 452 Squadron relocated to Morotai on 11 December 1944 attached to 1 Tactical Air Force )RAAF). Flying Officer Jack Amerson Pretty (409220) shot down one of two Japanese aircraft that visited the area on 24 December 1944.

Group Captain Caldwell led an attack on Miti Airfield on 13 January 1945. Flight Sergeant Edmond MacLeod Stevenson c(432589) crashed and was captured by the Japanese. He died in captivity on 14 April 1945.

452 Squadron relocated to Tarakan in May 1945 and flew in support of the Balikpapan operation. Squadron Leader Kevin Milne Barclay (035247), DFC, took over as Commanding Officer on 4 June 1945. They flew their first operation on 30 June 1945. From July 1945, the Spitfires of 452 Squadron operated with Kittyhawks in a ground attack role.

On 2 July 1945, twenty-four Kittyhawks of No. 75 Squadron and Spitfires of No. 452 Squadron, carried out air strikes on Kalabakan and Simalumong. The Spitfires made eight strafing passes at Simalumong and on his last pass, Flight Lieutenant Proctor crashed and was killed.

On 12 July 1945 Squadron Leader Kevin Milne Barclay (035247) was forced to bale out of his Spitfire and was rescued by a boat. He went on to lead an attack on Japanese "pillboxes" from their new base at Sepinang.

452 Squadron carried out successful attacks on barges, motor transports and fixed installations on 19th, 22nd and 24th July 1945. The Squadron shot down a Japanese bomber over Balikpapan on the evening of 24 July 1945. This was the last Japanese kill before the war ended.

452 Squadron RAAF was eventually disbanded at Tarakan on 17 October 1945.


AWM ID Number: 060731

Flight Sergeant C. Duncan of No. 452 Squadron, RAAF seated on the
mainplane of his Spitfire aircraft at Millingimbi Airfield on 20 November 1943

 


Photo:- James T. Barton

Corporal James Terence Barton 118062, Despatch Rider
with  452 Spitfire Squadron RAAF at Sattler airfield in 1943.
Note the unexploded bomb hanging from the tree. Can
anyone confirm whether this is a Japanese bomb?

Andrew Barton told me that his father, Corporal James Terence Barton (118062), referred to Sattler airfield as "21 Mile", and 452 Squadron RAAF was based at the southern end of the airfield. Their sister Squadron, 457 Squadron, was based at the northern end of the airfield.

Corporal Barton's motorcycle, believed to be a BSA, had the number 818 on the front mudguard.

 

You Tube Video of 452 Squadron in UK

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Andrew Barton and Bruce Buchan for their assistance with this web page.

 

REFERENCE BOOK

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

 

Can you help me with more information
or photos on 452 Squadron RAAF?

 

 

 

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 Peter Dunn 2006

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This page first produced 8 September 2009

This page last updated 24 March 2013