On 12 November 1941, 11 Wirraways of 22 Squadron RAAF arrived at Mallacoota Airfield in Victoria at 0850K hours and were ordered to carry out an "attack" on Benambra for exercise at 1001K hours. The operation involving 10 Wirraways was completed at 1245K hours.

The first flight of 22 Squadron Wirraways at Mallaccota Airfield took off at 1410K hours also on 12 November 1941 on another exercise to "attack" the town of Grant. Flights took off at ten minute intervals. The exercise was completed at 1640K hours.

On 14 September 1942, three Bostons (A-20's) of 22 Squadron RAAF based in Richmond, flew to Charters Towers. The Bostons were fitted with extra fuel tanks for the five and a quarter hour flight. Led by Flight Lieutenant Ken MacDonald they flew very low in formation, often at tree top height. A few of the crew were relieved when they arrived at Charters Towers.


22sqn01.jpg (33020 bytes)

Boston bomber of 22 Squadron RAAF at Charters Towers in September 1942
Jack McMasters (pilot) standing in front of the aircraft and
Jim Larkin (wireless operator/navigator) on top of the aircraft


They spent about a month in the Charters Towers/Townsville area with local flights. The Bostons were then sent south for modifications. The nose compartment where the navigator used to sit was altered to fit four .5 calibre machine guns. These complemented the other five Browning .303 machine guns.

22 Squadron RAAF were based at Richmond from April 1936 until October 1942. They moved to Port Moresby in October 1942.

Beauforts of 22 Squadron took part in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea in March 1943. Squadron Leader Learmonth was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his attack on a Japanese destroyer in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Learmonth lead 5 Boston bombers of 22 Squadron RAAF during the attack. He scored two hits on a destroyer which subsequently sank. He was awarded a Bar to his DFC in August 1943 as Commanding Officer of 22 Squadron RAAF

Wing Commander Charles Learmonth, DFC and bar and his three other crew members were killed on 6 January 1944, when a Beaufort bomber of 14 Squadron RAAF, plunged into the sea 20 miles west of Sorrento during a training flight between Pearce and Rottnest in Western Australia. 


Crash of Wirraway A20-17 from 22 Squadron
near Hazelbrook in the Blue Mountains on 1 August 1940


22sqn02.jpg (36682 bytes)

Boston bomber of 22 Squadron RAAF at Charters Towers in September 1942
Jack Woodward (navigator) and Jack McMasters (pilot) standing in front of the aircraft



"Three Times Lucky"
By Jack Woodward


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This page first produced 13 August 1999

This page last updated 20 February 2020