The Wirraways of 24 Squadron moved from Amberley to Townsville on 15 October 1940.  The main contingent of 24 Squadron arrived in Townsville on the S.S. Ormiston on 14 October 1940.

24 Squadron RAAF with its Wirraways were based at the then new Garbutt airfield in June 1941 under the command of Squadron Leader J.M. Lerew.

On 27 October 1940 four Hudsons (A16-13, A16-16, A16-39 and A16-91) arrived in Townsville to become part of 24 Squadron.

On 8 November 1940 another three Hudsons (A16-53, A16-117 and A16-118) joined 24 Squadron.

On 22 November 1940, Air Cadets Hermes and Anderson crashed their Wirraway A20-70 about 26 mile south of Townsville. They were able to walk back home to Townsville.

On 19 December 1940 Wirraway A20-53 of 24 Squadron crashed at St. Lawrence killing Pilot Officer H. A. Lenne, RAAF.  He was buried at Mackay Cemetery.

On 16 April 1941 J. E. Duggan, a Mess Steward of 24 Squadron died in Townsville General Hospital from serious burns.  He was subsequently buried in the Townsville War Cemetery.

24 Squadron RAAF was based at the Stock Route airfield which is now Dalrymple Road.  It was in the section of Dalrymple Road where the large electricity steel tower lines run beside the road back to Duckworth Street. It was a satellite airfield to Garbutt airfield and aircraft would often taxi between the two areas.

24 Squadron moved from the Stock Route airfield to the Ross River airfield where they lived in tents with bedding filled with local grass.

On 12 December 1941 there were 12 Wirraways of 24 Squadron based in Townsville according to a Table on page 67 of "Australian Air Force since 1911" by N.M. Parnell & C.A. Lynch. They were later transferred to Rabaul on 21 December 1941.

The squadron, comprising only 10 Wirraways, reformed in Townsville on 5 February 1942 under the command of Wing Commander J.R. Perrin.  

The squadron moved from Aitkenvale air field to Ross River airfield on 6 June 1942.  

On 7 June 1942, two Wirraways (A20-490 and A20-493) of 24 Squadron collided in mid air over Woodstock killing Flight Sergeant Observer Maxwell Kemp Russell who was buried at the Townsville War Cemetery.  3 other crew members parachuted to safety. A memorial was erected at the Thuringowa RSL in August 1995 in memory of Maxwell Kemp Russell.

Wirraway A20-84 of 24 Squadron RAAF crashed and burnt out on Mount Louisa on 26 June 1942. The 2 crew, Gledhill and Gould were buried at the Townsville War Cemetery.

24 Squadron RAAF was based at Manbullo airfield in the Northern Territory near Katherine from June to September 1944.


B-24 Liberator of 24 Squadron RAAF being loaded with 300lbs bombs
in about September 1944 at Manbullo airfield. LAC L.J. Evans and
LAC C.J. Allen are carrying fins to be attached to the bombs.


Forced Landing of a Wirraway
on Great Palm Island on 10 May 1942


Crash of a P-39 Airacobra
at Bankstown airfield, NSW
on 6 October 1942


Crash of a P-39 Airacobra
1 mile west of Bankstown airfield
on 26 October 1942


Crash of a P-39 Airacobra
2 miles south of Luddenham, NSW
On 19 February 1943


Crash of a P-39 Airacobra
at Bankstown airfield 
on 24 February 1943


Loss of a B-24 Liberator
near Timor on 23 January 1945


24sqn03.jpg (34756 bytes) 

Send off for 24 Squadron members from Bankstown airfield at Grace Bros. auditorium in Sydney prior to their departure for Tsilei Tsilei on 30 October 1943. In the picture are Junior Warner, Snow Sefton, Norm Gathercole, Doggie Hanes, Geoff Stevenson, Butch Pyke, Nip Weatherby, Ken Jones, Ned Burnett, Laurie Ryan and Kempy Hewitt.

24sqn04.jpg (24537 bytes) 

24 Squadron Vultee Vengeances at Nadzab, New Guinea. Vengeance GR-N was crewed by Lou Stevens and Guy Main.

24sqn05.jpg (58025 bytes) 

Geoff Stevenson being interviewed by the intelligence officer Ian Johnson after a raid. Norm Gathercole watching on.

24sqn06.jpg (18531 bytes) 

Sergeant Doug Hanbury, observer/wireless operator/gunner of 24 Squadron RAAF - Jack of all trades!

24sqn07.jpg (26337 bytes) 24sqn08.jpg (23536 bytes)
24sqn09.jpg (34592 bytes)  


Frank Ellis - 24 Squadron RAAF
includes numerous photographs from Frank's album


LAC Colton Daveney - 24 Squadron RAAF
includes numerous photographs


Flight Sergeant Jack McNally - 24 Squadron RAAF
includes numerous photographs


24 Squadron Wirraways
fly under the Sydney Harbour Bridge


24 Squadron RAAF Association, Victoria
197 Jasper Road
Secretary George Holden
(03) 9557 2015



"Classic Wings Downunder"
Issue Six


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This page first produced 5 July 1998

This page last updated 20 February 2020