No. 5 Communication Flight was formed at Garbutt Airfield, in Townsville on 1 December 1942, its purpose being to provide communications for North Eastern Area. The Commanding Officer F/Lt E. M. Dunn arrived on 5 December 1942. They received the following aircraft in December 1942:-

13 Dec 42    Avro Anson DJ447    Ferried from Bankstown
17 Dec 42    D.H.84 A34-24         Ferried from Richmond
18 Dec 42    D.H.84 A34-28         Ferried from Bankstown

A Vultee Vengeance detachment moved to Mareeba in October 1944 and returned to Garbutt Airfield on 21 May 1945 after 6 months on Army Co-operation.

The unit was later renamed to 5 Communications Unit RAAF. They flew to Dunk Island on a number of occasions, most likely to visit the RAAF 27 Radar Station located on the island. 5 Communications Unit had a variety of aircraft including,

7 DH-84 Dragons (A34-78/84/28/50/25/80/83)
1 Avro Anson (DJ447)
3 Tiger Moths (A17-684/483/484)
1 Walrus (W2705)
1 Oxford (VH-COA)
? Norseman
? Vultee Vengeance
? Bristol Beaufort.


Crash landing of a D.H.82 of 5CU at Garbutt
Airfield, Townsville on 9 October 1943



I'd like to thank Ross McNeill (RossMcN@aol.com) of Worcestershire, UK, who is a  researcher specialising in sea losses of Allied aircraft 1939-45.  His Beaufort data comes from the RAF 800 movement cards held at the RAF Museum, Hendon. Ross spent a few months transcribing the info in about 1997.

Jim Purdon, of The Gap, in Brisbane, told me on 4 July 1999, that he was in No. 5 Communication Unit, based at Garbutt from about August 1944 until December 1945. Prior to that he had been in Darwin. He said they had a variety of aircraft including Tiger Moths, Vultee Vengeance and Norseman.

I'd like to thank Gordon Birkett for his assistance with this web page.


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 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 26 April 1999

This page last updated 26 April 1999