Tindal airfield


The 1st Battalion of the 43rd Engineer General Services Regiment, US Corps of Engineers arrived at Katherine on 26 April 1942. Carson's Field (or Kit Carson's Field) was originally built in 1942 by the 43rd Engineer General Services Regiment and the Civil Construction Corps (CCC). It was located 17kms from Katherine in the Northern Territory and was located about 320kms by road south east of Darwin. In March 1942, approximately 10% of the construction had been completed by the 43rd Engineer General Services Regiment. More work was done by civilian labour.

In September 1942 work was still underway. The airfield camp had been completed and was occupied by No 5 Replenishing Centre. In mid 1944 the airfield was still being finished. At that time, Nos 1 and 3 Airfield Construction Squadrons of No 61 Works Wing were responsible for construction in the area. 

Carson's Field, Katherine Airfield and Daly Waters Airfield were designed to operate heavy B-24 Liberator bombers. However there were never any aircraft squadrons based at Carson's Field and the airfield was never used operationally during WW2.

Carson's Field was renamed for Wing Commander Archibal R. Tindal who flew one of two Wirraways in an unsuccessful attempt to attack Japanese aircraft that bombed Rabaul in January 1942. In February 1942 Tindal was the Armament Staff Officer, at Headquarters, North-Western Area in Darwin. When the Japanese raided RAAF Base Darwin, on 19 February 1942, Wing Commander Tindal operated a Vickers machine gun in a slit trench. A Japanese fighter aircraft killed Tindal with a burst of cannon fire. It is understood that he may have been the first RAAF servicemen to be killed in action on the Australian soil. A street in Katherine has also been named after Wing Commander Tindal.

Tindal Airfield is still an operational RAAF base and is now known as RAAF Base Tindal. No. 5 Airfield Construction Squadron RAAF rebuilt Tindal airfield as a Bare Base between 1963 and 1970. The RAAF base at Tindal was then extensively redeveloped in 1980's. The Delamere Air Weapons Range and Bradshaw Range are located nearby.


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This page first produced 15 September 2002

This page last updated 13 January 2020