By John Lever

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The RAAF's first fighter Operational Training Unit, No. 2 (Fighter) OTU, is generally recorded as having been formed at Port Pirie in South Australia on 6 April 1942, under the temporary command of  Squadron Leader Alan Rawlinson DFC & Bar. It is also recorded that the first aircraft, seventeen Wirraways and two Fairey Battles, were allotted to the unit on the same day. However the unit actually had its beginnings prior to that time, at No. 1 OTU RAAF West Sale in Victoria.

On 27 April 1942, Wing Commander Peter Jeffrey DSO, DFC, MID, assumed command of the Unit. Port Pirie had only been a temporary home for No. 2 OTU. The unit's equipment and personnel then moved by rail to the newly constructed RAAF base at Mildura, Victoria, on 14 May 1942. The Wirraways and Fairey Battles flew from Port Pirie on the same day.

Because No. 2 OTU was to become an OTU for Kittyhawk pilots only, No. 8 OTU was formed to take over the operational training of Spitfire and Boomerang pilots. To obtain ground crew and a site for the new OTU, No. 5 Elementary Flying Training School at Narromine was disbanded. No. 8 OTU was then formed at Narromine, New South Wales, on 25 June 1944 under the temporary command of Wing Commander K. Parsons DFC.

After only 10 weeks at Narromine, No. 8 OTU began to move to RAAF Station Parkes in New South Wales. An advanced party from the Unit went to Parkes on 15 September 1942.


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This page first produced 24 February 2012

This page last updated 21 January 2020