ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE
IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA DURING WWII
Adelaide - Gawler - Mallala - Mount Gambier -
Parafield - Port Pirie - Victor Harbor
by Peter Ingman
At the start of the Second World War there was no
permanent RAAF presence in South Australia, but within just two
years there were several facilities housing thousands of personnel
and hundreds of aircraft. The bulk of this hurried expansion
involved Empire Air Training Scheme facilities and saw some 23,000
South Australians serve locally with the RAAF.
New air bases were constructed at Port Pirie, Mallala and Mount Gambier while an elementary flying training school was run from Adelaide's existing airport at Parafield. Other large ground training facilities were established at Victor Harbor and in central Adelaide.
After Japan's entry into the war Avro Anson training aircraft were formed into reserve squadrons to protect South Australia's coasts. A 1942 scheme saw a ring of airfields planned for the defence of Adelaide itself. Ultimately, just one of these was completed, Gawler, and it became the only wartime South Australian airfield with a sealed runway. No. 86 Squadron, flying Kittyhawk fighters, and No. 21 Squadron, flying Vengeance dive-bombers, were both based there during 1943.
In the final two years of the war Parafield was busy as a centre for C-47 Dakota operations, housing both an Australian and a British transport squadron.
In 1945 the RAAF presence in South Australia ended as quickly as it began, and for this reason the story has been mostly forgotten. Some 147 members of the RAAF died in the state during the war and now the history surrounding their sacrifice can be told.
Soft cover, 297 mm x 210 mm
Many B & W photos
96 pages, 3 Appendices
Two page name index
Buy your copy here
"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products
© Peter Dunn OAM 2020
This page first produced 26 February 2021
This page last updated 26 February 2021