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3 Communication Unit RAAF was formed as 3 Communication Flight at Mascot airfield in Sydney on 20 June 1942 under the command of Flight Lieutenant K.H. Wood. It was part of Eastern Area and comprised a wide variety of aircraft types.

In July 1942, 3 Communication Flight commenced to ferry aircraft and passengers to many parts of Australia. Later on they were called upon to carry out anti-aircraft and artillery co-operation flights for the Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy. Other duties included towing target drogues (Vultee Vengeances) photographic and calibration duties, radio physics, and auditing emergency airfields in New South Wales.

Sqn/Ldr H.D.L. McGilvery took over as the new Commanding Officer in October 1943. 3 Communication Flight became 3 Communication Unit in November 1943.


Crash of a Vultee Vengeance at
an unknown location in New South Waleson 28 Feb 1944. 2 killed

In May 1944, a detachment of 2 Vultee Vengeances, a Tiger Moth and a Wirraway relocated to Camden in New South Wales to carry out target drogue towing for the Australian Army. F/Lt Lee-Warner was placed in charge of this small detachment of aircraft and personnel. The Vultee Vengeances at Camden returned to Mascot in June 1944.


Ground Collison between Tiger Moth and an Avro Anson
at Mascot airfield, New South wales in about June 1944


Crash of a Vultee Vengeance
at Mascot airfield on 10 July 1944


A detachment of Vultee Vengeances moved to Nowra in New South Wales where they carried out target towing for anti-aircraft gunners for the Royal Australian Navy until early 1945. They also towed targets for air-to-air gunnery practice for Hellcats and Fireflies of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.

On 31 May 1945, a very famous aircraft was allocated to 3 Communication Unit RAAF. Sir Charles Kingsford Smith's Southern Cross VH-USU, was assigned to 3 Communication Unit.

Sqn/Ldr A.N. Pentland took over as Commanding Officer of 3 Communication Unit on 13 July 1945. Sqn/Ldr J.G. Hitchcock took over as CO on 16 September 1945.

Unit Records for 3 Communication Unit finished on 28 February 1946.



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



"Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History"
"Volume 4 - Maritime and Transport Units"
by RAAF Historical


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This page first produced 14 October 2003

This page last updated 13 January 2020