No. 5 Central Recovery Depot was formed at Mallala, South Australia on 1 February 1944 under its Commanding Officer T.M. Carroll with a strength of 28 airmen and 3 WAAAFs. A further 33 airmen and 1 WAAAF of 5 CRD were attached to No 2 Operational Training Unit at Mildura.

5 CRD had Detachments at Waymouth Street, Adelaide known as Detachment A and another at Parafield, in South Australia.

Discussions were held on 29 March 1944 regarding a possible move to Gawler, but this did not proceed. Parafield was also found to be unsuitable after an inspection.

Orders were received on 6 September 1944 for 5 CRD to relocate to Port Pirie in South Australia. Flying Officer Johnson led an advance party to Port Pirie on 11 September 1944. The move to Port Pirie was completed by 17 September 1944. A three man rear guard was left behind at Mallala to service Fairey Battle aircraft.

Salvage work commenced immediately whilst decisions on the final location for the depot was discussed. Pilot Officer Johnson travelled to Ceduna to assess damage to a P-40 Kittyhawk. Recovery operations for 5 CRD extended to places such as Cooks Plains, Mount Bryan, Ceduna, Yunta, Murray Bridge, Broken Hill and Alice Springs to recover Fairey Battle, Vultee Vengeance, Kittyhawk, Spitfire, Beaufort, Tiger Moth and Lockheed Hudson aircraft.

Squadron Leader A. H. Cottee took over as Commanding Officer on 10 May 1945.


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