238 SQUADRON RAF
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

hline.gif (2424 bytes)

 

238 Squadron RAF flew Hurricanes and then Spitfires in North Africa and Italy in the early part of the war in Europe. The Squadron was disbanded on 26 October 1944.

5 weeks later on 1 December 1944, 238 Squadron RAF was reformed as a transport squadron at Merryfield, Somerset, and was equipped with the Dakota Mk III and Mk IV. As a transport squadron, the intention was for it to move to Australia to support the British Pacific Fleet which was moving to the Pacific at that time from the India Ocean. However, while in transit to Australia, it was decided to use 238 Squadron to support the 14th Army operations in India / Burma. The Squadron moved to Rajpur in India on 22 February 1945.

The outward journey from Merryfield was via St Mawgan, Cornwall, to Istres near Marseilles then Castel Benito and El Adem, both in Libya, then on to Tel Aviv, Palestine and Shaibah Iraq. From Iraq the Squadron flew via Sharjah in the Gulf, to Karachi and the Raipur, arriving on 22 March 1945. On 13 March 1945 they relocated to Comilla (now known as Cumilla, in Bangladesh). 

After four months in India, 238 Squadron then relocated to Australia.

16 Dakotas moved to Parafield, near Adelaide in South Australia with the first batch leaving on 26 June 1945 and arriving on 2 July 1945. The last group arrived at Parafield on 11 July 1945. The Squadron aircraft flew in formation from Comilla (Cumilla) as follows:-

Day 1 Comilla Calcutta Ratmalana
Day 2 Rest
Day 3 Ratmalana Cocos Islands
Day 4 Cocos Islands Learmonth
Day 5 Learmonth Perth
Day 6 Restg
Day 7 Perth Parafield

At the time this was one of the longest relocation flights (in formation) of any RAF Transport Squadron, though not all the Squadron personnel flew with the aircraft to Australia. Some personnel followed by sea. Another 14 Dakotas relocated from Comilla to Schofields in New South Wales with 243 Squadron.

Squadron Leader A. W. G. "Tony" Le Hardy was the Commanding Officer of 238 Squadron RAF.

NAA File Item ID 639302 shows that RAF Transport aircraft VM-YCV was involved in an accident at Parafield, SA on 23 October 1945. NAA File Item ID 1050841 covers suspect sabotage of RAF aircraft at Parafield and Richmond.

The Commanding Officer and senior officers of 238 Squadron RAF at Parafield sent out invitations to a late afternoon party to be held at the South Australian Hotel at 5:45pm on Friday 9 November 1945.

238 Squadron and its 30 Dakotas was part of 300 Group RAF whilst it was in Australia.

 


Photo:- Nigel Daw collection

Dakota KN465 a Parafield in 1945

 


Photo:- Nigel Daw collection

Dakota VM-YBV in 1945

 


Photo:- Nigel Daw collection

P.W.T. Dunn of 238 Squadron RAF at Parafield in 1945

 


Photo:- Nigel Daw collection

Gracie Fields exiting a 238 Squadron aircraft at Parafield

 


Photo:- AWM P02516.001

 RAAF aircrew who served in RAF squadrons flying in India and Burma, crowd
 the deck of the SS Sontay. They left Calcutta, India, on 17 October 1945.

 

The troopship Sontay reached the Outer Harbour in Adelaide on 25 October 1945 carrying 1,035 RAF and RAAF personnel. As the Sontay nosed into the harbour, a Dakota "Shot her up", performing daredevil feats. A Spitfire also did some low runs past the Sontay and performed some victory rolls. Included in the 600 airmen who disembarked at the Outer Harbour were 48 South Australians and 130 Tasmanians and Victorians most of whom had come from the Burma operational area. A complete wing of 376 RAF men went direct from the Sontay to Parafield Airfield by train where they joined 238 Squadron RAF of which they were a part.

 


Photo:- Nigel Daw collection

238 Squadron Dakota flying past the SS Sontay in the Outer Harbour

 

The Squadron was finally disbanded on 27 December 1945. Many of these crews later emigrated to Adelaide as they had had such a great time here.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Alan Cook for his assistance with this home page. His father served with 238 Squadron RAF in Australia towards the end of the war. 

I'd also like to thank Lawrence Hayward from Middlesex, whose father also served with 238 Squadron in Australia during WW2. His father lives in Dorset.

I'd also like to thank Nigel Daw and Bob Livingstone for their assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

Disclaimer

Please e-mail me
any information or photographs


"Australia @ War"
8GB USB Memory Stick

This page first produced in 2005

This page last updated 11 October 2021