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No. 451 Squadron Spitfire fighters being serviced at a North African airfield in early 1944

No. 451 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force was formed during World War II, 451 Squadron came into existence at Bankstown in New South Wales on February 12, 1941. The squadrons motto was Into the midst from above.

Raised under the Empire Air Training Scheme the squadron became operational in Egypt on 1 July 1941. The squadron at first flew Hawker Hurricanes and Westland Lysander utility aircraft, the squadron was employed in an army co-operation role. It carried out reconnaissance missions, directed artillery fire and engaged enemy troops, vehicles and emplacements on the ground. 451 Squadron continued operations in the Western Desert until January 1942. In February the squadron was relocated to Syria, during this time the squadron was virtually in an inactive state following a decision by the Australian Air Board not to allow 451 Squadron to be converted to a fighter squadron. In January 1943 the squadron moved to Egypt as part of the Nile Delta defences and finally began to retrain as a fighter squadron. During 1943 three "Tropicalised" Hawker Typhoons were trialled by the unit. In early 1944, 451 Squadron was re-equipped with Supermarine Spitfire fighters and relocated to Corsica to assist operation in Southern Europe. The squadron moved to Great Britain in late 1944 and then onto Germany in 1945. It was planned that the squadron would form a long-term Australian presence among the occupation forces but sufficient volunteers could not be found to make this a viable proposition. Thus, on 21 January 1946 the squadron disbanded.

During the war the squadron suffered 28 (18 Australian) fatalities.

References

Australian War Memorial

See also

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