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Pilots of No. 457 Squadron receive final instructions at the airstrip for their flight back to Australia in October 1945. All of the Squadron's aircraft were painted with a shark's mouth, earning the Squadron the nickname the 'Grey Nurse Squadron'.

No. 457 Squadron was a Royal Australian Air Force fighter squadron of World War II. The Squadron was formed in 1941 and was disbanded in 1945 after seeing action in both the European and Pacific theatres of the war.



No. 457 Squadron was formed at Baginton in England on 16 June 1941. Equipped with Supermarine Spitfire fighter aircraft the squadron completed its training and began flying operational patrols from the Isle of Man in August. These patrols did not result in any contact with German aircraft and the Squadron partially served as an operational training unit supplying Spitfire pilots to other squadrons. In March 1942 the Squadron moved to Red Hill Airfield in Surrey and began flying shipping protection patrols and fighter sweeps over northern France. The Squadron continued in this role until May when it was withdrawn from operations ahead of being deployed to Australia.

No. 457 Squadron departed Britain in June 1942 and arrived in Australia in August. Although the Squadron reassembled at RAAF Base Richmond in September it did not receive replacement Spitfires until November. In January 1943 No. 457 Squadron arrived in Darwin where it formed part of No. 1 Wing RAAF which was tasked with defending the town from Japanese air attacks. The Squadron participated in a number of air battles over Darwin during the first half of 1943 and claimed its first victory in the Pacific Theatre on 7 March 1943. Japanese air activity over northern Australia was rare from late July 1943, however, and the Squadron saw little combat until it commenced ground attack operations over the Netherlands East Indies in April 1944. In February 1945 No. 457 Squadron moved to Morotai Island where it continued in the ground attack role as part of the Australian First Tactical Air Force. The Squadron was redeployed to Labuan Island off Borneo in June where it took part in the later stages of the Borneo Campaign. Following the end of the war No. 457 Squadron was disbanded at Labuan on 7 November 1945.





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  • Grant, Jim and Phil Listemann. No.457 (R.A.A.F.) Squadron, 1941-1945; Spitfire. France: WWW.RAF-in-Combat.COM, 2008. ISBN 2-9526381-2-8.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918-1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G. MBE, BA, RAF (Retd.). RAF Squadrons, A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1998 (Second edition 2001). ISBN 978-1-84037-141-2.
  • RAAF Historical Section. Units of the Royal Australian Air Force, A Concise History. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995. ISBN 0-64442-798-1.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (new edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Smith, Frank and Peter Malone. Spitfire Markings of the RAAF: Pacific area 1944-45, part 2. Dandenong, Victoria, Australia: Kookaburra Technical Publications, 1971. ISBN 0-85880-007-1.

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