No. 25 Squadron RAAF

Summary

No. 25 Squadron RAAF
Australian Aermacchi MB-326.jpg
An RAAF Aermacchi MB-326 in flying training school colours; this aircraft type was flown by No. 25 Squadron during its revived operational flying squadron role (1989 - 1998) in both training and 'warbird' colour schemes as shown in the 1991 photo below.
Active1937–1946
1948 – present
CountryAustralia
BranchRoyal Australian Air Force
RoleAir Force Reserves
Part ofCombat Reserve Wing RAAF
Garrison/HQRAAF Base Pearce
Motto(s)Defendo[1]
EngagementsWorld War II
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Raymond Brownell (1938–1940)[2]
Neville McNamara (1957–1959)[3]

No. 25 (City of Perth) Squadron is a general reserve squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It is based at RAAF Base Pearce in Perth, Western Australia, and forms part of the Combat Reserve Wing. The squadron was formed in early 1937 and until early 1939 was designated as "No. 23 Squadron". During World War II, it provided local air defence for the Perth region, before undertaking Army co-operation duties in 1943–1944 and then converting to a heavy bomber role in 1945. Flying B-24 Liberators, the squadron took part in operations against Japanese targets in the Netherlands East Indies and supported Allied ground operations during the Borneo Campaign.

Following the end of hostilities, No. 25 Squadron was disbanded in mid-1946 but was re-raised two years later as a Citizen Air Force unit based in Pearce. From 1948 the squadron's reservists flew jet fighters to provide air defence over Western Australia, but the squadron ceased flying duties in 1960 and switched to the ground support role. In 1989, flying operations resumed with the Macchi as No. 25 Squadron assumed responsibility for jet introduction training and fleet support; this role ceased in 1998 and since then the squadron has been tasked with providing a pool of trained personnel to the Air Force.

History

No. 25 Squadron was formed at RAAF Station Laverton in Victoria, on 3 May 1937 and was initially known as "No. 23 (City of Perth) Squadron". It was originally tasked with providing support for the Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy, as well as pilot training. The squadron moved to RAAF Station Pearce in Perth, Western Australia, in 1938.[4] The squadron's first commanding officer was Raymond Brownell.[5] It was renamed No. 25 Squadron on 1 January 1939. Following the declaration of World War II, the squadron was allocated Australian-built Wirraways, operating these in convoy protection and anti-submarine roles off the Western Australia coast around Fremantle and Rottnest Island.[2] When Japan entered the war, the squadron also received some Brewster Buffaloes and, with these two obsolete aircraft types, No. 25 Squadron was tasked with providing the air defence of Perth, amid concerns of a possible Japanese invasion. The squadron was re-equipped with Vultee Vengeance dive bombers in August 1943 and, once the threat of invasion passed, it began joint exercises with the Army.[4]

In January 1945, the squadron was re-equipped with B-24 Liberator heavy bombers and undertook its first operation two months later out of Cunderdin—refuelling in northern Western Australia at Corunna Downs and Truscott—to bomb targets in the Dutch East Indies. For the rest of the war, No. 25 Squadron was tasked with attacking Japanese shipping and base facilities in the Dutch East Indies. The squadron also assisted in the Allied landings at Brunei Bay in northern Borneo, having re-located to Tarakan in June 1945.[2] In the months following the end of the war, No. 25 Squadron aircraft evacuated liberated prisoners of war to Australia from Morotai and Borneo. The squadron was disbanded in July 1946.[4] Its wartime losses amounted to 25 personnel killed.[2]

A No. 25 Squadron B-24-J bomber and its crew, wearing the RAAF's then khaki "summer dress" uniform, at RAAF Base Cunderdin in 1945.
RAAF photo c1972-73: No 25 Squadron [Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader H A Collits (PLT)] on an annual camp providing technical and non-technical support to Mirage lll fighter and other units at RAAF Williamtown, New South Wales. Uniforms are a mix of the RAAF's then new light blue "all-seasons" uniform and the dark blue World War II-era winter "battle dress".

No. 25 Squadron was reformed in April 1948 as a Citizen Air Force unit based in Pearce. Between 1948 and 1960, the squadron trained reservist pilots and ground crew and operated P-51 Mustangs and de Havilland Vampires, along with Tiger Moth and Wirraway trainers.[5] After receiving the Vampire jets the squadron also took over the responsibility for maintaining a fighter presence in Western Australia. In 1960, the squadron's flying role ceased and it began to concentrate on providing ground support for Permanent Air Force units. In 1989, the squadron resumed flying operations with the Italian-built Macchi jet trainer, conducting initial jet training and fleet support for the Royal Australian Navy. With the introduction of the Macchi and with a Permanent Air Force component, No. 25 Squadron was the only reserve unit with operational aircraft.[6]

On 1 July 1998, the Permanent Air Force component separated from the reserve element and reformed as No. 79 Squadron, taking with it responsibility for flying operations. No. 25 Squadron returned to its role of providing a reserve pool of trained personnel to the Air Force.[5] The squadron forms part of the RAAF's Combat Reserve Wing.[7]

Since World War II, in recognition of its flying and non-flying operations, the squadron was presented with the No. 25 Squadron Standard bearing the World War II Battle Honour Eastern Waters 1941–1945 on 31 October 1975,[8] and was granted the "Freedom of Entry to the City of Perth" by the City of Perth's Lord Mayor and Council on 2 March 1976.[9] It has also received the annual Air Force Association (AFA) Trophy for "the most proficient Air Force Reserve Squadron" nine times (1961, 1963, 1964, 1969, 1976, 1999, 2005, 2006 and 2008) since the award's inception in 1961 (the award was suspended from 2010 until its re-introduction in 2017 as an award for RAAF wings and groups).[10]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Aircraft operated by No. 25 Squadron" (PDF). Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d "No. 25 Squadron RAAF". Second World War, 1939–1945 units. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  3. ^ Dennis et al 1995, p. 374.
  4. ^ a b c Eather 1995, p. 63.
  5. ^ a b c "No 25 (City of Perth) Squadron". Royal Australian Air Force. Archived from the original on 3 January 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  6. ^ Eather 1995, pp. 63–64.
  7. ^ "Air Force Training Group". Royal Australian Air Force. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Presentation of the Standard to No 25 Squadron on Friday, 31 October 1975": Royal Australian Air Force Base Pearce, Western Australia (14 unnumbered pages): RAAF Museum History and Heritage Branch – Air Force, Point Cook, Victoria, Australia.
  9. ^ City of Perth (1976) Ceremony Program: "Conferment of the Freedom of Entry on the Commanding Officer, Officers and Men of No 25 (City of Perth) (Auxiliary) Squadron"; 2 March 1976 (20 unnumbered pages): City of Perth History Centre Collection, Perth, Western Australia
  10. ^ RAAF Units Awarded the Annual Air Force Association Trophy 1960–2020: Air Force Association (AFA) Australia, National Board of Management. Unpublished Internal Excel Spreadsheet List/Record provided by the AFA's National Secretary, 1 December 2001.
RAAF photo c1974-76: No 25 Squadron [Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader K R Page (NAV)] at its home base, RAAF Pearce, Western Australia wearing the RAAF's then (1970s – 2005) light blue "all-seasons" uniform with "cool weather" tunics. (Royal Australian Air Force#Uniforms)

References

  • Dennis, Peter; et al. (1995). The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (1st ed.). Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand. ISBN 0-19-553227-9.
  • Eather, Steve (1995). Flying Squadrons of the Australian Defence Force. Weston Creek, Australian Capital Territory: Aerospace Publications. ISBN 1-875671-15-3.

External links

  • RAAF Museum
  • No. 25 Squadron in "working dress" on exercises at RAAF Base Learmonth in 1991 – the squadron's traditional Black Swan tail emblem is clearly displayed on its Macchi aircraft.
    RAAF Squadron article
  • No. 25 Squadron C.A.F.
  • Aircraft operated by No. 25 Squadron