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New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force (Vol. II)

No. 489 Squadron

No. 489 Squadron

Squadron Motto: Whakatangata Kia Kaha (Quit ye like men, be strong).

Date and Place of Formation: 12 August 1941 – Leuchars, Fife, Scotland.

Commanding Officers:

Wg Cdr J. A. S. Brown August 1941 to October 1942
Wg Cdr V. C. Darling October 1942 to August 1943
Wg Cdr J. S. Dinsdale August 1943 to August 1944
Wg Cdr L. A. Robertson August 1944 to February 1945
Wg Cdr D. H. Hammond February 1945 to August 1945


Leuchars, Fife August 1941 to March 1942
Thorney Island, Hants March 1942 to August 1942
Skitten, Nr. Wick, Caithness August 1942 to September 1942
Wick, Caithness September 1942 to October 1943
Leuchars October 1943 to April 1944
Langham, Norfolk April 1944 to October 1944
Dallachy, Morayshire October 1944 to June 1945
Banff, Banffshire June 1945 to August 1945


Formed as a torpedo-bomber squadron, No. 489 began training with Beaufort aircraft which were to be replaced by Blenheims and finally Hampdens before the squadron became operational. Early sorties were anti-submarine patrols and it was not until August 1942 that the squadron turned to its role of search and attack of enemy shipping. Operating along the Norwegian coast and in the North Sea, it then achieved notable success; crews also flew air-sea rescue searches and anti-submarine patrols and escorted naval vessels and merchant convoys. In October 1943 No. 489 was withdrawn from operations and the obsolete Hampden was replaced by the Beaufighter. In April 1944 it joined forces with No. 455 Australian Squadron to form the Anzac Strike Wing which operated with great success during the last year of the war.

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First Operation:

11 May 1942 Anti-submarine patrols by three Hampdens off the west coast of France.

Last Operation:

21 May 1945 Two Beaufighters flew anti-submarine patrols off the Norwegian coast.

Disbanded: 1 August 1945

Effort and Achievements:

No. 489 Squadron flew 2380 sorties totalling 9773 hours. By the end of May 1944 crews had sunk 11 ships totalling 38,700 tons and damaged a further 13 vessels. During the last year of war No. 489 flew as part of a wing which sank 19 ships totalling 67,000 tons and 12 escort vessels; a further 18 cargo ships and 49 escorts were damaged.

Decorations won by New Zealanders with the squadron were:

Distinguished Service Order 2 Distinguished Flying Medal 1
Bar to DFC 1 Conspicuous Gallantry Medal 1
Distinguished Flying Cross 19