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

No. 490 Squadron

No. 490 Squadron

Squadron Motto: Taniwha Kei Runga (The Taniwha is in the air).

Date and Place of Formation: 28 March 1943 – Jui, West Africa.

Commanding Officers:

Wg Cdr D. W. Baird June 1943 to November 1943
Wg Cdr B. S. Nicholl November 1943 to October 1944
Wg Cdr T. F. Gill October 1944 to June 1945

Base: Jui, West Africa


Flying Boat Squadron engaged on anti-submarine patrols, convoy escort, and air-sea rescue in the Freetown area. No. 490 was originally equipped with Catalinas but later converted to Sunderlands. The first Sunderland patrol was flown in the middle of May 1944 and the squadron continued to operate with these aircraft until the end of the war.

First Operation:

2 July 1943 Convoy escort patrol by one Catalina.

Last Operation:

6 May 1945 Patrol by one Sunderland.

Disbanded: 1 August 1945

Effort and Achievements:

No. 490 Squadron flew 463 sorties totalling 4853 hours. In addition to some fine rescue work, the squadron made a substantial contribution to the safe passage of Allied convoys through West African waters. A New Zealander with the squadron was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.