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Royal New Zealand Air Force

los negros

los negros

A works party was sent to Los Negros, the most westerly base from which the RNZAF operated, early in September. Later a doubt arose as to whether New Zealanders would be stationed there and a number of the men were withdrawn. Eight were left, with instructions to be prepared to move at short notice and to carry on with general construction work in the meantime.

In November the American Command decided that the island should, after all, come within ZEAIRTAF's sphere of responsibility. The surprise raid by Japanese aircraft on the 9th caused page 272 COMAIRNORSOLS to ask for the immediate despatch of a fighter squadron, and as a result No. 23 Squadron was sent from Bougainville on 16 November with a number of men of No. 4 Servicing Unit, who were carried in transport aircraft.

Despite shortages of material, the works party had done a very creditable job in preparing a camp. With American help they had erected and built a mess quonset hut, canteen, post office, medical hut and headquarters. There was still a great deal of construction to be completed, however, and for the first week all personnel were engaged in completing the living quarters, messes, ration stores, and maintenance sections. No flying could be done until the ground staffs were able to operate.

Until the RNZAF camp was organised the men ate at an American mess some six miles away. As transport was extremely scarce, this caused some inconvenience.