Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Royal New Zealand Air Force

no. 23 squadron

no. 23 squadron

No. 23 (Fighter) Squadron had formed at Ardmore in August 1944 under the command of Squadron Leader de Willimoff.1 It moved to Santo for further training in September, and to Guadalcanal in October. At the end of October it was posted to Piva, where it flew daily bombing missions against Japanese positions on Bougainville until the 14th.

It began operations from Los Negros on 22 November and became responsible for the fighter defence of the island. Throughout the tour, which lasted until early in January, it had servicing difficulties. There was practically no sea transport available between Bougainville and Los Negros, and the servicing unit had to work shorthanded and without its heavy equipment. Additional men were sent from Bougainville in small parties by transport plane as opportunity offered, but it was not until the end of January that the servicing unit received its full complement of men and equipment.

Operations consisted of dawn and dusk patrols, and scrambles whenever strange aircraft were reported by radar. The latter occurred on an average once a day. Often the strangers were identified as friendly, but on a number of occasions they sheered off in the direction of Rabaul before coming within range of the New Zealand fighters, and could with certainty be classified as Japanese.

1 Wg Cdr J. J. de Willimoff, MBE, DFC; Dargaville; born Auckland, 14 Feb 1917; farmer.