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Royal New Zealand Air Force



During 1944 the RNZAF maintained two stations on Fiji: Nausori, from which a bomber-reconnaissance squadron operated, and Lauthala Bay, which had been developed into a Flying Boat Operational Training Unit.

Nausori was occupied until October by No. 4 Squadron, and from then until the end of the year by No. 8, which had recently been formed under the command of Wing Commander Parry1 in New page 278 Zealand. Operations for the year, which consisted of anti-submarine patrols, were in the main uneventful. By this time the Japanese had no submarines to spare for operations in Fijian waters. Like No. 4 Squadron before it, No. 8 maintained a detached flight at Funafuti.

No. 3 Operational Training Unit, which had been formally established in February 1944, was engaged in training Catalina crews for Nos. 5 and 6 Squadrons. Training comprised, first of all, circuits and landings, and when crews were proficient in handling the aircraft they progressed to navigation, instrument flying, gunnery, bombing, and day and night cross-country flights. Each crew consisted of a pilot, second-pilot, navigator, two wireless operator/air-gunners and three engineers. The men were posted direct from New Zealand, where they had had basic training in their roles, the pilots having learned to handle seaplanes at Hobsonville, on Walrus amphibians. Second pilots, after a tour with a squadron, returned to Lauthala Bay to qualify as captains.

1 Wg Cdr L. H. Parry, AFC; Henderson; born Westport, 26 Dec 1916; law clerk.