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Royal New Zealand Air Force

no. 4 (bomber-reconnaissance) squadron

no. 4 (bomber-reconnaissance) squadron

On its return to New Zealand No. 3 Squadron was replaced at Emirau by No. 4, which now came up for its first tour in the forward area. It had spent the year at Nausori, Fiji, carrying out page 267 uneventful shipping and anti-submarine patrols in which, from March to June 1944, it was assisted by a flight of six PBY5As1 of an American Squadron, VP44, which was attached to it.

In January 1944 a flight of six Hudsons, which was increased the following month to eight, had been detached to Tonga. It was maintained there, patrolling the seas surrounding the Group until August. In September four aircraft were sent to Funafuti, in the Ellice Islands, to search for a suspected submarine and remained there as a detached flight, augmented a fortnight later by another four, until November.

During September the squadron discarded its Hudsons and was rearmed with Venturas, which were flown up from New Zealand.

It moved to Emirau in two echelons on 17 and 23 November, travelling in No. 40 Squadron's Dakotas and leaving its Venturas to be taken over by No. 8 Squadron which relieved it. It began operations as soon as it arrived, taking over the duties of No. 3 Squadron. When the American Corsair squadrons left for the Philippines, it also took over the daily patrol they had flown over New Ireland, looking for Japanese road transport. During its three months at Emirau it dropped a total of 351 tons of bombs on huts, buildings, bridges, roads and anti-aircraft positions, and used a quarter of a million rounds of ammunition in strafing troops and other targets.

1 PBY5A: an amphibious version of the PBY5 Catalina.