Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Royal New Zealand Air Force

no. 19 squadron at emirau

no. 19 squadron at emirau

A second servicing unit, No. 5, arrived at Emirau on 28 October 1944, having come by sea in the USS Alkaid from New Zealand by way of New Caledonia and the Solomons. The first squadron to be based on it, No. 19 (Fighter) Squadron, flew up from Guadalcanal three weeks later and became operational on 22 November, despite a number of maintenance difficulties.

At that time three American Corsair squadrons were stationed at Emirau and the New Zealand unit took over some of their operational commitments. The Americans moved out on 1 December, and No. 19 Squadron then became responsible for the fighter defence of the island by day and the maintenance of a standing patrol over Kavieng. Dawn and dusk patrols were flown daily over the island, and, in the hours between, two aircraft were kept on scramble alert in case intruders were reported.

The Kavieng patrols lasted four hours each, and three were made each day by aircraft flying in pairs. Thus there were always two New Zealand planes overhead during daylight to remind the enemy That the Allies controlled the air. Each one carried a 1000-pound page 268 bomb, which it dropped somewhere at some time during the patrol.

During the early part of the squadron's tour servicing of the aircraft was complicated by the fact that the majority of the men in No. 5 Servicing Unit had had little or no experience with Corsairs, but the position improved as time went on.

When there were enough aircraft available, formations of four or eight were sent out to bomb objectives on New Ireland, sometimes alone and sometimes in conjunction with American squadrons. On these occasions the bomb-load was two 1000-pound bombs to each aircraft. Targets were the supply area around Kavieng and native villages down the coast. Results were generally hard to assess owing to the thickness of the jungle.