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Royal New Zealand Air Force

operations in the south pacific area

operations in the south pacific area

While the war was being pushed to a successful conclusion in the north, RNZAF establishment in the South Pacific continued to page 310 play their part in maintaining lines of communication and administrative services. Fighter squadrons were stationed at Santo and Guadalcanal until April, spending a few weeks there on garrison duties and training before going on to the forward area. The practice ceased when the American Command decided that garrison forces were no longer necessary in the South Pacific.

Bomber-reconnaissance squadrons operated from Fiji and Guadalcanal until March and June respectively. No. 9 Squadron relieved No. 8 at Nausori at the beginning of the year and sent a detached flight to Funafuti. Operations from both places comprised anti-submarine patrols, all of which were uneventful.

At Guadalcanal No. 3 Squadron, coming up from New Zealand for its third tour, started operations on 9 February. When it moved forward to Green Island in March it was relieved by No. 1. No. 4 Squadron took over from No. 1 in May, and stayed at Guadalcanal until 22 June. The duties of all three squadrons were similar: dawn and dusk anti-submarine patrols over the central and southern Solomons, and escorts for Allied shipping in the area. At no time during the year was any enemy craft seen.

Of the two flying-boat squadrons, No. 5 operated from Segond Channel, on Santo, until after the war, when it was withdrawn to Lauthala Bay. No. 6 was based at Halavo Bay, Florida Island, with detached flights at various times at Funafuti, Emirau, Los Negros, Green Island and Jacquinot Bay. Both squadrons flew long-range anti-submarine patrols, all of which were uneventful, and carried out occasional transport flights and air-sea rescue missions.