No. 451 Squadron

Motto: -

Formed on 25 February 1941 at Bankstown at travelled to Egypt in May and on 1 July took over No 6 Squadron's duties at Qasaba. Operating in the tactical reconnaissance role, its Hurricanes operated from within the Tobruk perimeter and supported ground forces during Operation Crusader.

The squadron was rested in January 1942 being sent to Syria for non-operational flying duties, whilst providing a flight for the defence of Cyprus. This flight stripped its aircraft down to the absolute minimum in order to attempt interceptions of high flying German Ju86Ps.

It was a year later before the squadron returned to operations in Egypt and it changed roles to that of pure fighter. Equipped with both Hurricanes and a few Spitfires it was tasked with the defence of the Delta area. It spent the next year in a virtual back-water and morale suffered accordingly, however in January 1944, it received Spitfire IXs and in March moved to Corsica, from where it flew offensive patrols and participated in Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France. In October 1944 it moved to Italy but the following month found itself en-route to the UK.

It began operations from Britain on 5 January 1945 and quickly made up for missed actions elsewhere. In September the squadron joined the British Air Forces of Occupation but on 21 January 1946, it was disbanded at Wunstorf.

Squadron Codes used: -
BQ 1943 - Nov 1944
NI Nov 1944 - Jan 1946

Glossary: Article XV Squadrons ; Battles for Tobruk ; Crusader Offensive ; Empire Air Training Scheme ; Invasion of southern France ; Italian Campaign

Equipment:
Hawker Hurricane
Westland Lysander
Supermarine Spitfire

Battle Honours:
France and Germany 1944-1945
Rhine
Egypt and Libya 1940-1943
Mediterranean 1940-1943
Italy 1943-1945
Casualties: 28 (18 Australian) killed

Commanding Officers

Langslow, Walter Lovell
Pelly, Blake Raymond
Pope, Vincent Alvan
Williams, Richard Delwyn
Ferguson, Alan Douglas
Chapman, Dixie Robinson
Paine, James
Stevens, Reginald Noel Basil (Reg)
Kirkham, Edgar Exley
Gale, Walter William Beresford
McBurnie, Donald Hindle
Small, Gordon Wesley
Robertson, Colin Walton
Falconer, Graham
Decorations

Australian personnel only:

5 DFC & 1 bar
9 MID
For more information please see Honours and Awards database

References:

AWM 64, RAAF formation and unit records ORMF 0118, Roll 80 1/210 May 1941 - September 1943
AWM 64, RAAF formation and unit records ORMF 1/211 May 1941 - January 1946
AWM 64, RAAF formation and unit records ORMF 1/212 October 1943 - January 1946
Units of the Royal Australian Air Force: a concise history. Volume 2 fighter units, (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995).
Barton, L. L., Bankstown to Berlin with 451 (R.A.A.F.) Squadron, 1941 - 1946, (Sydney: 451 (R.A.A.F.) Squadron Association, 1996).


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