RAAF No. 54 Squadron

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No. 54 Squadron RAF
Group Squadron Base County Arrived Comments
11 54 Hornchurch Essex 3/9/1939 Spitfire I.
11 54 Rochford Essex 28/10/39  
11 54 Hornchurch Essex 3/11/1939  
11 54 Rochford Essex 17/11/39  
11 54 Hornchurch Essex 2/12/1939  
11 54 Rochford Essex 16/12/39  
11 54 Hornchurch Essex 29/12/39  
11 54 Rochford Essex 16/01/40  
11 54 Hornchurch Essex 14/02/40  
11 54 Rochford Essex 23/03/40  
11 54 Hornchurch Essex 20/04/40  
13 54 Catterick Yorkshire 28/05/40  
11 54 Hornchurch Essex 4/6/1940  
11 54 Rochford Essex 25/06/40  
11 54 Hornchurch Essex 24/07/40  
13 54 Catterick Yorkshire 28/07/40  
11 54 Hornchurch Essex 8/8/1940  
13 54 Catterick Yorkshire 3/9/1940 Spitfire IIa, 02/41.
11 54 Hornchurch Essex 23/02/41  
11 54 Rochford Essex 31/03/41  
11 54 Hornchurch Essex 20/05/41 Spitfire Va, 05/41.
11 54 Debden Essex 11/6/1941  
11 54 Hornchurch Essex 13/06/41 Spitfire Vb, 07/41.
11 54 Martlesham Heath Suffolk 4/8/1941  
11 54 Hornchurch Essex 25/08/41  
13 54 Castletown Caithness 17/11/41 Spitfire IIb, 11/41.
12 54 Wellingore Lincolnshire 2/6/1942 To Australia 19/06/42.
Australia Arrived From  
RAAF 54 Ascot Vale 13.08.42 24.08.42 Show Ground Building EPSOM Rd. Melbourne
RAAF 54 Richmond 24.08.42 13.01.43 Airfield Temp Huts Percival St Windsor
RAAF 54 Sydney 13.01.43 25.01.43 Sydney
RAAF 54 Parap 25.01.43 09.05.44 Airfield Temp Huts 2 Miles St. Darwin
RAAF 54 Potshot 09.05.44 19.05.44 Airfield Tents  Exmouth Gulf
RAAF 54 Livingstone 19.05.44 23.10.44 Airfield Huts.Tent 34 Miles Sth. Darwin
RAAF 54 Parap 23.10.44 30.10.45 Airfield Temp Huts 2 Miles Sth. Darwin
RAAF 54 Melbourne 30.10.44 31.10.45 Unit was disbanded

Japanese Dinah shot down by RAAF 54 Squadron
Truscott Airfield, July 1944

Pilot Lt. Kiyoshi Izuka (KIA)
Observer Lt. Hisao Itoh (KIA)
Shot Down July 20, 1944

Aircraft History

This aircraft was the last Japanese plane shot down over the Australian mainland. Also, the only Japanese aircraft shot down over Western Australia.

Mission History

Took off from Koepang at 0730 hours. Picked up by RAAF No 326 Radar Station at Cape Leveque and logged at 0835 hours. FLTLTs Gossland and Meakin and FSGT Knapp of RAAF 54 Squadron were placed on alert and placed on standby to scramble at 0845 hours. The three Spitfires intercepted the Dinah at 27,000' over Truscott. Gossland made the first attack, striking the engines, port wing and fuselage. The "Dinah" dove steeply towards the water and Meakin followed, his rounds taking the starboard wing off the aircraft. The wreckage was discovered by an American at low tide the following day, approximately 200 yards off shore.

Wreckage

Remains of the aircraft were loaded on to a barge on July 27 and transported to West Bay. No remains were found in the wreck, the only remains were apparently several pieces of flesh - it is believed these remains were buried in a quiet spot on the shore near where the aircraft crashed.

Re-Discovery of Wreckage

Contemporary reports were misleading and even the combat report made available after 30 years was misleading. The original report about the Ki-46 shoot down stated that the plane went down at Drysdale.

The plane actually crashed 20 miles away from where they reckoned it went down. The wreckage was found by accident in 1979 by John Hardie who thought it was the wreckage of a P-38 Lightning. When Stan Gajda saw his photos, he identified it as a Japanese plane, and traveled there during July 1980.

Stan Gajda adds:

"I brought back a 13ft x 4ft piece of the port wing which included the rear engine fairing and the complete flap which was half extended. Inside in Kanji was the serial number and I presently can't find any record of it and neither does my article mention it. This section also had two .303 bullet holes in it showing the Spitfire was striking from a low rear position. There was a lot of good paint remaining which was an off-white color. All skin overlaps and joints were filled with a material like our modern plastic body filler. The inside of the flap was a pale yellow color. This piece is still held by the WA Aviation Heritage Museum"

Presentation to Japanese Relatives

Stan Gajda sent some small pieces of the plane to the relatives of the crew in Japan who were extremely grateful, they had not known what had happened to it.

Web Reference:

Pacific Wrecks - http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/ki-46/truscott.html

 

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This webpage was updated 25th January 2019