RNZAF 488 Squadron

Motto: Ka ngarue ratau (We shake them)

Formed in New Zealand at Rongotai in September 1941 flying Wirraways, it was sent to Singapore in October arriving the following month. Re-equipped with Buffalos, it arrived at Kallang in time for the Japanese attack against the island. However, its aircraft were totally outclassed by the Japanese fighters and by the end of January the squadron was forced to withdraw to Batavia. However, once again it was fighting a losing battle and on 23 February 1942 it left for Australia, leaving its aircraft with No 243 Squadron RAF.

The squadron reformed at Church Fenton on 25 June 1942 in the night fighter role equipped with Beaufighters. Sent to defend the Clyde area, the lack of enemy activity was relieved by occasional intruder missions carried out from bases in the south but in August 1943, the squadron received Mosquito XIIs and in September it moved to Bradwell Bay in Essex.

As part of the preparations for Overlord, the squadron was transferred to 2 TAF for night intruder operations, which it interspersed with night defensive operations against V1 flying bombs from June 1944. A move to the continent came in November, where it remained until disbanding at Gilze-Rijen on 26 April 1945.

Squadron Codes used:
NF Sep 1941 - Mar 1942
ME Jun 1942 - Apr 1945

488 Squadron Record

RAF 488 Squadron 17 Buffaloes at Kallang, Singapore

17 Buffaloes at Kallang, Singapore; 16 remaining on 25 Dec. This was the least-trained Buffalo squadron. The diarist wrote on 4 Jan: "The Squadron, thought not fully operational, has reached a high standard.... 90% of the pilots are quite at home in Buffaloes as far as throwing the machines around is concerned, but have had very little altitude flying [because] the Buffalo engine will not stand up to full-throttle climbs. We have had cases of engine loss of power through drop of oil pressure and excess oil temperature. The maximum height that can be reached is 25,000 feet." The squadron's first combat was on 12 Jan, with two Buffs lost and five damaged with no claims by the Kiwis. With only 2 Buffs remaining on 23 Jan, it handed them over to 243 Sq and was requipped with Hurricanes, and MacKenzie replaced Clouston as sqn ldr.

Sqn Ldr Wilf Clouston RAF, DFC
Flt Lt (later sqn ldr) J N MacKenzie RAF, DFC
Flt Lt J R Hutcheson RNZAF (shot down 13 Jan; shot down 17 Jan)
Plt Off Frank Oakden RNZAF (shot down 13 Jan)
Plt Off P D Gifford RNZAF
Plt Off J C Godstiff RNZAF (crashed 4 Jan; injured)
Plt Off Keith McAneny RNZAF (crashed 12 Jan; shot down 19 Jan; killed)
Plt Off H S Petit RNZAF
Plt Off G P White RNZAF
Plt Off Greville Hesketh RNZAF (shot down 15 Jan; killed)
Plt Off Bill Greenhalgh RNZAF
Plt Off Noel Sharp RNZAF (claimed a Ki-43 13 Jan; claimed a Zero 17 Jan; crashed 17 Jan)
Plt Off Frank Johnstone RNZAF (crashed 17 Jan)
Plt Off Ernie Cox RNZAF (shot down 17 Jan; killed)
Plt Off L R Farr RNZAF
Sgt W J N MacIntosh RNZAF
Sgt Ed Kuhn RNZAF (crashed 13 Jan; claimed a Ki-27 15 Jan)
Sgt Terry Honan RNZAF (shot down 12 Jan; injured)
Sgt Bob MacMillan RNZAF (shot down 12 Jan)
Sgt W R De Maus RNZAF
Sgt H J Meharry RNZAF
Sgt Don Clow RNZAF (crashed out of fuel 13 Jan)
Sgt Vic Meaclem RNZAF (crashed 12 Jan)
Sgt P E E Killick RNZAF (claimed a Zero 17 Jan)
Sgt J Burton RNZAF
Sgt C D Charters RNZAF (shot down 19 Jan; captured)
Sgt Alex Craig RNZAF (crashed 18 Dec; killed)

 

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This webpage was updated 25th January 2019