RAAFA Sunderland

Brief history of 10 Squadron

10 Squadron RAAF, was the only Australian squadron to serve continuously for the duration of the Second World War in Europe.

At the end of July 1939, a small group of squadron personnel proceeded from Rathmines to the United Kingdom for training on new Sunderland aircraft which, it was planned, would then fly back to Australia. While these personnel were in Britain, the Second World War was declared and the Australian Government ordered the squadron to remain there to assist the British war effort. The first casualties for Australia in World War 2 were John Bell and Charles Harris.

The Bay of Biscay became the focus of the squadron’s operations in 1941 when it hunted German submarines moving from bases in France to the Atlantic. No. 10 squadron sank a total of 6 U-boats with unit losses of 19 aircraft and 189 men.

10 Squadron ceased operations on 1 June 1945 while preparing to deploy to the Pacific theatre prior to Japanese surrender.  It disbanded in October 1945 but reformed in 1949 to increase the RAAF’s reconnaissance capabilities. Today it is our maritime squadron including service in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Brief history of 461 Squadron

461 Squadron RAAF was formed on Anzac Day April 1942 as an anti-submarine squadron.  Some aircrew had previously flown with 10 Squadron but most were inexperienced. The squadron mainly conducted daylight anti-submarine patrols over the Bay of Biscay.

461 Squadron was disbanded in June 1945 having destroyed a total of 6 German submarines. This was at the cost of 20 Sunderlands to enemy action and accidents. 86 squadron members of all nationalities were killed on operation, including 64 Australians.


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