No. 13 Squadron R.A.A.F.

 

 

The only operational RAAF squadron to use the Lockheed Ventura in Australia and the SWPA was No 13 Squadron. (No 459 Squadron and No 464 Squadron operated RAF Venturas in the Middle East and U.K. respectively). Formed at Darwin on 1st June 1940 with Avro Ansons, No 13 Squadron re-equipped with Lockheed Hudsons the same month. In anticipation of hostilities with Japan, Hudsons were detached to Laha and Namlea in the Netherlands East Indies. After incurring heavy losses, the Squadron consolidated at Darwin from where reconnaissance flights and bombing missions continued. Enemy air raids on Darwin prompted a partial withdrawal south to Daly Waters in February 1942 and again to Hughes in May 1942.

In April 1943, the squadron became non-operational and moved to Canberra to re-equip with Bristol Beauforts and Lockheed Venturas. Initially, the Squadron's Venturas comprised a mix of the USAAC B-34 and the USN PV-1. (The Squadron relinquished its last B-34 on 5 May 1944). During November and December, a detachment of Beauforts conducted maritime patrols from Coffs Harbour, NSW. With effect from 27 December 1943, the Beauforts were handed over to 2 Squadron and 3 Squadron detached three Venturas to Camden, NSW from where they continued maritime patrols off the east coast.

On 8 June 1944, the Squadron's Venturas departed for Cooktown, Queensland. An advance party of eight aircraft departed Cooktown for Gove in the Northern Territory on 16 August 1944. From its new base at Gove, the Squadron conducted anti-submarine patrols and strikes into the Netherlands East Indies and Timor.

On 12 June 1945, the S.S William H Seward sailed from Darwin with an advance party from 13 Squadron to a destination "believed to be Morotai". The ship duly arrived in Morotai on 26 June only to be quarantined because of a case of meningitis on board. It was not until 2 July that quarantined personnel were able to disembark! The majority of personnel who were not quarantined had proceeded to Labuan by 28 June leaving only a "skeleton staff" on board ship in Morotai. On 9 July, the remaining personnel sailed for Labuan on the liberty ship S.S. John H. Rossiter which arrived on 14 July. Setting up camp and maintenance facilities was "extremely heavy work" and the Squadron was forced to beg and borrow materials and equipment from other units. The camp was constructed using timber dunnage from the S.S. John H. Rossiter. The first six Venturas arrived in Labuan from Gove on 14 August commencing operations two days later. Initially the aircraft conducted patrols but by 28 August they were relegated to dropping propaganda leaflets! One week earlier, work had commenced to strip the Venturas of armament and radar, "evidently to prepare aircraft for transport purposes". On 4 September, North West Area Headquarters ordered that the ten Venturas remaining at Gove should proceed to Darwin to have their turrets removed prior returning Gove to uplift remaining personnel to Morotai. On 24 September, eleven Venturas arrived at Labuan via Morotai.

As hostilities wound down, the Venturas were used to support Dakotas and Liberators in repatriating Australian service personnel. After the Japanese surrender, the Squadron evacuated prisoners of war to Australia and operated courier flights to Singapore, Japan and Australia. One Ventura (A59-76) was detached to the 1st Tactical Air Force in Tokyo. The Squadron disbanded at Labuan on the 11th January 1946 but reformed at Darwin in July 1989 as a non-flying reserve unit.

 

13 Squadron Ventura Numbers
End of
Establishment
Strength
AUG43
B-34
7
B-34
2
SEP43
B-34
6
B-34
5
OCT43
B-34
9
B-34
7
NOV43
B-34
9
B-34
8
DEC43
PV-1
9
PV-1
9
B-34
0
B-34
6
JAN44
PV-1
9
Not reported
B-34
9
Not reported
FEB44
PV-1
9
PV-1
9
B-34
9
B-34
10
MAR44
PV-1
9
PV-1
9
B-34
9
B-34
11
APR44
PV-1
18
PV-1
13
B-34
0
B-34
5
MAY44
PV-1
18
PV-1
18
JUN44
PV-1
19
PV-1
18
JUL44
PV-1
19
PV-1
19
AUG44
PV-1
19
PV-1
18
SEP44
PV-1
19
PV-1
19
OCT44
PV-1
19
PV-1
17
NOV44
PV-1
19
PV-1
14
DEC44
PV-1
19
PV-1
15
JAN45
PV-1
19
PV-1
17
FEB45
From this point aircraft numbers are not reported, although motor vehicles are!



Venturas Operated by 13 Squadron


SERIAL
SF
NAME
RECEIVED
DISPOSED
LABUAN
REMARKS
B-34
A59-1
-
-
28DEC43
28APR44
No
To 2AD
A59-5
-
-
28DEC43
28APR44
No
To 2AD
A59-6
-
-
01JAN44
04MAY44
No
To 2AD
A59-7
-
-
05JAN44
28APR44
No
To 2AD
A59-8
-
-
28DEC43
03MAY44
No
To 2AD
A59-10
-
-
30DEC43
04MAY44
No
To 2AD
A59-11
-
-
22FEB44
01MAY44
No
To 2AD
A59-12
-
-
03MAR44
04MAY44
No
To 2AD
A59-13
-
-
15MAR44
16MAR44
No
Arrived u/s & returned 2AD
A59-14
-
-
06FEB44
05MAY44
No
To 2AD
A59-15
-
-

01FEB44

04MAY44
No
To 2AD
A59-19
-
-
02JAN44
08MAY44
No
To 2AD
PV-1
A59-51
-
-
10SEP43
25OCT43
No
Taxying accident at Bundaberg
A59-52
-
-
16AUG43
10NOV43
No
Crashed at Canberra
A59-53
W
-
26AUG43
06JUN45
No
Taxying accident at Gove
A59-54
-
-
10SEP43
22NOV43
No
Landiing accident at Archerfield
A59-55
-
-
16SEP43
07DEC43
No
Crashed at Gundaroo, NSW
A59-56
T
Coffee Pot
03OCT43
27JAN45
No
Crashed in sea off Bremer Is near Gove
A59-57
-
-
16OCT43
31OCT44
No
To 14ARD for maint & not returned
A59-58
-
-
17NOV43
21JAN44
No
Landing accident at Camden
A59-59
P
-
20NOV43
23JAN45
No
To 4RSU for maint & not returned
A59-60
O
-
25NOV43
22MAR45
No
Landing accident at Gove
A59-61
X/U
-
20JAN44
21MAY45
No
To 1AD
A59-62
T/U
-
26DEC43
23JUN45
No
To 2AD
A59-63
-
-
26DEC43
23JUN45
No
To 2AD
A59-64
H
-
16APR44
07FEB46
Yes
To 2AD
A59-65
R/Z
-
21JAN44
06JAN46
Yes
Was SF-Z in MAR45. To 2AD
A59-66
-
-
29MAR44
21AUG44
No
Crashed Camden 21AUG44
A59-67
F/O/K
-
24FEB44
18JAN46
TBC
Was SF-O in MAR45 & JUL45. To 2AD.
A59-68
L
-
03JAN45
06JAN46
Yes
To 2AD
A59-69
G/W
-
29APR44
18JAN46
Yes
To 2AD
A59-70
Y
-
01SEP44
09APR46
Yes
Abandoned & destroyed Koepang
A59-71
Q
-
16OCT44
06JAN46
Yes
To 2AD
A59-72
T/F
Southern Job
06MAY44
25NOV45
Yes
Crashed on take-off Balikpapan
A59-73
O
-
11JUN45
05OCT45
No
To 8CRD. Parts used to repair A59-75
A59-75
Q/P/U
-
24MAY44
02JUN45
No
To 14ARD
A59-76
E
-
01MAY44
10NOV45
Yes
Ground looped at Labuan
A59-77
D/M
-
16MAY44
18JAN46
Yes
To 2AD
A59-78
J
-
11MAY44
13JAN46
Yes
To 12ARD
A59-79
B/F
18MAY44
24JUN45
No
Crashed on take-off at Gove
A59-81
D
Wiff-Oh
25MAY44
08OCT45
Yes
Fell off trestle during maintenance
A59-83
-
-
27JUL44
19OCT44
No
Crashed into sea off West Island
A59-84
N
-
25OCT44
27JAN45
No
Crashed at Batchelor
A59-85
R
Reluctant Dragon
25OCT44
30JAN46
Yes
To 2AD
A59-86
G/C
-
18FEB45
02OCT45
TBC
To 3AD
A59-89
V
-
23JUN45
08JAN46
Yes
To 2AD
A59-95
S/Y
-
06APR45
09APR46
TBC
Abandoned & destroyed Singapore
A59-98
T
-
06APR45
06NOV45
TBC
To 1RSU
A59-99
M/K
-
20FEB45
06SEP45
Yes
Crashed on take-off and caught fire
A59-100
-
-
16JUL45
10OCT45
Yes
To AOC. To be fitted with gear ex A59-88
A59-101
B
-
21MAY45
06JAN46
Yes
To 2AD
A59-103
U/A
-
31JAN45
23JAN46
Yes
To 2AD
A59-104
S
-
06APR45
06JAN46
Yes
To 2AD

 
SOURCES
1
NAA: RAAF Form E/E.88 Airframe Record Card (aka Status Card). Series number A10297
2
NAA: RAAF Unit History sheets (Form A50) [Operations Record Book - Forms A50 and A51] Number 13 Squadron Jun 40 - Dec 45, Series number A9186.
3
RAAF Historical Section, Units of the Royal Australian Air Force, Vol. 3 Bomber Units.
 
NOTES
1
The 13 Squadron ORB (Source: 2) is remarkably detailed and usually identifies aircraft by serial number as well as listing dates that aircraft arrive and depart the Squadron. In the rare instances where this information is not recorded in the ORB, data has been drawn from the Status Cards (Source: 1). In instances where there are conflicting dates in both sources, the ORB has been given precedence.
2
Where an accident is recorded in the Remarks column the Disposal date is the date of that accident.
3
The column headed "Labuan" lists aircraft which are known to have been based at Labuan which was the Squadron's most forward base. Aircraft shown as TBC (A59-67, 86, 95 and 98) most probably were at Labuan but are not specifically mentioned in the ORB and are therefore subject to confirmation.
4
13 Squadron Venturas carried the Squadron code SF on the fuselage followed by a single letter (on the other side of the roundel) to denote individual aircraft. Where known, these codes are listed in the column headed SF. Note that some aircraft carried two or more different codes at various times..

 

ABBREVIATIONS
AD
Aircraft Depot
AOC
Air Officer Commanding
ARD
Aircraft Repair Depot
CRD
Central Recovery Depot
RSU Repair and Salvage Unit

 


Issue Date Remarks
6
21DEC16
Page completely updated from sources shown.
5
08FEB15
Added code letter G for A59-69 thanks to Gordon Birkett.
4
06JAN04
Several additional codes were added thanks to Phil Herdman. Also added a name for A59-72
3 21DEC02
Added codes for A59-61, 62 & 99 and names for A59-56, 81 & 85. Thanks to Bob Livingstone.
2
-
Many additional codes were added thanks to Phil Herdman. Also added A59-64 & 98 as 13 Sqn aircraft.




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