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RAAF Form A.50

No. 13 Squadron, RAAF - January 1942

1 January 1942 - LAHA
Hudson Aircraft A16-29, Captain, Flying Officer J. Turnbull, 2nd Pilot, P/O R.K. Allen (404945), 408079 Sergeant Lay, W.G., WAG, and 407102 Sgt. Hack, B.E., WAG, crashed due to engine failure and dived into the sea. 407102 Sgt. Hack, B.E., WAG was the only survivor, and was picked up by a Catalina Flying Boat. He suffered severe injuries and burns, and was admitted to Ambon Military Hospital, category, seriously injured.
The following airmen's promotions were effected:-
5451, Cpl. Boase, C.A., Fitter IIE to T/Sgt.
8466, Cpl. Stewart, F.L., Fitter IIE to T/Sgt.
4703, Cpl. Rees, A.J., W.E.M. to T/Sgt.
Squadron Leader J.P. Ryland (188) was promoted to A/Wing Commander.
1 January 1942 - DARWIN
11936, AC1 Schaefer, J., Instrument maker was reclassified LAC.
3 January 1942 - DARWIN
25 Squadron personnel comprising the 8th, 9th and 10th relief parties under the command of 207690 W/O Gillmer J.W. proceeded overland on posting to Southern Embarkation Depots.
5 January 1942 - DARWIN
Hudson Aircraft A16-59 was allotted from 14 Squadron as replacement.
6 January 1942 - LAHA
Enemy 7 T97 F/B aircraft bombed and strafed aerodrome and building area during early hours of morning and damaged a number of buildings and workshops belonging to Dutch. Nil RAAF casualties. They also bombed the native villages with the result that all the native labour was dispersed for a number of days. No warning. This raid had an adverse effect on the morale of the RAAF personnel, and this, together with the knowledge that no warning facilities were available resulted in an almost general evacuation of the camp area at night. Trenches were dug into the side of the hill adjacent to the camp area, and to these trenches most of the personnel repaired at night without the protective covering of mosquito and sandfly nets that were available. The incidence of malaria cases jumped considerably after this raid.
8 January 1942 - DARWIN
Wing Commander J.P. Ryland and crew returned to Darwin to have a conference with the Station Commander re the supply of equipment and spares to the AOBs at Laha and Namlea. Strict black-out precautions were enforced at night.
9 January 1942 - DARWIN
Under instruction from the Commanding Officer, the orderly room staff, together with Personnel Records etc., proceeded by air to Laha, leaving two clerks to carry on with the Servicing Flight which was to remain at Darwin.
10 January 1942 - LAHA
14348, LAC Ashley, R.C., armourer, promoted to T/Cpl wef 1.2.41.
One Hudson made two attacks on Japanese 4 engined Type 97 Flying Boat over the Molucca Sea. After scoring hits the Hudson was forced to break off the engagement owing to possible petrol shortage. Enemy aircraft first attempted to climb away at high speed, but was unsuccessful. It then dived to sea level. The Hudson was superior in both speed and climb.
11 January 1942 - LAHA
27 heavy bombers escorted by Zero Fighters raided Laha aerodrome and bombed the runway which was badly holed. Approximately 300 bombs of various sizes were dropped. The Zero Fighters then proceeded to strafe the aerodrome and succeeded in igniting one of the fuel dumps of approximately 200 drums of petrol. A machine gun post manned by volunteers kept up incessant fire during the whole raid and the occupants were later recommended for an award. The conduct of these airmen helped to regain some of the lost morale which was due to previous raids. No damage to buildings. Nil RAAF casualties.
12 January 1942 - LAHA
Hudson Aircraft A16-7, Captain, F/Lt. G. Sattler (510), 2nd pilot 407788, Sgt. Goode, J.G., Airman Pilot 5978 Sgt. Hunter, R.A., WOAG, 406529 Sgt. Hodgson, M.R., WAG, and Hudson A16-67, Captain, F/Lt. A.R. Barton (525), 2nd pilot, F/O S.W. Clifford (677), 406513 Sgt. Bates, B.S. WAG, 407106 Mills, J.L., WAG, posted missing on air operations against the enemy at Manado in Celebes Islands.
13 January 1942 - LAHA
Hudson Aircraft A16-123, A16-125 allotted from 14 Squadron. Flying Officer G.L. Brown (700) posted to Squadron for flying duties.
15 January 1942 - LAHA
9174 W/O Knight, R.B., W.O.D. called for volunteers to man machine gun posts. He selected suitable sites and work commenced, digging the pits, etc. Equipment consisted of two Vickers Ground machine guns and two Browing G.O. machine guns salved from an enemy destroyed aircraft. Swivels for these guns were borrowed from the Dutch.
At first only ball ammunition was available for these guns, but later, supplies of incendiary, tracer and armour piercing ammunition came to hand.
No apparent results were obtained by the use of these guns due to the lack of training of the volunteers, excepting perhaps their use heightened the morale of the troops. Volunteers at first were hard to get, but in the end there were more than necessary. A system of rifle parties was suggested, but owing to the dispersed nature of the aerodrome and the lack of warning facilities, this suggestion was not put into operation.
401952, Sgt. Hogan, D.J., WAG, and 403290 Sgt. Townsend, A.S., WAG proceeded to Laha for flying duties.
12 Type "O" fighters appeared over aerodrome and then T96 heavy bombers attacked aerodrome and Operations Room. One run was made at 10,000 feet and approximately 126 bombs of 250 lbs. and 500 lbs. were dropped. Type "O" fighters machine gunned and attacked with cannon, petrol dumps, quarters and grounded aircraft. The attack lasted 2 hours. Two Buffalo aircraft attempting interception were shot down, one Hudson on ground was set on fire, two USA Catalinas on water were destroyed, and Dutch quarters were destroyed by fire. The runway was rendered temporarily unserviceable.
16 January 1942 - LAHA
16 twin engined bombers in formation of eight escorted by 5 fighters attacked Halong. Three runs were made at 13,000 feet. One wharf store hit, otherwise no damage was caused.
5 type "O" fighters appeared over Halong and Laha. One beached Catalina aircraft was machine gunned.
Work repairing runway was interrupted by frequent raids which caused the native labour to disperse.
A/Cdr. Wilson, AOC, S/Ldr. J.W. McGilvray, S.O. Operations, and F/O H. Money, P.A., visited Laha by flying boat, and stayed overnight.
411263, Sgt. Rohr, J.B., WAG, and 411267 Sgt. Upjohn, D.C., WAG, posted to squadron for flying duties.
2922 F/Sgt. Parker, R.F., Fitter IIE, confirmed in the rank of T/F/Sgt., wef 1.7.41.
19 January 1942 - LAHA
One T97 Flying Boat reconnoitred Laha at 8-9000 feet.
The following aircrew were posted to the squadron for flying duties:-
406733 Sgt. Robertson, C.D. Airman Pilot ex OTU.
400938 Sgt. Palmer, G.W. Airman Pilot ex OTU.
405102 Sgt. Wise, N.K., WAG ex 1 ED.
411235 Sgt. Smith, S.A. WAG ex 1 ED.
407514 Sgt. Thomas, G.W., WAG ex 14 Sqdn.
210026 A/Sgt. Thompson, J.W., WAG ex 14 Sqdn.
8816 A.Sgt. Edwards, C.L.D., WAG ex 14 Sqdn.
406331 Sgt. May, E.C., WAG ex 14 Sqdn.
Pilot Officer J.N. Goodfellow, 2nd pilot ex OTU.
Flying Officer F.N. Meyer, 2nd Pilot.
402199 Sgt. Carter, S.W., WAG discharged from Ambon Military Hospital and admitted to station sick-quarters, Darwin, suffering from malaria and tinea.
20 January 1942 - LAHA
Hudson Aircraft A16-64, Captain, F/Lt. M.P. Willing (218), 2nd pilot 407786, Sgt. Field, W.H. airman pilot; 404218 Sgt. Rutter, R.D., and 5972 LAC Cunneen, WAG, were posted missing on air operations against the enemy after an attempt to photograph enemy shipping in Kena Bay.
20 January 1942 - DARWIN
Medical Officer concerned with incidence of malaria and preventative measures were enforced.
411262 Sgt. Upjohn, D.C., WAG, and 411263 Sgt. Rohr, J.B., WAG, proceeded to Laha for flying duties. The following 2nd pilots were posted to the Squadron for flying duties:
Pilot Officer L.W. Hall (406717)
Pilot Officer A.W. Fraser (401764)
21 January 1942 - LAHA
0040Z/21 One T97 Flying Boat and 30 fighters reconnoitred Laha and Ambon with special attention to Army defence positions.
0340Z Two T97 Mitsubishi reconnaissance aircraft machine gunned A/A positions at Laha. No damage.
0500Z Four fighters machine gunned radio station and put it out of action. Enemy aircraft then flew low over water searching for minefields.
22 January 1942 - LAHA
210026 Sgt. Thompson, J.W., WAG and 8816 A/Sgt. Edwards, C.L. and 400938 Sgt. Palmer, G.W., airman pilot, proceeded to Laha for flying duties.
Camp areas evacuated at night and personnel billetted in native villages and Agricultural College buildings. Camp area manned only by gun crews and duty personnel.
23 January 1942 - LAHA
17 T97 Flying Boats and 18 Type "O" S.SF. and T97 Naka attached Ambon. Laha and Halong severely strafed by aircraft at low level. There was slight damage to aircraft and runways, and 3,000 gallons of petrol were destroyed. A/A fire ineffective.
25 January 1942 - BABO
Auxiliary Base at Babo in Dutch New Guinea evacuated and personnel manning base returned to Darwin by air. 11 ground personnel affected. Abandonment of this base due to enemy action by terrific bombing attacks and through the lack of fighter protection.
25 January 1942 - HALONG
0637Z Nine T96 heavy bombers came in from N.W. at 9000 feet, turned east and bombed and cannoned hangars, aircraft, and petrol dumps. Twenty 250 lb. H.E. bombs and 50 lb. incendiaries were dropped. Two Catalinas seriously damaged, direct hits being scored on hangars, and 60,000 gallons of petrol were destroyed. Nil RAAF casualties.
25 January 1942 - LAHA
0522Z One T97 Flying Boat flew high over Laha. All ground aircraft immediately took off.
0556Z Two formations of 8 twin engined heavy bombers flew high over aerodrome from N.W. One formation continued to Halong, the other made a run from E. to W. over the aerodrome and diving from 15,000 to 10,000 feet, dropped a pattern of bombs over the runways. 19 bombs, comprising 5 40-50 lb. anti personnel and 13 250 lb. G.P., hit runway. Another bomb failed to explode. Craters from G.P. bombs were approximately 16' x 16' deep. Anti personnel bombs left craters 5' - 6' in diameter and 3' to 4' deep. The aircraft then made a second run from E. to W strafing the dispersal bays and environs of the aerodrome.
26 January 1942 - LAHA
0125Z Four Type "O" S.SF. machine gunned aircraft on ground destroying three Hudsons, A16-66, A16-125 and A16-71.
27 January 1942 - LAHA
0051/27 An air raid was made on Laha. No casualties.
28 January 1942 - LAHA
0050/28 10 Type "O" fighters flew over Laha, 4 attacked; the remainder flew on to Halong. No damage and no casualties.
Evacuation of Laha Advanced Operational Base at Ambon Island, NEI commenced, and 42 personnel returned to Darwin by air in Lockheed Hudsons and Short Flying Boats. The sick personnel in Ambon Hospital were evacuated by Flying Boat. Mainly malaria cases.
Evacuation ordered due to approach of convoy of enemy ships and lack of fighter protection. An umbrella of enemy fighters were over base most day making operations from this base extremely hazardous. Base for week or ten days prior to this date used only at night, aircraft dispersing during the day to Koepang, Namlea, Babo and other bases. Maintenance of aircraft was almost entirely neglected and aircraft had to proceed to Darwin for inspections. Operations were carried out by aircraft that were unserviceable, some being up to 50 hours past inspection periods. 407102 Sgt. Hack, B.E., WAG, who was seriously injured in crash of A16-29 on 1st January, was transferred from Ambon Hospital to 119 AGH Darwin. F/Lt. L.A. Ingram (379) O.C. "C" Flight admitted to 119 AGH Darwin due to a severe attack of malaria.
29 January 1942 - LAHA
N.W. Area Head-Quarters signalled that Japanese convoy sighted in Molucca Sea, moving South, 22 vessels, probably consisting of 1 heavy cruiser, 3 cruisers, 5 destroyers and 15 transports.
29 January 1942 to 30 January 1942 - LAHA
Evacuation of Laha continued throughout night and the early hours of the morning, and 62 personnel were safely flown out to Darwin. One aircraft suffered an accident during take-off and had to be serviced by shaded torch light, taking off just before "first light".
American Catalina aircraft that were "shot up" in Bay during last fortnight were raised, and the .5 cannon from these aircraft were made serviceable and given over to the Army Force.
30 January 1942 - LAHA
Preparations for the complete evacuation of Laha and Namlea bases continued, and all equipment that could not be salved was destroyed. The transmitter motor was totally destroyed, and the tractors were smashed and pushed off the end of the pier into the water. Boxes of rifles were rendered unserviceable by dumping the "bolts" into the Bay. Due to the lack of transport facilities, a number of personnel had to be left behind. 16645 Cpl. Gaskin, F.W., Fitter Armourer, 13 Squadron, volunteered to remain at Laha aerodrome to carry out demolition work. All other remaining personnel with the exception of Cpl. Gaskin were on the strength of Station Headquarters, Darwin. Flying Officer F.N. Meyer, 2nd Pilot, remained at Laha and was posted as missing. The ground machine guns and spares, ammunition etc. were handed over to the Army.
Prior to the evacuation, the AIF in occupation were moved from the aerodrome area to reinforce the troops defending the township of Ambon. The bomb dumps and petrol dumps were destroyed, and the town was set alight. A report was rendered by F/Lt. Nicholas, Controller at Laha, on the demolition and denial of facilities to the enemy.
31 January 1942 - DARWIN
Preparations for the movement of the Squadron to Daly Waters commenced, and instructions were issued to pack equipment and spares, etc., ready for this move. Headquarters Darwin were also preparing plans for the complete movements of Station Workshops to Daly Waters for the maintenance of aircraft.
Arrangements were also in progress for the preparation of camouflaged inserts to be erected for the complete dispersal of aircraft with the exception of aircraft undergoing overhaul. Instructions were issued that only one aircraft was to be in the hangar, and the practice of lining up of aircraft on the tarmac was to cease.
Up to this time Nos. 2 and 13 Squadrons operating from Namlea and Laha had lost 13 Hudsons since the outbreak of hostilities.
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