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RAAF Form A.50

No. 2 Squadron, RAAF - January 1942

1 January 1942 to 10 January 1942 - NAMLEA
Early in the month 3 Hudsons of No. 2 Squadron were detailed to attack a destroyer which had been sighted 300 miles North of NAMLEA. The destroyer was located, attacked and partly disabled by a flight from NAMLEA led by F/Lt. R.B. CUMMING. One aircraft was damaged by A.A. Fire but reached its base safely. The destroyer was later found to be the U.S.S. PERRY and arrived at AMBOINA with some casualties. No blame for this incident was held against the attacking flight as the destroyer had been sighted and shadowed by a U.S. Catalina and A.C.H. HALONG which included a Senior American Naval Officer had decided on the reports made that the destroyer was hostile and had ordered the attack.
1 January 1942 to 20 January 1942 - KOEPANG
No. 2 Squadron aircraft based on Koepang continued to carry out A/S and security patrols both from DARWIN and KOEPANG.
Work was continued on dispersal areas and the construction of a landing strip 7-8 miles N.W. of the aerodrome was commenced. A party under F/O COLE succeeded in reaching MINA RIVER E.L.G. with a tractor and transporting fuel from the beach, where it had been landed by a United States destroyer, to the landing ground.
The aerodrome at PENFOEI was prepared for demolition.
During this month many United States aircraft passed through KOEPANG en route from DARWIN to JAVA.
The health of No. 2 Squadron personnel was not good and many suffered from malaria dangue, dysentry, tropical sores etc. Up to 30% of the total strength were on sick parade at times.
11 January 1942 - NAMLEA
3 Hudsons of No. 2 Squadron whilst attacking enemy shipping at MENADO (N.E. CELEBES) was intercepted by enemy float planes (Serial 33).
Four of the enemy aircraft were shot down. None of the Hudsons were damaged.
12 January 1942 - NAMLEA
Three Hudsons en route to attack shipping at MENADO were intercepted by 6 Zero Fighters (Type     ). Two Hudsons (Captains F/Lt. HODGE and F/O GORRIE) were shot down in flames.
On this day two Hudsons of No. 13 Squadron operating from NAMLEA were also shot down in the same area.

NOTES: F/Lt Hodge's aircraft was A16-46 and F/O Gorrie's was A16-12. The 13 Squadron Hudsons were A16-7 and A16-67.
12 January 1942 to 31 January 1942 - NAMLEA
No. 2 Squadron Flight at NAMLEA was reinforced and continued to carry out bombing and reconnaissance work against the enemy forces which had occupied MENADO. They worked in close co-operation with No. 13 Squadron based on AMBOINA.
In the latter part of the month NAMLEA and AMBOINA were subjected to frequent air attacks and some aircraft were destroyed on the ground. Finally a large enemy convoy was located approaching the area and both bases were evacuation. F/O W.V.D. WHITE and his crew were taken prisoners at AMBOINA after their aircraft had been damaged to such an extent that it was unable to proceed to DARWIN.
During the whole of the operations in this area F/O W.V.D. WHITE had been an outstanding Captain. He had shown exceptional endurance, devotion to duty, ability and personal courage. He was later awarded the DFC.
F/Lt. R.B. CUMMING as a Flight Commander was also outstanding. Both on the ground and in the air he showed great ability, devotion to duty, excellent judgement, dash and bravery and was an inspiration to every man under his command. F/Lt. CUMMING was recommended for the award of the DFC but was later killed in an aircraft accident at KOEPANG.

NOTES: F/Lt R.W.B. Cuming, 540, was killed on board Hudson A16-79 at Koepang on 20 January 1942.
21 January 1942 to 22 January 1942 - KOEPANG
Unidentified aircraft were sighted in the vicinity of KOEPANG. It was considered that these were JAPANESE Reconnaissance A/C based on KENDARI (S.E. CELEBES).
22 January 1942 - KOEPANG
In view of the sighting of enemy reconnaissance aircraft it was apparent that air attacks were imminent.
As there was no warning system, no A.A. or fighter defences and as adequate dispersal and camouflage was impossible owing to the nature of the terrain in the immediate vicinity of the runnaways it was considered that any aircraft on the ground would almost certainly be destroyed.
Accordingly all Hudsons were moved to the E.L.G. and dispersed and camouflaged in the surrounding jungle.
23 January 1942 to 24 January 1942 - KOEPANG
At approximately 0900 hours the aerodrome was raided by 12 Zero Fighters. No warning was received until the E/A were over the aerodrome. A Dutch Grumman Amphibian which had taken off on a local flight was shot down in flames. A P.40 and a Dutch D.H. Rapide undergoing repairs were severely damaged by straffing. The hangar, Operations Building and barracks were straffed. On Dutch mechanic, several natives and three members of the AIF were wounded. There were no RAAF casualties.
24 January 1942 to 31 January 1942 - KOEPANG
Operations Room and W/T Installations were moved from the edge of the aerodrome to dispersed camouflage positions which were not subsequently located nor attacked.
During this period straffing raids continued almost daily between 0900 - 1000 hours local time. These did little damage and there were no RAAF casualties. A good observation system was built up and up to 20 minutes warning was received of impending raids.
The E.L.G. at MINA RIVER was located and one Hudson was destroyed on the ground after 6 Zeros had made a thorough search of the surrounding cover.
It was considered that fifth columnists had communicated details of this E.L.G. to the enemy.
During this period a Qantas Empire Flying Boat was shot down in the sea 40 miles East of KOEPANG. There were only five survivors from a total of approximately 20 crew and passengers. An RAAF Douglas DC.2. was also shot down into the sea off the Island of WAINGAPU. All the crew reached land and were later removed to DARWIN by a Hudson of No. 2 Squadron.
Hudsons used the aerodrome at PENFOEI only in the hours of darkness and at first and last light.
In this period a Hudson piloted by F/Lt. R.B. CUMMING crashed shortly after take off from the aerodrome. The crew and passengers were all killed and the aircraft totally destroyed. The cause of the crash is obscure but the aircraft appeared to be out of control shortly after leaving the ground. All personnel were buried with full military honours in the Dutch Cemetery at KOEPANG.

NOTES: The Qantas Empire Flying Boat was G-AEUH 'Corio' and the RAAF DC-2 was A30-8.
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