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RAAF Form A.50

No. 24 Squadron, RAAF - January 1942

1 January 1942 to 31 January 1942 - TOWNSVILLE
At 1st JANUARY 1942, No. 24 Squadron was operating as an Advanced Striking Force, consisting of 1 Hudson and 2 Wirraway Flights, based on the island of NEW BRITAIN. One Hudson and One Wirraway Flight were based at VUNAKANAU and one Wirraway Flight at LAKUNAI.

On TUESDAY, 20th JANUARY 1942, both aerodromes were subjected to a severe attack by approximately 110 enemy aircraft, followed on THURSDAY, 22nd JANUARY 1942, by a sea-borne invasion force. In the ensuing withdrawal, all records and documents relative to all phases of the activities of the Squadron were destroyed, and owing to the lack of documentary evidence of any nature, it is impossible to detail any particulars other than the following.-

Killed in action. Shot down in air combat.
No. 402662 P/O J.C. LOWE and No. 3210 Sgt ASHFORD C.A.
No. 405391 Sgt. BROMLEY C.F. and No. 5803 Sgt. WALSH R.
No. 402844 Sgt. BLACKMAN R.A. and No. 22630 Sgt. WOODCROFT S.E.

Missing on night Operational Flight from LAE to RABAUL.
No. 515 F/Lt. PATERSON P.P.
No. 402995 P/O J.S. McINTYRE
No. 400552 Sgt. CLAXTON O.F.G.
No. 9164 LAC WILSON J.A.

Missing - Believed prisoner of war.
No. 882 W.O KELLY J.F.
No. 2798 P/O J.S. LEMPRIERE

No. 404510 Sgt. HERRING G.R. and No. 3495 P/O A.G. CLAIRE shot down in flames - both wounded.
No. 407428 Sgt. HEWETT W.O.K. wounded in air combat. No. 3491 P/O J.V. TYRRELL slightly wounded and parachuted to safety.
No. 3496 P/O C.A. BUTTERWORTH and No. 770 F/Lt. B.H. ANDERSON crashed on take-off while attempting interception of enemy aircraft, - both injured.

The remainder of the Squadron personnel were safely evacuated on FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 23rd and 24th FEBRUARY 1942, by Empire Flying Boats.

WIRRAWAY Aircraft A20-71, 177, 128, 179, 303, 304, 319, 321, 436 and 437 were destroyed at RABAUL either by enemy action or to prevent them falling into enemy hands.
HUDSON Aircraft A16-91, 13, and 146 were destroyed by enemy action. A16-145 missing on night operational flight between LAE and RABAUL.

It is impossible to substantiate any further facts with regard to the Squadron's activities for the month, firtstly, because of the complete lack of documentary evidence, and secondly, the posting south of the Commanding Officer, Wing Commander J.M. LEREW, and other senior Officers.
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