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RAAF Form A.50

No. 87 Squadron, RAAF - February 1945

1 February 1945 to 28 February 1945 - COOMALLIE
STRENGTH
As at 28th. FEBRUARY, 1945.
Officers 36
Airmen 172 and 26 attached.
208 and 26 attached. Total : 234.

POSTINGS
IN:
F/Lt. N.G. JOHNSON (262640) G.D. Pilot ex. 2 RPP arrived 24/2/45.
F/Lt. J.T. KEARNEY (400091) G.D. Pilot ex. 2 RPP arrived 24/2/45.
F/O A. WILKINSON (84912) A.&S.D. Equipment Officer, ex. HQ NWA arrived 23/2/45/
P/O H.L. WILLIAMSON (441703) G.D. Nav.W. ex. 2 RPP arrived 24/2/45.
P/O J.D. HARDWICK (443607) G.D. Nav.W. ex. 2 RPP arrived 26/2/45.
OUT:
F/Lt. E.J. FLANAGAN (3590) C.W.O. Equipment Officer posted to 5 R.I.M.U. departed 28/2/45.

PROMOTIONS NIL.

FLYING TIMES
Mosuito - 6.55 Test & Training; 83.30 Operations & Travel; 91.25 Total
Wirraway 2.55 Test & Training; 21.20 Operations & Travel; 23.15 Total
TOTALS: 9.50 Test & Training; 104.50 Operations & Travel; 114.40 Total.

OPERATIONS.
FEBRUARY as with the previous two months has been a period of very limited activity. Again this has been largely due to the unfavourable weather conditions normal to the time of the year but also in this case, partly due to our having two of our aircraft A.O.G. for spares during the whole of the month.
Only fifteen operations were ordered this month and four of these were cancelled, three because of weather conditions and the fourth because on arrival at BROOME, the aircraft became U/S. so causing undue delay.
Of the eleven sorties actually made only four were completely successful. Four other sorties returned limited results - two because of cloud obscuring some of the targets, one because it was found that the targets were spaced too far apart and so only the closer ones were attempted, whilst in the fourth case the starboard motor failed while in the target area and necessitated a return of 300 miles to base on one engine.
The remaining three sorties were entirely unsuccessful. One because of complete cloud coverage of the target area and one because engine trouble compelled the return to base of the aircraft before the target are was reached.
Information about the last sortie is not yet complete. The aircraft Mosquito A52-7, Crew S/Ldr. GRAY (Pilot) and F/O SUDLOW (Navigator) arrived at BROOME from COOMALLIE on the 27th. and took off next morning about 0530 local (BROOME) time for EAST JAVA and BALI. Five hours later a signal was received from the aircraft advising engine trouble and giving a position some 150 miles East of the JAVA coast. Since then no further news has been obtained of the aircraft and an intensive search is at present being carried out in an effort to rescue the crew. So far no results have been obtained.
This was the 85th. sortie to be undertaken by the Squadron since it was formed last SEPTEMBER and it is the first time the aircraft has failed to regain base.
Our targets this month were all familiar ones. Three reconnaissances were made of the LOMBOK and SOEMBA ISLANDS and three to the KAI and TANIMBAR ISLANDS. The FLORES were visited twice and one trip each was made to EAST JAVA, TIMOR and the SOUTH WEST CELEBES. At only one target - LANGOER A/O. was A/A. experienced and then it was reported as slight heavy inaccurate. Nil interception was experienced and on four occasions our aircraft were able to report sightings of enemy shipping.
Other flying duties carried out by the Squadron consisted of local Photographic work carried out mostly in the Wirraway. The usual amount of test and local flying was also undertaken.

AIRCRAFT.
Two new aircraft arrived at the Unit this month. Mosquito A52-1010 arrived on the 20th. and since its acceptance check it has been available for use. It is a dual aircraft and it is intended to use it as a training aircraft with emphasis on instrument flying.
Wirraway A20-165 was the other aircraft and it arrived on the 16th. as a replacement for A20-178.
Mosquito A52-2 was allotted to 2 AD for special inspection and departed COOMALLIE on the 2nd. for RICHMOND.
Serviceability in general has again been low due entirely to A52-6 and A52-9 being A.O.G. for spares during the entire month. A52-7 had a 67% and A52-26 a 75% serviceability. Wirraway serviceability has been almost 100%.

TRANSPORT.
Very little improvement has been noticeable in the transport situation. Two trucks are still off the road pending the arrival of tyres and tubes and some difficulty is being experienced in maintaining an adequate service. The arrival and use of three motor cycles is expected to assist materially in rendering the mileage run by the heavy trucks and perhaps improving serviceability.
Maintenance is a vital problem as our strength of Fitter D.M.T.s. is under establishment as is our strength of D.M.T's. The five D.M.T's. on strength are sufficient only to cope with routine runs. Fire tenders, ambulances, flight trucks, tankers and tractors are mostly driven by Emergency Drivers so necessitating an unusually large proportion of drivers in this Squadron.

PHOTOGRAPHIC.
Due to the small number of operations carried out this month, the Photographic Section has enjoyed a very slack period. Opportuity has been taken to erect a Borden hut for use as a film drying toom. Another Bordern hut was also erected near the strip for the purpose of camera repair and storage.

EQUIPMENT.
A52, B22 and spares for Ancillary equipment are still extremely slow in coming to hand in satisfaction of normal demands, aircraft serviceability being almost wholly dependent on spares obtained through A.O.G., E.O.S. and U.R.R. procedure.
Vocabularies held are inadequate for correct provisioning and not yet available for the new type aircraft expected shortly.
Advice has been received from No. 9 Stores Depot to the effect that Task 191 covering a complete range of Mosquito and Merlin spares has come to hand, so that the position regarding spares will improve considerably during the coming month.
A copy of a list of inabilities forwarded by No. 9 Stores Depot to RAAF Headquarters of "F" Group items urgently required indicates a serious shortage of stocks at No. 9 S.D.
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