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RAAF Form A.50

No. 87 Squadron, RAAF - March 1945

1 March 1945 to 31 March 1945 - COOMALLIE
As at 31 MAR., 1945.
Officers 36 and Nil. Attached.
Airmen 178 and 6 Attached.
214 and 6 Attached. Total :- 220.

F/Lt. W.S. BELL (405243) - Pilot - ex. 2 RPP arrived 26 MAR., 1945.
P/O. J.G. GIBBONS (49128) - Navigator W. ex 2 RPP, arrived 26 MAR., 1945.
F/O L.H. BRIGGS (3536) - Engineer Officer - ex. 548 Squadron. Arrived 28 MAR. 1945.

Mosquito 146 hrs. 20 mins.
Wirraway 33 hrs. 55 mins.
Total Hours 180 hrs. 15 mins.

The Senior Administrative Staff Officer Air Commodore KNOX KNIGHT visited the unit on 20 MAR., 1945.

P/O J.E. KERCHER (60832) - NAVIGATOR - Promoted to F/O wef 22/1/45.
P/O J.S. REYNOLDS (439909) NAVIGATOR - Promoted to F/O wef 22/1/45.
P/O T.J. TOZER (441472) - NAVIGATOR - Promoted to F/O wef 22/1/45.

This month has been very similar from an operational point of view to FEBRUARY, our activity again having been restricted by the weather.
Eight operations were successfully carried out during MARCH and two others were partially successful, cloud coverage over some of the targets preventing 100% results. Four other operations were commenced but two were completely unsuccessful due to total cloud coverage of the targets while of the other two, one returned to base with wireless trouble and the other returned to base on one engine, the other motor having developed a glycol leak. Another operation of two aircraft was ordered, but has been deferred because of weather conditions in the target area.
Of the fifteen operations ordered, five were to TIMOR, three were to BALI and LOEMBOK, four were to the CELEBES, two were to the FLORES and one was to the TANIMBAR ISLANDS. Ack ack was encountered on three occasions, but as usualy was not accurate enough to interfere with the operations. Again nil interception was experienced.
The Wirraways were used for five local photographic flights this month, and one local photographic flight was carried out in a Mosquito. A limited amount of test and local flying was also carried out.
Last month we recorded the failure of Mosquito A52-7 and crew to return from an operation. Since then the crew has returned to the Squadron after being missing for five days. On a photographic Reconnaissance of JAVA and BALI on the last day in FEBRUARY this aircraft lost the use of the starboard engine due to over heating and had to return from JAVA on one engine. Eventually the Australian Coast was reached at KING SOUND and the aircraft was ditched. The crew spent two nights in the dinghy before reaching shore and then walked for three days before being picked up by a mission native and taken to LOMBARDINA MISSION STATION.

Four new aircraft have been received by the Unit this month.- All Mark 16 Mosquitos, they are A52-600, arrived on 4th., A52-602 and A52-605 arrived together on the 11th and A52-601 which arrived on the 14th. Acceptance tests have been carried out on all four and they are now operationally serviceable.
These Mark 16 aircraft cruise at a rather higher speed than the Mark 40 type which we have been using until now and their altitude performance is better. Their fuel consumption rate, however is also higher so that although they carry the same amount of fuel the maximum range is less than the Mark 40 aircraft. So far the use of these Mark 16 aircraft is restricted to the shorter ranged operations until a second generator is fitted.
At the end of last month A52-7 was ditched off the coast of WESTERN AUSTRALIA whilst returning from an operation to JAVA and was a total loss, and on the 2nd. of this month A52-26 crashed on the strip due to swing on landing. This aircraft has been salvaged and the serviceable components and spares are being removed before the despatch of the airframe to No. 8 CRD for conversion.
Our net aircraft strength at the moment therefore is two Mark 40 Mosquitos, one T.3. Mosquito, four Mark 16 Mosquitos and two Wirraways.
Aircraft maintenance this month has been quite satisfactory and serviceability has been higher this month. A52-6 and A52-9 have at last been removed from the A.O.G. list though this was largely due to spares becoming available from the wreck of A52-26.

The situation in this section is improving though two trucks are now off the road awaiting tyres and other spares. Strength in personnel is now up to establishment so enabling the staff to catch up on overdue inspections.
A tanker and an ambulance have been allotted away and one new tanker has been received. A tipper on loan is being used on a programme of Squadron essential works.
A new five bay transport section is under construction, a refuelling stand and petrol store room has been completed and a ramp for vehicular maintenance is planned. These improvements should materially assist the section in all its functions.

During the month 10 operational and 6 local photographic operations returned film with a total of 3225 exposures of which 2368 were operational. Total number of prints was 7,000 ground subjects totalled 257 negatives and 2,500 prints. In addition this section now carries out all the printing and developing for all 79 Wing Squadrons and for 25 Squadron.

The supply position generally has improved during the month: fewer spares have been demanded through A.O.G. procedue and a much smaller percentage of A.O.G. demands have needed to be passed onto Master Depots as inabilities from No. 9 S.D.
Identification of spares for the Mark 16 Mosquitos and Merlin 76 and 77 Engines is the worst outstanding problem as no vocabularies are obtainable for either. Items required A.O.G. or E.O.S. must frequently be demanded without either Ident. or Part No.
One such case during this past week being a thermostatic relief valve for glycol header tank. This item was demanded through A.O.G. procedure by description only and in this instance was fortunately identified and promptly depsatched by No. 9 Stores Depot on an A.58 (Spitfire) ident number.

Sports. The football team did not lose a match during the month and have thereby gained a place in the finals. The Unit Table Tennis Team played No. 4 RSU and were beaten 18 games to 14.
Education. The interests in the Discussion Groups was not maintained. In its place aircrew members have volunteered to conduct an intelligence lecture for the airmen once weekly. The average attendance at the three lectures during the month was approximately 100 airmen.
The number of applicants for courses during the month was four.
General. The unit continues to provide transport to Area Pictures, Boxing and Sunday picnics. The average attendance at the Airmen's Weekly Euchre Tournament was thirty four.
Ten aircrew members spent fourteen days at the Aircrews' rest hut at DARWIN.

Conversion to Mark 16 Aircraft was carried out by all crews this month.
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