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RAAF De Havilland Mosquito A52-609 at Coomalie, NT (State Library of SA [PRG 1435/4/1], 1945)
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RAAF Form A.50

No. 87 Squadron, RAAF - April 1945

1 April 1945 to 30 April 1945 - COOMALLIE
As at 30th. APRIL, 1945.
Officers 38 and 1 Attached.
Airmen 194 and 8 Attached.
Total 232 and 9 attached. 241 less 1 detached - 240.

F/O G. GRANGER (40646) - Photographic officer ex. 2 RPP arrived 2/4/45.
F/Lt K.F. BAILEY (408947) - G.D. Pilot ex 2 RPP arrived 6/4/45.
427568, W/O R.A. STRANGE - Pilot, ex 2 RPP arrived 11/4/45.
(12016) F/O K.J. SHARPE - A.&S.D. ex 2 RPP arrived 26/4/45 for Adjutants Duties.
A/Sldr. J. CUMING (255260) - A.&S.D ex 2 RPP arrived 28/4/45 for Intelligence Officers Duties (attached until 13 MAY, 1945.)
F/Lt W.J. RYAN (3566) - A.&S.D. (Photographic Officer) departed on posting to 1 PD on 10/4/45.

The following Officers had probationary appointments confirmed and promoted to Flying Officer with effect from dates indicated:-
P/O D.H. KING (431361) - 19/2/45.) Auth. C. of A. Gazette
P/O J.C. JORDAN (418505) - 16/3/45.) No. 78 dated 19th.
P/O F.A. HAYMES (438623) - 16/3/45.) APRIL, 1945.

Mosquito - 215 hours 10 minutes.
Wirraway - 36 hours 15 minutes.
Total - 251 hours 25 minutes.

The Chief of Air Staff Ar Vice Marshal G. JONES CB, CBE, DFC accompanied by the Air Officer Commanding North Western Area Air Commodore A.M. CHARLESWORTH AFC visited the Unit on 29th. APRIL, 1945.

Nineteen sorties were undertaken by this squadron this month of which five were in relation to an operation rather different to our usual PR work. This operation was against a Japanese convoy of one light cruiser and three escorts first reported on 4 APR., 1945 heading for KOEPANG. On 5 APR., 1945 two mosquitos A52-602 and A52-605 were detailed to locate and report the position of the convoy now expected to be on its return journey. This was successfully achieved and a Catalina was detailed to shadow the convoy-during the night while preparations were made to attack.
Next morning two squadrons of Mitchels and one Squadron of Liberators were airborne for attack while one Mosquit A52-9 took off to locate and shadow the convoy until the bombers arrived. Owing to cloud cover and doubt as to the course, convoy was making, the mosquito did not find convoy until Mitchels arrived. A52-9 then met with ineffectual flak from one of the escorts and a few minutes later two Oscars were observed at 19,000 feet (2,000 feet below the Mosquito) climbing to intercept. Speed of A52-9 was increased to 400 miles per hour IAS, the Oscars being left behind, and a few minutes later the Mosquito returned to the scene in time to see the Liberators making their bombing run. Very heavy flak was encountered by the Liberators and the Mosquito crew observed one Liberator blow up. At the conclusion of the bombing attacks the convoy appeared relatively undamaged and photos were taken by the Mosquito of the Light Cruiser.
On each of the next two days one Mosquito was sent out to try and locate the convoy but NIL sightings were obtained and it is believed the convoy was sun k. Photos. showed three direct hits on the cruiser.
Of the other fourteen sorties; eight were successful, five partially successful and was unsuccessful due to cloud coverage over the target. The targets were our usual ones, five sorties being made to Timor, two to EAST JAVA, SACEBY ISLAND, BIMA and LOMBOK. Our first attempt at low level obliques was also made this month. The target was LASOLO BAY in the EAST CELEBES and the effort was completely successful.
Apart from the action against the Japanese Convoy no interception was experienced, whilst only one other sortie encountered Anti Aircraft Fire. This was Mosquito A52-6 which was fired on at KENDARI whilst at 14,000 feet, the fire being light heavy inaccurate and again at PENFOEI at 10,000 feet where the fire was again light heavy but inaccurate only because of evasive action.
Other flying consisted of thirteen local photographic flights, some night training exercises and the usual test and local flights.

Serviceability has been satisfactory this month, the percentage again being higher than last month, though a fair amount of trouble has been experienced with the Wireless Installations. No sorties were interrupted by aircraft unserviceability, though A52-602 returning from TIMOR had to land at DARWIN due to failure of the trimming tab wheel.
One new aircraft, Mosquito A52-606 arrived on 29th. APRIL, 1945 and is now undergoing a general acceptance check. A52-1010, whilst taxying at night, hit a metal stancheon necessitating a new airscrew and repairs to the tailplane. The engine of Wirraway A20-572 caught fire whilst starting and has had to be changed. Mosquito A52-26 which crashed early last month was finally written off on 5th. APRIL, 1945. A52-605 has been A.O.G. for most of the month, first for instruments and wireless, then later for a fuel gallery.

Night flying cross country navigational exercises were carried out this month, twelve crews completing the syllabus.

During APRIL, 1945, the new transport building has been completed, also has the serviceing ramp. These improvements have had the effect of speeding up periodical inspections and the position in this regard is much better. Two "D" inspections are the only ones outstanding and all vehicles are roadworthy.
The tipper previously on load is now allotted to this Squadron and is in use.
One solo motor cycle was issued off during the month.
Spare parts and tools to conform with "C" Class Establishment are being received.
Transport personnel are in accordance with establishment, two postings and two replacements having taken place.

During the month successful photographic reconnaissance was carried out on eighteen sorties. The number of individual cameras used on these sorties was fifty nine, and, with one minor exception (a gear box stoppage on one F52 camera) we can report complete camera success. Thirteen local photographic flights were also carried out.
The number of operational prints despatched to Airintel, NWA and RAAF Command was 7,130 and the total number of prints from both ground and aerial negatives was 10,215, representing an increase of 1,010 prints over the previous month.
On 7th. APRIL, 1945, F/Lt. W.J. RYAN completed his tour and was relieved by Flying Officer G.K. GRANGER.

During APRIL a comprehensive range of Merlin Engine Spares was received from No. 7 Stores Depot. Also advice was received that Task 191 Raised on No. 6 Stores Depot for A52/Mark 40 Spares had been 80% completed. Also task 266 for Mark XVI Spares had been raised and given a priority. Receipt of items from these consignments will considerably ease the whole spares position.
A new store for the technical spares has been almost completed adjacent to the Maintenance Hangara and Workshops and the change over of Stores has been commenced and should be completed during the month.

Sports. By defeating B.P.S.O. in the semi-finals the Unit football team met No. 4 RSU in the final game of the COOMALLIE Association. Although we had twice beaten RSU their team played better football on the day and won 10 goals 11 to 6 goals 3. Prior to this defeat, out team had won eleven games straight. Throughout the season, the enthusiasm of the team was such as to maintain the interest and support of all ranks.
The table tennis team played No. 1 MRS on 13/4/45 at DARWIN and won. A Unit Table Tennis Tournament is now under way.
Education. Applications for service courses totalled 5 this month. F/O TROTTER has continued to visit the Unit one day per wekk.
Weekly lectures by air crews have become increasingly popular.
A recorded programme of music was given on the first second and third Sunday of the month.
The Sergeants' Mess now has a wall newspaper.
General. The unit continues to provide transport for Area Pictures, football and boxing. Sunday picnics at DARWIN, BERRY SPRINGS and ROBIN FALLS were organised for the airmen.
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