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RAAF Form A.50

No. 87 Squadron, RAAF - September 1944

10 September 1944 to 30 September 1944 - COOMALIE CREEK
GENERAL: 87 (PR) Squadron formed at COOMALIE on 10th SEPTEMBER, 1944 to establishment No. [???]. Dated [???] Sep., 1944. The Squadron's initial equipment and personnel were those of No. 1 PRU which ceased to exist as from the same date.
The object of the Unit is to carry out long range strategical reconnaissance which takes the form of photography from high altitudes using camera fitted with long focal length lens and cameras arranged for [???] photography.
At formation of the Squadron personnel were as follows:-
Officers - 8
Airmen - 85
Total - 93

The Squadron had one long range Mosquito photographic aircraft (A52-2) and two Wirraways (A20-178 and A20-605) at this date.

POSTINGS:
F/LT. H.R. BONYTHON AFC ex 2 RPP wef 13th Sep., 1944 (Pilot)
P/O K.V. ROGET ex 2 RPP wef 13th Sep., 1944. (Nav.BW.)
F/LT. A.W. PROCTOR DFC ex 2 RPP wef 13th Sep., 1944. (Pilot)
F/O C.H. GARRETT ex 2 RPP wef 13th Sep. 1944. (Nav.BW.)
F/O A.J. PHILLIPS DFC ex 2 RPP wef 26th Sep., 1944. (Pilot)
P/O D.C. BRADBURY ex 2 RPP wef 13th Sep., 1944. (Nav.BW.)
S/Ldr. R.M. GREEN posted to No. 1 PD. Departed 18th Sep., 1944. (Pilot)

STRENGTH:
As at the end of September, 1944, the strength of the Squadron had increased to
Officers - 14
Airmen - 98
Total - 112

OPERATIONS : During this month seven operational flights were made by Mosquito aircraft, four of which were completed successful, two partly successful, and two of which had to be abandoned owing to engine trouble. Although some of these trips were made over considerable distance and long periods were spent over target areas no interception or A/A was experienced on any occassion. One Mosquito and one Wirraway were also employed on a search for two missing Beaufighters of 31 Squadron with negative results. In addition one Wirraway was also employed for local photography and travel flights.

AIRCRAFT : Wirraway A20-178 was u/s for hydraulic seals at the time of taking over by the Squadron but was made serviceable on 19th Sep. 1944. Wirraway A20-605 was fully serviceable during this month and was used for local flying (photography, search, training, travel). Mosquito A52-2 gave considerable trouble during this month. Twice the aircraft returned shortly after commencing operational flights due to drop in oil pressure and on a third occasion whilst over the target area the starboard engine overheated and it became necessary to return to base with the mission only partially completed. On each occasion an engine change was made. Despite this trouble however Mosquito A52-2 was used to successfully complete three other operational flights and was available for searching for two missing Beaufighters of 31 Squadron. Mosquito A52-1 arrived near the end of the month and was used for one trip to the CERAM-BOEROE area. The flight was completed but on return it was found that the rear camera shutter cover had jamed shut rendering the exposures abortive. However the required views were obtained on the front camera so that the mission may be described as successful. The aircraft has since been modified to obviate this trouble.

EQUIPMENT : With the forming of 87 PRS extra equipment and accommodation were required. These were demanded and 9 SD has these demands in hand and in fact has already fulfilled some of them. One LAC equipment assistant was posted south after completing 17 months in the Territory and his relief has arrived.

TRANSPORT : 87 Squadron tool over all transport of 1 PRU the transport consisting of:
2 Heavy G/S
2 Light G/S
2 Utility 4x4
1 Stores tender
1 Photographic tender
1 Water trailer
1 Stores tender
One vehicle is undergoing a "G" inspection. One utility 4x4 and the motor cycle outfit both damaged in accidents have been forwarded to 4 RSU for repair. One new member was posted to transport section during the month but was then reposted away to 4 RSU.

TRAINING: F/LT. BONYTHON AFC did a conversion on Wirraways during the month.

WELFARE : Thanks to the co-operation of the Navy in allowing us the use of HMAS KOOKABURRA a picnic was arranged to MICA BEACH whilst others were arranged on Sundays to BERRY SPRINGS and MENDELL BEACH. A number of Table Tennis matches were arranged during the latter part of the month and amongst competitors were 4 RSU and 31 Squadron. 87 Squadron has combined with 31 Squadron under the name of "COOMALIE CREEK TABLE TENNIS ASSOCIATION" and have proved formidable opponents to other contestants. A General Welfare Meeting was held during the last week of the month at which policy and constitution of the Welfare Committee were discussed. Many improvements and new ideas were incorporated to make the Committee a more efficient body in the future.

VISITORS: On the 29th of this month the Squadron was visited by AOC North Western Area, Air Commodore A.M. CHARLESWORTH AFC.

PHOTOGRAPHIC: This initial phase of 87 Squadron activity proved a very busy period for the photographic section. Operational prints totalled 1070, target map reproductions exceeded the 3,000 mark and other prints totalled 690. This, together with other miscellaneous work in the section, kept the photographic section right on their toes.
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