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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. 457 Squadron, RAAF - February 1943

1 February 1943 - BATCHELOR.
Overcast, warm. Squadron's main party moved from Batchelor to Livingstone, 30 miles nearer DARWIN, leaving only a few men to clear up what small litter the Squadron left behind. Moving was carried out by the Squadron transport, reinforced by additions from 7 RSU. The aircraft were flown over by the pilots, and by the evening the Squadron was more or less comfortably settled. On the whole, LIVINGSTONE is a better equipped camp than our former base, there being three excellent messes and a fine recreation hut for the airmen, the latter being supplied by the Salvation Army. Water is plentiful, not taking into consideration the frequent rainstorms, and there are fine facilities for showering after a hot day's work.
2 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Fine, hot: some cloud. The day was occupied in establishing camp at LIVINGSTONE. Telephone communication has been established between the main camp and the flying strip, which is roughly a mile and a half nearer DARWIN, and which is only separate from the main road by a shallow gutter. The pilots await operations in a marquee situation between A and B Flight dispersal bays at the northern end of the strip. Adjoining the pilot's marquee is a mobile radio tender which is in constant contact with Fighter Ops., and, if necessary is able to carry out ground to air conversations. Another telephone contacts Gun Operations Room. Echelon is situated, under F/Lt. H. Tully, at the southern end of the strip. RAF personnel are enjoying the strange conditions under which they now live in comparison with those of the Old Country. Aircraft and engine testing was carried out during the day. Two sections were scrambled during the morning to intercept an enemy reconnaissance aircraft, but no contact was made. P/O F.F. Daniels was promoted to Flying Officer. In addition to his responsibilities as Squadron Defence Officer, he is at present also carrying out the nagging duties of Messing Officer.
3 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Fine and hot. Cannon testing. The food at present is of rather poor standard owing to the limited cooking facilities, but these these difficulties will be overcome with a little initiative. W/O D. Best, RAF, Signals and Radio, reports difficulty with his equipment owing to rough handling during shipment from the south. Capstan radio sets and valves have been damaged and some equipment is missing. An Airmen's Canteen has been opened with Rest Office adjoining. Airmen appreciated the supply of fruit cordial and tinned fruit which is sold from the canteen.
4 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Some cloud. Aircraft and engine testing. The Intelligence Section has been established next to the pilots' marquee at the strip.
5 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Fine, warm: slight overcast. Cannon testing; Formation flying and attacks. An Airmen's messing committee has been formed, P/O Gifford being presiding officer. F/O Hamilton has been appointed Entertainments Officer and has already arranged for concert parties to visit the camp as well as swimming parties to Berry Springs and open air cinema parties once or twice a week in nearby camps.
6 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Hot, fine: some cloud. Three sections were scrambled at 1130 hours, one section to angels thirty over BATCHELOR and the other two to angels thirty over ANSON BAY. No contact was made by 457 Squadron. The Squadron was compensated by the cheering news that F/Lt. Foster, RAF, 54 Squadron, made the first 'kill' for the Capstan Wing, thus reducing the Japanese Air Force by one 'Dinah'.
7 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Fine, hot: slight overcast. Rear party moved from BATCHELOR to LIVINGSTONE. Officers', Sergeants', and Airmen's messes have all been fitted with radio, Australian Comforts Fund gramophone pick-ups and everyone is enjoying loud and continuous 'swing'. Heavy rain at night.
8 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast, hot. Aircraft and engine testing, cannon testing, formation flying; Sector reconnaissance.
9 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast, hot. Two sections scrambled angels thirty-two over base. No contact. In afternoon, one section scrambled angels eight over Charles Point. Test flights and cannon testing. Torrential rain during night.
10 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast. Heavy humidity after last night's rain. The Squadron was visited by W/Cdr. Caldwell. The promotions of two very popular and original members of the Squadron were announced by the Commanding Officer, S/Ldr. K.E. James, in the Officers' Mess after dinner; F/Lt. D.L. Peate, Medical, to Squadron Leader, and F/O H. Tully, Engineering, to Flight Lieutenant. This was followed by the announcement of the promotion of F/O W.W. Alford, to Flight Lieutenant. F/Lt. Alford has quickly become 'one of the lads' since he joined the Squadron at CAMDEN, NSW, and the energy he has devoted to the betterment of the Squadron is appreciated by all. The promotions were duly celebrated.
11 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast, humid; some rain. Aircraft and engine testing.
12 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast, hot. Cannon testing at angels thirty. P/O T.A. Alderson, Defence, arrived on posting as supernumary to F/O Daniels.
13 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast, hot; some rain. Aircraft, engine and cannon tests. Salvation Army Adjutant J. Wright entertained the airmen in the recreation hut with a fine impromptu concert, and a 'quiz' competition with prizes, followed by a short service. S/L K. James with F/Lt Watson DFC Sgt. Pilot McDowall flew to RAAF Darwin for night flying practice.
14 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Some cloud; fine, hot. Squadron Balbo and practice interceptions.
15 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast, hot. Three sections scrambled to angels thirty at 12.30 but no contact was made with the enemy reconnaissance aircraft. F/O Newton and Sgt. Pilot Jenkins carried out search light co-operation flights. Cannon tests. W/Cdr. Caldwell visited the Squadron. Brilliant electric storm at night.
16 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast, hot, cannon tests. F/Lt. Begbie, Wing Padre, held service in Recreation Hut.
17 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast, hot. Aircraft and engine tests. Local flying. Torrential rain at night.
18 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast, with some rain. High humidity. Cannon testing. A bright concert was given by a neighbouring army concert party and brass band in the recreation hut and amplified by Salvation Army Mobile Man's loud speaker. A number of squadron Airmen took the opportunity to show their talent. Corporal Archer, RAF, brought the house down with several plevr piano solos.
19 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast, hot. S/Ldr. James, with F/Lt. Maclean (Commander 'B' Flight) and Sgt. Pilot Basey, flew to RAAF, DARWIN, to do night readiness. There were, however, no nocturnal visits from the enemy.
20 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast, hot; some rain. S/Ldr. James, F/Lt. Maclean, and Sgt. Basey returned from RAAF, DARWIN. Group Captain Grice, RAF, visited the Squadron. Squadron Balbo during the afternoon.
21 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast, some rain, humid. Cannon testing. A loud speaker system throughout the camp for announcements and air raid warnings fas been completed. Heavy rains in evening and throughout night.
22 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Some cloud; fine, hot. Aircraft and engine tests. Local aerobatics. Community singing and quiz contests in airmen's Recreation Hut.
23 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast, some rain, humid. Squadron scramble of nine aircraft, but again no interception.
24 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Overcast, humid. Aircraft and engine tests. Three sections srambled at 14.30 hours but there was no interception of the enemy reconnaissance aircraft. Flight formation by 'B' Flight. W/Cdr. Caldwell visited the Squadron.
25 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Warm and fine. Cannon testing; Balbo over Port Paterson. Two sections scrambled at 12.30 hours but no interception was made. Torrential rains at night. Air Vice Marshal Bostock and Group Capt. Walters visited the Squadron.
26 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Severe electrical storm in morning causing shorting in telephone service. Radio operator at the strip suffered minor shocks from listening. Heavy rain fell all day and night. Group Capt. Campbell visited the Squadron.
27 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Cool, overcast. Whole Squadron on early readiness due to report that heavy concentration of enemy bombers and fighters had arrived at Penfoie Airfield, Timor, in possible preparation for a raid on DARWIN on near area. Cannon and aircraft tests. Group Capt. Simms visited the Squadron. Heavy rain all night.
28 February 1943 - LIVINGSTONE.
Cool; heavy, intermittent rain. Whole Squadron at readiness by 0730 hours. An intelligence report that Beaufighters 'straffed' the bombers and fighters at Penfoie has slightly eased the tension from a joyous expectancy of possible action at last.
The month's end finds the Squadron in excellent fighting shape. The pilots, though disappointed at the lack of Japanese aircraft action throughout the month, are on their toes in readiness to meet the present threat of enemy bomber attack. Much personal labour by the pilots is put into finishing touches on their machines. Mechanically, despite the trying conditions, the machines are in good condition. Chief difficulties encountered were both radio (ground to air) faults; breakdowns due to moisture in equipment, undoubtedly caused by the high state of humidity, and the other an area of bad reception near DARWIN. Tyres, too, wear quickly in this area. Tribute must be paid to the Salvation Army Adjutant J. Wright for his unceasing efforts in the care and welfare of the airmen. Squadron personnel comprise 24 officers 13 Sgt. Pilots, 3 Warrant Officers, 10 flight sergeants, 27 sergeants, 75 corporals, 227 airmen. Total 379.
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