No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit was formed as No. 114 Mobile Fighter Sector HQ at Camden (NSW) on 23 May 43, under the command of Wing Commander Gordon H. Steege, DSO, DFC. The unit deployed to Goodenough Island (PNG), where it became operational on 27 June 43 under the control of 71 (Fighter) Wing.
At this time, 114's assigned radar stations were RS 401, a US Army Signal Corps unit, and RS 305, a RAAF unit that had deployed to nearby Kiriwina - many months before that island had been cleared of Japanese.
On 14 Aug 1943, 114 deployed to Kiriwina (PNG) where it came under the control of 73 (Fighter) Wing. The Kiriwina area was the scene of the unit's heaviest air defence activity of the war, with numerous air raids being carried out by the Japanese forces, with a similar number of interceptor and air defence artillery engagements under 114 control. It was during this phase of operations that 114 achieved its GCI "kills", the first of which occurred on 31 Oct 43, when FSGT Ian Callister of 79 SQN (Spitfire) destroyed a reconnaissance bomber.
On 15 Oct 43, the unit's first change of title occurred, when it was changed to No. 114 Mobile Fighter Sector HQ. The title again changed on 7 Mar 1944, when the unit was re-titled No. 114 Mobile Fighter Control Unit.
In Mar 1944, 114 began deploying to Los Negros Island (Admiralty Group). The unit advance party landed with the US 2nd Cavalry Regt (1st Calvary Division) on 2 Mar, the third day of the invasion, and were involved in the heaviest fighting of the campaign. The remainder of the unit arrived on 13 Mar and operations commenced on 2 Apr 1944. Under 114's operational control were Radar Stations 337, 340, 345, 346 and 347, which were deployed around the island group, often in areas still contested by the Japanese.
As enemy activity in the area continued to slacken the unit returned to Australia in Jan 45 to be re-equipped.
Early in Apr 1945, 114MFCU, with six radar stations (167, 168, 308, 309, 354 and 355), 35 officers and 779 other ranks, left Brisbane and moved to Morotai to come under the command of 1st Tactical Air Force RAAF and under the direct control of No. 78 (Fighter) Wing. On 26 Apr 1945, 114 left Morotai for Tarakan (Borneo, Netherlands East Indies) to take part in Operation OBOE 1, the assault echelon landing on 2 May. Despite extreme difficulties, the members of the unit and the radar stations acquitted themselves very well.
After the end of World War II, 114 returned to Australia, with No. 78 Wing in HMS Glory and reduced to a nucleus-basis, with locations at Deniliquin, Schofields and Williamtown. The unit was re-activated on 12 Mar 1956, at Dubbo NSW, by WGCDR J O'Donnell DFC. The unit title was again changed, this time to the current title - No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit.
Following the approval by the Governments of the UK, Australia and NZ for the formation of a British Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve to be based in Malaysia, Headquarters RAAF Butterworth was established on 23 Jan 1958. Arrangements were made for 114MCRU to be deployed to Butterworth as part of the RAAF component.
114 was established at Butterworth on 19 Aug 1958, and was on the air to provide surveillance for the arrival, from Australia, the first No. 78 Wing Sabres (3Sqn). The unit became fully operational on 1 Dec 1958, assuming area control and reporting responsibility from 487 Signals Unit RAF.
Throughout the next eight years, 114MCRU played an important role in the operational life of the Butterworth area. It took part in a variety of Air Defence exercises with elements of the RN, RAF, and RAAF, and controlled RAAF Sabres and Canberras engaged in "Firedog" operations against the Communist Terrorists during the closing stages of the Malaysian Emergency.
114 "stood to" again throughout the period of the confrontation with Indonesia, and maintained continuous operations from 19 Aug 58 to 20 Oct 66. During this period, a detachment of 114 maintained a "Gap Filler" radar at Kampong Chang Kat (south of Butterworth).
On 1 Apr 68, 114 reformed at Amberley under WGCDR W.F.A. Waldock, equipped with the "Hubcap" Air Defence System.
Re-equipped with the AN/TPS-43 radar in 1979, 114 then operated as a highly mobile Control and Reporting Post, developing the deployment techniques and battlefield operating procedures that have established 114's reputation as a tactical unit.
In 1984, 114 received the Tactical Air Defence System and commenced work-up trials, culminating in a commissioning ceremony in 1985.
In 1986, the Unit was also equipped with a Deployable Sector Air Defence Operations Centre, housed in three refurbished transportable cabins. In recognition of 114MCRU's distinguished service to Australia in war and peace, a Squadron Standard bearing Battle Honours was presented to the Unit on 23 May 1990.
In May/Jun 97, the unit was relocated to RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory, to occupy the Northern Region Operations Centre (NORTHROC) facility. The unit was relocated to a new facility on RAAF Base Darwin Dec 99. The official opening of the new facility took place 15 Mar 2000.
114MCRU has established itself as a highly capable battlefield surveillance and control asset, capable of short notice deployment by land, sea or air. In essence, 114 has regained its original capability - a truly mobile, battlefield unit - capable of providing quality aerospace air battle management within Australia or overseas.
Tarakan Island is about 25km long and 18 km wide at its widest point. The island is near the Sesajap River in northeast Borneo. Tarakan township has as its port, Lingkas, on the southwestern coast, offering docking facilities and a harbour. The island is over 2000km from Darwin and 1400km from Singapore. Japanese attacks had begun in January 1942 against the Dutch colonial administrators, and at the time of the Oboe operations, the Japanese had garrisoned the island for more than three years.
By April 1945 the forces of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy were reeling under the pressure of Allied operations to retake the Pacific. Forces from the United States Navy and Marine Corps had fought a dogged ‘island hopping' campaign to the very shores of Japan, while the men of the AIF set about retaking New Guinea and the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia). Japanese resistance in the Indonesian Archipelagic regions was particularly troublesome, and Australian casualties in the latter stages of the war remained high.
Nevertheless, the liberation of these islands was considered vital to the Allied war efforts. Australian advances therefore continued, and Operation Oboe I was launched on 01 May 1945 to recapture Tarakan Island just off the coast of Borneo. Borneo, then as now, was known for its rich oil fields.
Providing operational early warning and fighter control to the RAAF in support of the 26th Brigade, AIF, 114MCRU disembarked at Tarakan on 02 May 1945. In the subsequent four days of vicious fighting the Australians lost more than two hundred men to the Japanese, who only ceased resistance when they had been virtually wiped out. Various estimates put Japanese casualties in the vicinity of 1500 killed. Well established by the end of the fighting, 114MCRU remained on Tarakan Island until December 1945 when it was rotated back to Australia prior to being disbanded.
For its operations during the Oboe I campaign, 114MCRU was granted the Battle Honour ‘Borneo 1945' for its unit colours; thus beginning the Unit's long standing association with the Oboe Operations, in addition to the commemorative activities celebrated each year in May on ‘Tarakan Day'.
The standard of No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit is a silk flag in the azure blue of the Royal Australian Air Force having, in it's centre, the Unit crest. It is bordered with the floral emblems of the States and Territories of Australia. The Standard is richly fringed and tasselled in gold wire and blue silk, and is hung from the staff by a gilded sphere topped by an eagle statue.
The 114MCRU Squadron Standard recognises the Unit's contributions in the Pacific (1943-1945), New Britain (1943), New Guinea (1943-1944) and Borneo (1945) operational theatres