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No 11 Squadron

Formed at Port Moresby New Guinea in March 1939 with Empire flying boats and Seagull amphibians, No 11 Squadron's first role was to monitor Japanese shipping movements in the region.

After Japan's entry in the War, No 11 Squadron was re-equipped with Catalina flying boats and despite having to operate out of remote bases throughout the region, the Squadron sustained a very high rate of operations. Throughout the War, the Catalinas flew long-range patrols of up to twenty hours, often involving night bombing attacks on Japanese island strongholds.

As the Japanese maintained their southward thrust, No 11 Squadron aircraft evacuated military personnel and civilians caught in the path of the advancing enemy. By February 1942, Port Moresby itself came under attack and the destruction of several flying boats on the water forced a withdrawal to northern Australia where operations continued uninterrupted.

On the night of 2 March 1943, Catalinas staging through Milne Bay shadowed a large Japanese convoy during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. The next day, the convoy was almost completely destroyed in one of the decisive actions of the South West Pacific campaign.

April 1943 saw a mixed formation of Nos 11 and 20 Squadron Catalinas carry out the RAAF's first mine laying operation when magnetic mines were successfully laid near Kaiving. This mission marked the commencement of a highly successful mining campaign that was responsible for the sinking of many ships, the disruption of maritime trade and the closure of ports. In one operation No 11 Squadron participated in a mine laying mission to Manila Bay - the Catalinas flew over 14,500 kilometres - making this operation the RAAF's longest of the war.

After the war, No 11 Squadron was re-equipped with Lincolns, and deployed to Western Australia to conduct maritime patrols over the Indian Ocean. Lincoln operations were short lived however, as No 11 Squadron began receiving its first Neptunes the following year.

In February 1957, three No 11 squadron Neptunes participated in "Operation Westbound" - the RAAF's first around the world flight.

The Squadron moved to South Australia in January 1968, re-equipping with P-3B Orions later that year. The "B" model Orions provided sterling service until their replacement with P-3C Orions in 1986. With these aircraft No 11 Squadron continues to provide Australia with an invaluable long-range anti-shipping and anti-submarine capability.

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