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No 31 Squadron

Equipped with Beaufighters, No 31 Squadron formed at Wagga, New South Wales in August, deploying to the Northern Territory three months later. Operating at low level, Beaufighter attacks often caught the enemy by surprise as demonstrated when a formation of No 31 Squadron Beaufighters caught forty Japanese fighters and bombers on the ground at Penfoei. Surprise was complete and eighteen aircraft were destroyed for no loss.

Another successful strike was made against Penfoei airfield in February 1943 when twelve aircraft were destroyed and ten damaged despite strong fighter opposition and heavy anti-aircraft fire.

Soon after this operation, No 31 Squadron concentrated its efforts on destroying an important Japanese reconnaissance base at Taberfane in the Aru Islands. The first operation was flown on 6 May when five Beaufighters destroyed nine enemy aircraft on the water. On 4 June, four Beaufighters were engaged over Tabufane by nine floatplanes, resulting in three enemy aircraft shot down for no loss. A week later, the Squadron destroyed seven floatplanes on the water and severely damaged another two. Successful attacks against this base continued despite increased anti-aircraft defences until eventually, the Japanese were unable to sustain their losses and evacuated Taberfane.

By the end of the war, No 31 Squadron had destroyed 54 aircraft and nine ships, and seriously damaged a further four ships. The Beaufighter's armament was steadily upgraded during the war, firstly with the addition of underwing bombs and later, wing mounted rockets were installed.

The Squadron's impressive wartime achievements came to an end in July 1946 when the unit was disbanded. A restructure of the RAAF Active Reserve, and changes to Combat Support Group saw No 31 Squadron reformed on 1 July 2010, and the Unit is now responsible for the provision of combat support to operations and training activities operating from RAAF Base Wagga. This includes many of the base administrative and logistics functions, and also support for deployed units and the local community. Recognising the historic links with the area, the Unit is now designated No 31 (City of Wagga Wagga) Squadron.

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