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No 455 Squadron

After forming in New South Wales in May 1941, No 455 Squadron personnel sailed for England in June. The Squadron was equipped with Hampden bombers and commenced mine laying operations in French Coastal waters. These coastal operations were later supplemented with bombing attacks against German industrial targets.

The Squadron was transferred to RAF Coastal Command in April and retrained in torpedo bombing. Despite their obsolescence, the Squadron's lumbering Hampdens maintained a high rate of effort and over time managed to sink or damage a number of ships.

In September 1942, No 455 Squadron deployed to the Soviet Union to protect an Arctic convoy that was expected to come under a German naval attack. This enemy attack did not eventuate and after handing over their aircraft to the Soviet Air Force, Unit personnel returned to England.

After receiving replacement Hampdens the Squadron continued anti shipping and anti submarine patrols until mid-1943. During this period the Unit achieved significant successes, most notably the sinking of a 4,000 tonne vessel in January and a 6,000 tonne vessel in May.

After being re-equipped with Beaufighters in October 1943, No 455 Squadron moved to Langham, where it and No 489 Squadron formed one of Coastal Command's new strike Wings.

No 455 Squadron was to provide escort for the torpedo-carrying Beaufighters of No 489 Squadron - a role that exposed the Squadron's Beaufighters to intense anti-aircraft barrages and enemy fighters. Operating in the confines of the narrow Norwegian Fjords, Squadron losses were invariably heavy. In spite of these hazards many enemy ships were sunk.

Following the Squadron's move to Thornaby, No 455 Squadron continued its attack on German shipping in the Baltic Sea during the last stages of the war. On 3 May 1945, the Australian Beaufighters flew their last successful operation when they left two minesweepers ablaze.

No 455 Squadron disbanded at Thornaby on 25 May 1945.

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