No 44 (Radio) Wing was formed

14 Dec 1942

Motto: Steadfastness

No 44 (Radio) Wing was formed at Adelaide River, Northern Territory on 14 December 1942. It is made up of two subordinate units, Nos 452 and 453 Squadrons, based at RAAF Bases Darwin and Williamtown respectively. The Wing forms part of the Surveillance and Response Group with its headquarters located at RAAF Base Williamtown in NSW.

The primary role of No 44 Wing is to administer and technically control radio stations. During World War II, the Wing was responsible for the administration, technical control, and logistical support for radio stations in the region. At the time of its formation, there were six operational radio stations in the area. As the war progressed, more radio stations came online, increasing to a total of twenty-one by the end of the war.

On 18 January 1943, FLTLT Rex W Wadsley assumed command of 44 Wing. Initially, the Wing relied on HMAS Patricia Cam for supplies, but when the ship was sunk on 26 January 1943, they had to rely on re-supply via delivery by operational aircraft. In April 1943, the Wing was comprised of twelve officers and seventy-four airmen. However, the lack of its own aircraft by June 1943 made it difficult for it to manage and operate its radio stations.

No 44 Wing was redesignated as a Radio Direction Finding Wing in January 1943, as part of a larger effort to fix the administration, technology control and logistical support for radio stations during World War II. The Wing gave excellent warning to Darwin's Spitfire Squadrons regarding upcoming attacks. In September 1943 the Wing changed from No 44 (Radio) Wing to No 44 (Radar) Wing. Despite the name change, their role remained the same. The Wing was disbanded on August 22, 1944.

No 44 Wing was reactivated on 27 November 2000 under the command of GPCAPT Terrance C. Delahunty. The Wing took control of eleven Air Traffic Control Flights, which had previously been commanded by No 41 Wing. In October 2002, control of Air Traffic Control activities was also placed under No 44 Wing. Five months after reactivation, members of the Wing based at Tindal and Darwin were sent to attend Anzac Day ceremonies in Adelaide River, thereby renewing the Wing’s connection to its place of origin.

In recent years, No 44 Wing has been involved in a number of deployments, including to Iraq, Solomon Islands, Banda Aceh, and Haiti. The Wing is also involved in major exercises such as Pitch Black, Talisman Sabre, and Hamel, as well as regular overseas deployments to locations including New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and the United States.

To learn more see this extract from Units of the Royal Australian Air Force by Despina Tramoundanis.

Related base

  • RAAF Base Williamtown