Prime Minister announces expeditionary forces to assist RAF

20 Sep 1939

Prime Minister Robert Menzies announced to Parliament that Australia was offering the British Government an expeditionary force to bolster the Royal Air Force as it expanded for World War II.

Apart from a force headquarters, the offer comprised 1 Fighter Wing Headquarters with Nos 7 and 15 Squadrons, 2 Bomber Wing Headquarters with Nos 1 and 8 Squadrons; 3 Bomber Wing Headquarters with Nos 16 and 17 Squadrons, along with an Air Stores Park, a Medical Receiving Station, a Base Area Headquarters and a Base Depot.

The number of personnel required to man this force, including a reinforcement pool of 225, totalled 3,200 officers and men.

Although the offer was accepted, and recruitment actually commenced on 9 October, Australia’s subsequent commitment to the Empire Air Training Scheme saw the expeditionary plan put on hold on 20 October, then cancelled altogether 11 days later.