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No 12 Squadron

In February 1939, No 12 Squadron formed at Laverton Victoria and within five months relocated to Darwin - becoming the first RAAF Squadron permanently based in the Northern Territory. In September of that year, No 12 Squadron received its first Wirraways, which in conjunction with the Squadron's Ansons, provided reconnaissance patrols along Australia's northern coastline.

Following Japan's entry to the War reconnaissance patrols intensified. Fortunately the squadron's aircraft were dispersed on several airfields when the Japanese launched two massive air attacks against Darwin in February 1942. No 12 Squadron lost two Wirraways on the ground and a considerable quantity of technical equipment and stores when its new hangar was gutted by fire.

Following these raids, No 12 Squadron was kept busy dropping supplies to survivors stranded when their ships were sunk by the Japanese. As the threat of invasion appeared imminent, No 12 Squadron concentrated their maritime and anti-submarine patrols to the north of Darwin harbour.

After being re-equipped with Vultee Vengeance dive bombers, No 12 Squadron moved to Marauke in Dutch New Guinea, flying anti-submarine submarine patrols and convoy escort.

In mid 1944 No 12 Squadron moved to Queensland and commenced re-arming with Liberator heavy bombers. Following its return to Darwin in 1945, the squadron resumed its strikes against enemy shipping around Timor and in the Banda and Arafura Seas.

After Japan's surrender, No 12 Squadron dropped supplies of medicine and food to Allied POWs throughout the Dutch East Indies - the Liberators were also used to repatriate many of these unfortunate individuals to Australia.

No 12 Squadron was based at Amberley in 1974 when it received the first of 12 twin rotor Chinook medium-lift helicopters. The versatility of the Chinooks ensured that their tasks were varied to say the least. They were regularly used in Army exercises, lifting artillery pieces and carrying troops. Civil aid activities also accounted for much of the Chinooks' flying effort, including numerous air-sea rescues and the delivery of fodder to livestock stranded by flood waters.

Following the introduction of the Blackhawk helicopter - which was expected to fulfil some of the Chinook's roles - No 12 Squadron was disbanded on 25 August 1989.

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