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No 24 Squadron

Formed at Amberley, Queensland in June 1940, No 24 Squadron moved to Townsville in October and began maritime patrols off the Australian East Coast, until the unit was deployed to New Britain in December 1941.

As Japanese forces advanced, the base at Rabaul soon came under constant attack. On the 20 February 1942 over one hundred Japanese aircraft struck the island. No 24 Squadron Wirraways took off to intercept the raiders but were immediately attacked by a large force of "Zero" fighters. Against such odds no effective defence could be offered - three Wirraways were shot down, two crash landed and another was damaged. With only two Wirraways and one Hudson remaining, the sick and wounded were evacuated, while the remainder of the Squadron's personnel trekked through dense jungle until their eventual rescue by Empire flying boats.

In July 1942, No 24 Squadron moved to Bankstown, New South Wales, where it operated an assortment of aircraft, including Airacobra and Buffalo fighters, Wirraways and Vengeance dive-bombers.

By August 1943, the Unit had standardised with Vengeances and was soon deployed to New Guinea, where dive-bomber operations commenced from Nadzab. Accurate attacks were made against enemy occupied towns and on Japanese positions at Shaggy Ridge. The Vengeances also supported the Cape Gloucester landings before being withdrawn to Australia in March 1944.

After re-equipping with Liberator heavy bombers No 24 Squadron moved to the Northern Territory and commenced anti-shipping strikes, armed reconnaissance missions and bomber attacks against enemy occupied territory. Strikes, particularly against Balikpapan, continued until Japan's surrender in August. After the war No 24 Squadron Liberators were used to ferry POWs and other personnel from Morotai to Australia.

On 30 April 1951 the Squadron was reformed as No 24 (Fighter) Squadron Citizen Air Force at RAAF Mallala. On 16 July of that year, the first four CAC Mustang aircraft arrived from Tocumwal, with two CAC Wirraway aircraft arriving from Point Cook on 27July.

On 7 May 1951, the Squadron received a charter from the Council of the City of Adelaide granting the designation of No 24 (City of Adelaide) Squadron.

The Squadron continued to grow with the arrival of two De Havilland Tiger Moth aircraft from Richmond on 1 August, to be used for Ab Initio training. CAC Winjeels eventually replaced these aircraft on 28 January 1959.

Reorganisation of the Citizen Air Force in 1960 changed the role of all CAF Squadrons from flying training to ground training. On 1 March 1960, No 24 Squadron became No. 24 (City of Adelaide) (Auxiliary) Squadron, and moved from RAAF Mallala to a temporary home at RAAF North Adelaide, before moving to RAAF Base Edinburgh.

In August 1961, the Squadron was informed that, in common with other Auxiliary Squadrons, they would be affiliated with a Permanent Air Force flying Squadron. No 24 Squadron was officially affiliated with No 1 (Bomber) Squadron in at a Parade held in the presence of the then SA Governor, Sir Eric Bastyan KCMG, KBE, CB, on 8 July 1962.

Meanwhile, in June 1961 approval was granted for the Squadron to commence training on English Electric/GAF Canberra B 20 bombers. For a number of years the Squadron would spend working weekends at Edinburgh servicing Canberra aircraft flown down from RAAF Base Amberley QLD, as well as travelling once a year to Amberley for their two week Annual Camp, spent working on tarmac with No 1 Sqn personnel.

The Squadron was also involved in maintenance of the various aircraft resident on Edinburgh in support of the last of the Maralinga trials and the then ongoing weapons testing and research work conducted at Woomera.

In August 1968, following the transfer of No 11 Squadron to Edinburgh from Richmond, New South Wales, the Squadron retrained on Lockheed P3B Orion aircraft. In November 1977, the squadron was affiliated with No 92 Wing and today continues to support the Maritime Patrol Group operating the AP-3C Orion. On 28 May 1979, the squadron received the Freedom of Entry to the City of Adelaide. The Lord Mayor, The Right Honourable Mr George Joseph, presented the Freedom Scroll at a ceremonial parade.

In March 1981, the Citizens Air Force was renamed the Royal Australian Air Force Active Reserve (RAAFAR) and No 24 Squadron became affiliated with RAAF Base Edinburgh.

In 1998 the RAAFAR was re-organised, with No 24 Squadron becoming a unit of the Combat Reserve Wing (CRESW) in concert with all other Reserve squadrons. From 2010, No 24 (City of Adelaide) Squadron has been transferred to Combat Support Group (CSG), and as a Permanent Air Force unit with Reserve elements, is now responsible for Base operations functions, as well as providing support to deployed units and other combat support functions.

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