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No 32 Squadron

Hastily formed at Port Moresby in February 1942 with personnel drawn from other Units, No 32 Squadron commenced reconnaissance and bomber operations from the very day of its formation.

In the face of advancing Japanese forces, No 32 Squadron Hudsons covered vast tracks of ocean searching for enemy shipping. Encounters with Japanese fighters saw with many aircraft returning to base with wounded and dead crewmen on board. Port Moresby soon came under regular air attack and on 24 February Japanese bombers struck, demolishing much of the Unit's camp, and destroying one aircraft on the ground.

Despite this, operations continued unabated, and on 7 March the Squadron attacked a Japanese convoy leaving an 8,000 ton transport ship ablaze and listing heavily.

Two months later, a No 32 Squadron crew located a Japanese aircraft carrier and other warships - information which proved to be of great value to Allied commanders during the Battle of the Coral Sea.

In the critical ground campaign now being fought in New Guinea, No 32 Squadron, already heavily committed to reconnaissance and attack operations, began hazardous supply drops to Australian troops. This aerial re-supply was to have a direct bearing on the eventual success of the campaign.

No 32 Squadron Hudsons also played an important part in the Battle for Milne Bay - when a reconnaissance mission successfully located Japanese invasion barges in the vicinity of Goodenough Island. Australian Kittyhawk fighters subsequently destroyed these vessels.

In September 1942 the Squadron was withdrawn to Southern Australia and was re-equipped with Australian built Beauforts the following year. No 32 Squadron spent the remainder of the war patrolling off Australia's East Coast, until the unit was disbanded in November 1945.

Equipped with HS748 aircraft, No 32 Squadron reformed at East Sale on 1 July 1989, operating in support of the School of Air Navigation and in the transport role. In 1997, King Air 200 aircraft operated alongside the HS748 as an evaluation of future Unit requirements. On 30 June 2004, the HS748 aircraft flew in Squadron service for the final time, and were replaced by Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft that operated in support of Navigator and Observer Training at the School of Air Navigation.

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