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No 42 Squadron

Formed in the Northern Territory in June 1944, No 42 Squadron was soon deployed to New Guinea. Operating from Melville Bay, the unit's Catalinas flew reconnaissance and escort missions. However, by the end of the year, the squadron's role was concentrated on mine-laying operations. The squadron's highly successful mine-laying campaign soon sealed off most of the Celebes from coast-hugging Japanese vessels.

In October 1944, a No 42 Squadron Catalina damaged by anti-aircraft fire made a forced landing south of Japanese-occupied Celebes. Flying through enemy-held territory, a No 41 Squadron Catalina, accompanied by a B-24 Liberator, rescued the crew before destroying the downed Catalina to prevent its capture. A journey of nearly 2,500 kilometres through enemy airspace, this mission ranks as one of the epic sea rescues of the Pacific theatre.

No 42 Squadron's mine-laying operations continued until the end of hostilities. Following the war, the Catalinas assisted in the repatriation of POWs and other personnel until November 1945, when the squadron was disbanded.

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