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No 451 Squadron

No 451 Squadron, an Army co-operation unit, formed in New South Wales in February 1941 - sailing for Egypt three months later. Equipped with Hurricanes, the Squadron flew tactical reconnaissance operations against German and Italian forces.

In November 1941, No 451 Squadron supported British troops during the "Crusader" offensive - playing an important role in locating enemy troop concentrations and fortifications. During this offensive, a detachment of Squadron Hurricanes operating from within the Tobruk fortress suffered particularly heavy loses.

After the conclusion of "Crusader", No 451 Squadron was withdrawn from operational flying and placed on garrison duty in Syria and Cyprus for most of 1942. In January 1943 the Squadron returned to Egypt and with the allocation of Spitfires, was responsible for the air defence of part of the Nile Delta. With the Germans in retreat following allied victory at El Alamein, the Spitfires rarely encountered enemy aircraft for the remainder of 1943.

In March 1944, No 451 Squadron personnel moved to Corsica, and after being re-equipped with Spitfires, supported the invasion of Southern France. Enemy opposition to the invasion was slight and patrols over the bridgehead and bomber escort missions were uneventful.

At the end of 1944, No 451 Squadron moved to England and for the remainder of the war was engaged fighter sweeps and bomber escorts over enemy occupied territory. After Germany's surrender, No 451 Squadron moved to Germany as part of the Allied occupation force, where it disbanded on 21 January 1946.

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