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No 5 Squadron

No 5 Squadron formed in England in September 1917 and, although the squadron did not see any action during World War I, it provided vital training for fighter pilots prior to their postings to operational squadrons.

Between the wars, equipped with Walrus amphibian aircraft, No 5 Squadron operated from Royal Australian Navy cruisers, providing the Navy with a reconnaissance and artillery-spotting capability.

No 5 Squadron received its first Australian-built Boomerangs mid-way through World War II, deploying to Bougainville Island in November 1944. Flying artillery-spotting and reconnaissance operations, the squadron also provided close support missions in support of Australian troops. Often this involved identifying Japanese positions and then acting as lead aircraft for Corsair attack runs.

Following the war, No 5 Squadron disbanded, but reformed 18 years later to serve in Malaysia. The squadron's Iroquois helicopters were used for troop insertion and extractions, resupply operations and medical evacuations during the Malaysian/Indonesian "Confrontation".

After returning to Australia, No 5 Squadron was heavily committed to providing training for infantry battalions prior to their departure for Vietnam. No 5 Squadron helicopters were also used extensively in flood relief work, searches for lost civilians and providing search and rescue capabilities at a number of defence bases.

In July 1976 four helicopters, along with maintenance personnel and aircrews, were deployed to Ismailia, Egypt, for service with a United Nations peace-keeping force.

With the new French-built Squirrels and the ubiquitous Iroquois - which soldiered on in the army support role - No 5 Squadron continued its activities until December 1989, when it disbanded and was absorbed into the Australian Defence Force Helicopter Training School.

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