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RAAF No. 34 Squadron

From Mallala
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Fast Facts
Type of organisation: Government
Also known as: 34th Squadron
Street name: Aerodrome
Street suffix: Road
Town or locality: Mallala
Date established: 1948
Ceased operation: 1955
Established by: RAAF
Business or purpose: RAAF Transport
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On 1 March 1948, the 34 Squadron was reformed at Mallala as 34 (Communications) Squadron, where it continued, as a VIP transport and reconnaissance Unit, principally in support of the various activities undertaken at the Woomera rocket range in South Australia, until it was disbanded on 28 October 1955.

The No 34 squadron was equipped with six C-47B Dakotas which were to be used on ferry or courier service between LRW Salisbury and Woomera Rocket Range.

Soon the Dakotas were replaced by Bristol freighters as the latter aircraft were easier to load, having huge doors that opened outwards in the nose, and also they were able to carry a more bulky type of cargo. For feeder service work, three Percival Prince aircraft were flown out from England.

These as well as the freighters and two Ansons that were already there did not belong to the Air Force but to the Department of Supply. The airmen who worked on them were under Air Force discipline although they were controlled by the requirements of LRW.

The Dakotas were likewise on loan from the Air Force to LRW.

Another job that No. 34 squadron had to do was that of air-sea rescue. Many times there were calls for assistance in the search for missing yachts in the Gulf. Also, aircraft were called upon to fly blood plasma to various isolated places in the state.

The Ansons played yet another part for the Department of Supply, such as aerial survey and searching for uranium. This search covered areas near Port Lincoln and along the coast as well as various other locations. Unfortunately, the first Anson crashed near Port Lincoln, but the search for uranium was continued as soon as the other Anson was fitted out with the special instruments. The crashed plane was dismantled and brought back to Mallala on semi-trailers and later sold as scrap metal.

Although 34 Squadron had a good flying record they were not without mishap. Late in 1953, while on a training flight, a Bristol freighter crashed and burnt near Mallala, killing the crew of three.

In September 1955 a Meteor aircraft exploded, spreading pieces across a wide area near the town of Mallala.

The 34 (Communications) Squadron, Mallala, finally was disbanded in October 1955. Aircraft were then stationed at Edinburgh Airfield, Salisbury.

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Memories of RAAF No. 34 Squadron

The image with the crowd at the Mallala Air Base shows the popularity of the Air Pageants which the 34th Squadron organized during the 1950s. Thousands of people came from all over Australia to see the various planes in action.

The personnel from the Squadron played a part in the local community. Several men played in the Mallala Football Team including the 1953 and l955 Premierships. Fl. Serg. Len Fosdike , who married a local girl, Shirley Pym, captained the team. Several other airmen married local girls including Don Ward (Elaine Jarmyn), Norm Waters (Beryl Earl), Lionel Bonning (June Williams).

The R.A.A.F also entered football and cricket teams in the local competitions.

Do you remember RAAF No. 34 Squadron ? Then Join up and add your memory here.

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