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No 450 Squadron

No 450 Squadron formed without aircraft in February 1941, and departed Australia for the Middle East two months later. On arrival squadron personnel were incorporated into No 260 Squadron - an RAF Hurricane unit - for operations against Vichy French targets in Syria.

With the end of the campaign in July, the two squadrons were separated and No 450 Squadron moved to Rayak, where it was allocated Hurricanes and Magisters. However, after only two weeks, No 450 Squadron's aircraft were re-allocated and squadron personnel were moved to Burg-El-Arab to undertake aircraft repair duties.

Finally, in January 1942, No 450 Squadron received Kittyhawks and began training as an operational fighter squadron.

In the face of the advancing Afrika Corps, No 450 Squadron flew constant bombing and strafing missions, as well providing escort for allied bombers. Although Kittyhawk losses were heavy, No 450 Squadron maintained its damaging attacks against German and Italian forces.

Following the Allied break through at El Alamein, No 450 Squadron was constantly on the move. Operating from hastily constructed airfields, several personnel were killed or wounded by mines left by the retreating enemy.

With the end of the North African campaign in May 1943, No 450 Squadron - staging through Malta - arrived in Italy, where the Kittyhawks were to fly ground attack operations for the remainder of the war.

In addition to its operations in Italy, the squadron also assisted Tito's partisans with attacks on ports and shipping along the Yugoslavian coastline. These attacks were particularly hazardous, as the Germans quickly developed an excellent anti-aircraft defence system.

On 21 March 1945, No 450 Squadron participated in a massed air attack against Venice Harbour, resulting in the sinking of two merchant ships, as well as the destruction of five warehouses and harbour facilities.

Soon after No 450 Squadron re-equipped with Mustangs, the war in Europe ended. Remaining in Italy, No 450 Squadron was disbanded at Lavariano on 20 August 1945.

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450 Squadron Association (external site)