Squadrons of the Australian Flying Corps
Operational Flights of the Australian Flying Corps
Australian Naval and Military Expedition Force. Between the 10th and 18th of August 1914 an expeditionary force was assembled under the banner of the Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary Force to invade the German Colonies in German New Guinea and Rabaul. Two aircraft were supplied by the then fledgling Australian Flying Corps to support the operation.
Mesopotamian Half Flight. The Mesopotamian Half Flight was mobilised at the request of the Indian Government to support the entente forces in the Mesopotamian campaign of 1915. The Half Flight served throughout the campaign, joining forces with 30 Squadron RFC until the Siege of Kut.
Home Defence Flight. In late 1917 the German Raider, SMS Wolf was operating in Australian waters along with it's Friedrichshafen Seaplane. The Central Flying School in co-operation with Australian and British ships attached a reconnaissance flight for Home Defence.
O Flight Royal Air Force. O Flight was a long range strategic flight attached to 3 Squadron Australian Flying Corps in late 1918. The flight flew Rolls Royce engined Bristol Fighter aircraft unlike the RE8's in the rest of the squadron.
Royal Australian Navy Aviation. Although there was interest in Australia to create a naval aviation arm called the Royal Australian Naval Air Service nothing came of it. In the Indian Ocean, HMAS Brisbane used a Sopwith Baby to search for the German raider SMS Wolf, while in Scotland, the flagship of the Second British Battlefleet, HMAS Australia was used for experiments in flying aircraft off Battlecruisers. HMAS Sydney also carried aircraft to defend against German seaplanes and Zeppelins.
Squadrons of the Australian Flying Corps
1 Squadron Australian Flying Corps. Originally composed of several original Australian Flying Corps members, 1 Squadron sailed for Egypt from Melbourne in 1915. The Squadron replaced 17 Squadron RFC in the Egyptian campaign flying BE aircraft in the Army Cooperation role. The Squadron supported the British and Commonwealth ground forces through the Suez and Beersheeba campaigns until in 1918 the Squadron received Bristol Fighters when the Squadron quickly established air superiority over the German Pascha forces.
2 Squadron Australian Flying Corps. Formed in Egypt from a nucleus of 1 Sqn AFC aircrew and newly recruited Lighthorse volunteers, 2 Squadron sailed for England and further training before being deployed on the Western Front with Airco DH5 aircraft. The squadron was to distinguish itself in the Cambrai battles before receiving the speedy SE5a Scout. The squadron took part in high altitude sweeps, taking on the Luftstrietkrafte Albatros and Fokker aircraft in spiraling dogfights in the French and Belgian skies. By wars end 2 Sqn AFC, was one of the leading scout squadrons in 80 Wing.
3 Squadron Australian Flying Corps. Mobilized in Australia as a Corps Squadron to support infantry the Squadron deployed to France flying RE8 observation aircraft. The Squadron was intimately involved in many extraordinary and now legendary incidents in World War I aviation combat. It was a 3 Squadron RE8 that was the "Ghost RE8', the squadron was intimately involved in the episode of the Red Barons death, the squadron produced the aircraft with the most hours over enemy lines and managed to capture a Halberstadt in the air and escort it to their aerodrome.
4 Squadron Australian Flying Corps. Flying Sopwith Camels and later Sopwith Snipes, No.4 Squadron was the leading Australian scout squadron producing the three leading Australian Flying Corps aces. The squadron included achievers such as Arthur "Harry" Cobby, Roy "Bo" King, Edgar McCloughry, Herbert "Gilles" Watson and many other aces. The squadron often raised the number for aircraft destroyed in a month and by the wars end was one of the leading and most consistent allied squadrons.
Flying Schools of the Australian Flying Corps
The New South Wales State Aviation School. The New South Wales State Aviation School (NSWSAS) was founded by the New South Wales Government at Ham Common in New South Wales. Ham Common had been a favoured aerodrome of pre-war Australian aviation enthusiasts, most notably William Hart, who nearly met his end in a crash at Ham Common. The school was announced in February 1916 and applications for students made. The school was intended as a Civil school which would supply aircrew to the Australian Flying Corps for the period of the war and then post-war train civil aircrew. After the war the School wound down until the aerodrome's property was purchased by the fledgling Royal Australian Air Force. The old training ground is currently the site of RAAF Airbase Richmond.
Queensland Volunteer Flying Civilians. The Queensland Volunteer Flying Civilians was formed from the initiative and vision of two men, Major T. McLeod and Lieutenant V. Rendle along with 550 pound from the The Courier Aeroplane Fund. The School trained seven pilots which all travelled to London and the cadets all joined the Royal Flying Corps and later served with the RFC on the Western Front.
Australian Flying Corps : A Complete History of the Australian Flying Corps