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3 Squadron flew R.E.8 aircraft during WW1
- Click here for some fascinating stories of RE8 combat over the Western Front
[Luckily, they weren't allocated the earlier model, called the R.E.7. Here's why they were lucky!]
When 3 Squadron RAAF was formed in
1925, it started with a composite mix of Fighter, Light Bomber
and Army Cooperation aircraft, received from Britain as an "Imperial Gift" (in
return for Australia's donation of funds for many aircraft built in
Britain during the war.)
- This was technology that dated from WW1 - but well-engineered and familiar to the ex-AFC men who largely made up the tiny RAAF at that time.
Although that didn't stop many minor disasters ensuing during their inaugural journey to Richmond...
But these aircraft were soon put to good use.
Wapiti and Demon - Photos of two of the Squadron's main biplane types in the 1920s and 1930s.
The Squadron's first WW2 combats were fought using biplane Gloster Gladiators.
Our member Paul McGUINESS has written a comprehensive report on 3SQN's Gladiators.
See also our illustrated history of the development of the Gladiator.
For a short time in 1940, some even older Gloster Gauntlets were used for ground attack (dive-bombing).
Paul has also comprehensively described 3SQN's Gauntlets, detailing the missions flown by each aircraft and reconstructing data that has been lost from official records.
WW2 Original groundcrew member Les Fitzpatrick, who worked on the planes, also contributed a brief illustrated history of these aircraft.
Steve Mackenzie (and his brother Neil) have been researchers of 3 Squadron history and are avid collectors of photographs, particularly those relating to World War 2 aircraft, for decades. We proudly display some of the great articles Steve has written for his own Society (The International Plastic Modellers' Society of New South Wales) for our readers to enjoy.
Click here for Steve's informative article on the Lysander , including several attractive colour profile-drawings of individual aircraft.
MIDDLE EAST, 1940. A LOW-FLYING LYSANDER AIRCRAFT OF NO 3 SQUADRON, RAAF,
PICKING UP A MESSAGE SLUNG ON A LINE BETWEEN TWO RIFLES STUCK IN THE GROUND. [AWM 043191]
Another great article by Steve Mackenzie, showing rare photos of 3SQN's mount in the first third of 1941, when they racked-up big victory totals on the Hawker Hurricane.
And don't miss our great new 3SQN Hawker Hurricane Data Page, authored by our member Paul McGUINESS. This comprehensive listing discusses the 40 Hurricane aircraft used by 3SQN when they had the rare privilege of operating better-performing aircraft than those fielded by the Axis! Paul has listed all the key dates, personalities, victories and losses, airfields and engagements, with stirring eyewitness accounts of all 3SQN's major Hurricane battles, plus some interesting photos.
The conversion of 3SQN to Tomahawk aircraft in mid-1941
was the start of the Squadron's 3½-year association with various models
of the American-made Curtiss P-40.
Our member Paul McGUINESS has contributed this comprehensive 3SQN Tomahawk Data Page.
Click below to read Steve Mackenzie's well-illustrated story about Merlin-powered Kittyhawks:
The Kittyhawk Mk.IIa (P-40L) in 3 Sqn RAAF Service
A fascinating personal memoir by
the Canadian Desert Air Force Ace, "Eddie" Edwards: "Flying the Kitty",
explains the strengths and weaknesses
of the various models of the Curtiss P-40, which was 3SQN's war-horse for more than three years of combat.
Another great article from Steve Mackenzie... "3 Squadron RAAF Mustang IVa - A Reassessment"
And click here for John Stanley's artistic Mustang Profiles.
Not all of our WW2 aircraft were manufactured by Allied countries...
See our article: 3 Squadron's (Captured!) Italian Air Force.
The captured Me109s below were used by the
Squadron for training purposes and critical appraisal.
Click here to view pictures of opposing enemy aircraft
Supermarine Walrus. Although 3
Squadron didn't directly operate this aircraft, several of the
Squadron's pilots who baled out over the ocean were
then rescued by this homely (but surprisingly nimble) amphibian. Unbelievably, it was designed by Reginald Mitchell, the same man who created the supremely elegant Spitfire!
(And the Walrus may never have reached production had it not been for a timely order from Australia.)
In the late 1950s and for most of the
1960s, 3 Squadron operated the sporty Avon-engined C.A.C. Sabre
jet. It was a delightful performer in airshows.
Our article by Barry Weymouth explains the joys of "Flying the RAAF's Avon Sabre".
3 Squadron introduced the F35 strike fighter to RAAF operational service in the year 2018.
Drew Harrison is the artist who painted the superb pictures of Murray Nash's Mustang featuring in our article on Aviano ...
and he has prepared several other great paintings: Click Here to see Drew's 3 Sqn. Jet Paintings
3SQN's Aircraft Photo Gallery:
Avro 504k: 1916 (training)
Royal Aircraft RE8: 1917-18
Bristol F2b Fighter: 1918-19
Royal Aircraft SE5a: 1925-26
Airco DH9: 1925-26
Airco DH9A: 1925-29
Westland Wapiti: 1929-35
Hawker Demon: 1935-39
Westland Lysander: 1940
Gloster Gladiator: 1940-41
Gloster Gauntlet: 1940-41
Hawker Hurricane: 1941
Curtiss P40 Tomahawk: 1941-42
Curtiss P40 Kittyhawk: 1941-44
North American P51 Mustang III & IV: 1944-45 [US-built]
& 1948-53 [Australian-built].
Auster MkIII: 1948-52 Army Co-Op.
CAC Wirraway: 1948-52
CAC F86 Avon Sabre: 1956-67
DH Vampire: 1958-61. Used as a Squadron utility aircraft in Butterworth.
Dassault Mirage IIIO: 1967-86
North American Harvard ... During 1942, in the Middle East, the Squadron had regular use of three of these trainers. This replica, painted in the Squadron's original battle colours and displaying one of the original numbers: AJ944, was recently restored by John Rayner.
If you'd like to experience the joys of flying in this WWll trainer, call John in Melbourne on (0418) 311 686 and he'll tell you all about it.
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet:
1986 - 2017
3 Squadron Stories
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