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Royal New Zealand Air Force

establishment of rnzaf at emirau

establishment of rnzaf at emirau

None of the moves of RNZAF units to their new bases in the South-West Pacific Area took place as early as intended, owing mainly to lack of shipping. The RNZAF had no vessels under its control, and American shipping was in short supply locally, as it was needed to support major operations in the Central Pacific.

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The first move to be effected was that of No. 3 (BR) Squadron, which had been stationed at Bougainville, to Emirau. A party of New Zealand officers was sent at the beginning of September 1944 to arrange for a camp site and investigate the question of supplies. The available accommodation was poor but the general supply position was quite good, as the Americans had one Ventura and several Corsair squadrons on the island and carried adequate stocks of engine and airframe spares. Towards the end of the month a works party was sent from Guadalcanal to put up stores and living quarters and to clear and level roadways for the New Zealand camp.

On 5 October an advance party of No. 10 Servicing Unit arrived by air, followed next day by the main body of the unit, with its equipment, aboard the USS Frank J. Sprague. The following week Venturas of No. 3 Squadron flew in, and the squadron began operations a week later.