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Fairey Battles, Wirraways and a Hawker Demon
1 Bombing and Gunnery School
RAAF Evans Head, NSW
Photo via Mike Mirkovic

     
 

RAAF Fairey Battle Image Gallery

 
     
 

The RAAF was allocated up to 377* Fairey Battles from RAF stocks and they all retained their RAF Serials in RAAF service despite being allocated the RAAF prefix A22.

While the arrival of the early Battle consignments in 1940 were announced to the Australian public as having a secondary combat capability, the reality was these aircraft were overwhelming used for bombing,  gunnery, observer and pilot training, target towing duties as well as some use as communications and trials aircraft.

The first four Battles (P2167, P2169, P5239, P5247) were delivered to No 1 Aircraft Park at Geelong on 30 April 1940, and Flight Lieutenant J. Lerew tested the first assembled aircraft, P5239, on 29 June 1940.

Fairey Battle deliveries continued until the last Battle (V1202) was received at No 2 Aircraft Park on 7 December 1943.

Many Battles also arrived ex RAF having suffered from signifigant corrosion or damage prior to receipt by the RAAF. Considerable effort was expended in trying rectify the problems and quite a number of them were written off or relegated to instructional airframe use either on arrival or after lengthy attempts to make them serviceable.

Units operating the Battle included 1 BGS/1 AOS (Cootamundra and Evans Head), 2 AOS (Mount Gambier) , 2 BGS/3 AOS (Port Pirie), 3 BGS/AGS (West Sale), 1 OTU, CFS, CGS (Sale, Mildura and Cressy), 1 Comms Flight/1 Comms Unit, 3 Comms Flight, 6 Comms Unit, 7 Comms Unit, 4 SFTS (Geraldton), 6 SFTS (Mallala), 12 Sqn, 22 Sqn, 24 Sqn, 35 Sqn. At least 13 Battles were also used as instructional airframes.

By 1944/45 most Battles had been either written off or placed in storage for disposal and the last of them were written off by 1949.

Partial remains of a handful ex RAAF Battles survive today, with the most complete being N2188 which is undergoing long term restoration with the team at the South Australian Aviation Museum in Port Adelaide.

* There are still some RAAF Fairey Battle serial number anomalies that we are clearing up. Different sources record varying total figures of Battles allotted from the RAF and received by the RAAF in Australia. We will note and explain the anomalies on these pages as research continues.

 
     
 
Pages.by.Serial.Range Quantity Serials
K7575 to K9486 Airframe Histories

Fairey Battle Mk.1
K7600/00
January 1944
Photo via Mike Mirkovic

51

K7575, K7600, K7607, K7613, K7619, K7622, K7638, K7643, K7649, K7659, K7672, K7676, K7687, K7705, K7710,

K9177, K9206, K9219, K9227, K9228, K9232, K9262, K9282, K9288, K9290, K9291, K9297, K9322, K9324, K9346, K9362, K9368, K9371, K9375, K9380, K9388,  K9393, K9411, K9422, K9426, K9429, K9435, K9442, K9443, K9444, K9447, K9464, K9468, K9478, K9486.

Anomalies:
K9219 The form E/E.88 for K9219 is incorrectly marked as L9219 which was an RAF Blenheim IV.
K9288 Noted in some references as an RAAF airframe but this aircraft went to the RCAF as 2054.
K9323 Noted in some references as an RAAF airframe but this aircraft went to the RCAF.
K9392 Noted in some references as an RAAF airframe, which is understandable as the status card for N9392 is incorrectly marked as "K9392". The real K9392 served with the RAF from 19/11/38 and was then transferred to the SAAF on 09/07/41 where it became 981.

L4941 to L5798 Airframe Histories

Fairey Battle
Target Tug L5704
1 Bombing and Gunnery School
Mt.Magnet air strip
c1942
Photo via Mike Mirkovic

193

L4941, L4954, L4958, L4970, L4974, L4975, L4982, L4985, L4998, L4998, L4999, L5005, L5006, L5012, L5013, L5015, L5017, L5018, L5022, L5023, L5028, L5029, L5031, L5038, L5044, L5046, L5049, L5050, L5052, L5061, L5069, L5070, L5082, L5087, L5094, L5096, L5105, L5108, L5108, L5117, L5122, L5124,  L5128, L5129, L5134, L5142, L5143, L5151, L5152, L5156, L5158, L5163, L5170, L5173, L5202, L5212, L5215, L5217, L5221, L5223, L5240, L5244, L5251, L5257, L5257, L5258, L5262, L5267, L5274, L5278, L5285, L5291, L5302, L5305, L5311, L5313, L5320, L5322, L5326, L5354, L5357, L5358, L5382, L5385, L5387, L5390, L5403, L5407, L5409, L5417, L5425, L5434, L5435, L5444, L5452, L5471, L5478, L5488, L5522, L5527, L5529, L5533, L5551, L5594, L5595, L5596, L5599, L5600, L5602, L5603, L5604, L5609, L5610, L5617, L5626, L5629, L5633, L5636, L5639, L5640, L5644, L5650, L5651, L5652, L5653, L5654, L5655, L5656, L5657, L5658, L5659, L5660, L5665, L5670, L5672, L5679, L5675, L5676, L5677, L5678, L5679, L5683, L5684, L5687, L5689, L5690, L5692, L5693, L5694, L5695, L5697, L5700, L5701, L5702, L5703, L5704, L5709, L5710, L5721, L5723, L5724, L5725, L5727, L5728, L5734, L5735, L5736, L5738, L5741, L5751, L5754, L5756, L5757, L5758, L5759, L5760, L5763, L5764, L5765, L5770, L5772, L5774, L5778, L5779, L5781, L5785, L5789, L5790, L5791, L5792, L5794, L5696, L5797, L5698.

Anomalies:
L2166 Noted in some references as an RAAF airframe, which is understandable as the form E/E.88 for N2166 was marked "L2166" in error.
L5240 & L5285 Possible anomalies - being researched.
L5696 & L5698 Were both allotted to the RAAF in the UK and dispatched from 47 MU (RAF Sealand) on on 18/10/40 and records end at that point. They are presumed to have been lost in transit.
L5777 Noted in some references as an RAAF airframe. Went to SAAF as 1051.
L9219 The form E/E.88 for K9219 is incorrectly marked as L9219 which was an RAF Blenheim IV.

N2027 to N2256 Airframe Histories

Fairey Battle

37

N2027, N2038, N2039, N2045, N2053, N2054, N2063, N2064, N2065, N2066, N2089, N2090, N2091, N2092, N2096, N2107, N2124, N2163, N2166, N2170, N2176, N2179, N2182, N2188, N2223, N2225, N2228, N2229, N2233, N2236, N2240, N2244, N2247, N2250, N2251, N2255, N2256.

Anomalies:
N2017 Noted in some references as an RAAF airframe and an E/E.88 exists showing a Battle serialled N2017 as being received on 14/10/1942with no further information. In fact, this production batch began at N2020 and the serials N2017 to N2019 were never a allocated to any RAF airframe. It appears that this card was raised in error.
N9323 Noted in some references as an RAAF airframe. The form E/E.88 for K9323 was erroneously marked N9323. The real N9323 was an RAF Tiger Moth.
N2258 was an RAF Gloster Gladiator II.

P2157 to P6762 Airframe Histories

Fairey Battle
P5242 1941 
Photo via Gordy Birkett

45

P2157, P2166, P2167, P2168, P2169, P2263, P2264, P2276, P2300, P2305, P2317, P2322, P2354, P2363, P2364, P2365, P5234, P5239,

P5242, P5243, P5247, P5249, P5273, P5275, P5281, P5289,

P6481, P6483, P6484, P6489, P6493, P6499, P6503, P6509, P6531, P6536, P6602, P6622, P6631, P6642, P6664, P6677, P6720,  P6729, P6762.

Anomalies:
P2145
Quoted in some references as an RAAF Battle. The real P2145 was an RAF Hampden I.
P2263 The form E/E.88 for P2263 was labelled incorrectly as "L2263". The real L2263 was an RAF Walrus.
P5143 Noted in some references as an RAAF airframe. The form E/E.88 for L5143 was labelled incorrectly as "P5143". The real P5143 was an RAF Lockheed Hudson I.
P6728 Currently Researching

R3924 to R7385 Airframe Histories

Fairey Battle
1 Bombing and Gunnery School
RAAF Evans Head, NSW
Photo via Mike Mirkovic

26

R3924, R3925, R3927, R3928, R3929, R3931, R3934, R3936, R3939, R3944, R3948, R3949, R3951, R3954, R3956, R3957, R4002, R4006, R4008, R4009, R4012, R4019, R4049

R7377, R7380, R7385.

Anomalies:
R5956 Currently Researching

V1201 to V1277 Airframe Histories

Fairey Battle V1241 
Ansett workshop

23

V1201, V1202, V1203, V1206, V1207, V1208, V1209, V1210, V1219, V1221, V1227, V1232, V1233, V1235, V1237, V1238, V1241, V1242, V1243, V1250, V1270, V1271, V1277.

Anomalies:
V1216 Noted in some references as an RAAF airframe. Delivered to SAAF not RAAF.

  375  
 
     
 

Fairey Battle
Target Tug
L577?
1 Operational Training Unit
RAAF Bairnsdale
c1942
Photo via Mike Mirkovic Fairey Battle
Target Tug
L577?
1 Operational Training Unit
RAAF Bairnsdale
c1942
Photo via Mike Mirkovic Fairey Battle Crashed 
Garbutt QLD 
May 1942 Fairey Battle
Flinders Gunnery Practice Fairey Battles
2 Bombing and Gunnery School
RAAF Port Pirie, SA
Photo via Mike Mirkovic Fairey Battles, Wirraways and a Hawker Demon
1 Bombing and Gunnery School
RAAF Evans Head, NSW
Photo via Mike Mirkovic Fairey Battle Planes assembled on the grounds of the International Harvester factory (RAAF No 1 Air Park) at North Shore, Geelong during World War II  
State Library of Victoria 
via Brendan Cowan Fairey Battle
1 Bombing and Gunnery School
RAAF Evans Head, NSW
Photo via Mike Mirkovic Fairey Battle
Target Tug Fairey Battle Assembly at 1 AP Geelong SLV Fairey Battle Fairey Battle 24 Course 2 BGS Evans Head August 1941 1 Bombing and Gunnery School
RAAF Evans Head, NSW
 4 Course WOp AG graduates March 1941 21 Course
 1 Bombing and Gunnery School
RAAF Evans Head, NSW
Jan 1942 Training Wing
3 Bombing and Gunnery School
RAAF West Sale
September 1942
Photo via Mike Mirkovic Training Wing
3 Bombing and Gunnery School
RAAF West Sale
September 1942
Photo via Mike Mirkovic Part of 9WAG Course1 Bombing and Gunnery School
RAAF Evans Head, NSW
c1942
Photo via Mike Mirkovic

 
     
 

 
     

Fairey Battle L5156  Unknown Battle Mk.I take-off run, note Yellow wing stripes.
1 B.A.G.S.
Evans Head,
c.1941  
via Mike Mirkovic.

     

The Author of this page is Brendan Cowan.

Source: National Archives, Dean Normans Aircrew Project, Aircraft Status Cards, British Military Aircraft Serials 1911-1979 Bruce Robertson, www.ozatwar.com, Fairey Battle in the R.A.A.F. John Lever, The Battle File. Air-Britain.

Emails: Warwick Henry, Mike Draper, Greg Hyde, Keith Hayles, Wynnum Graham, Dean Norman, Gordon Birkett, Grahame Higgs, Bob Livingstone, Michael Louey.

Special thanks to Gordon Birkett for the artwork for P5239.

Updated 04 April 2016

     

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