|There are references
to RAAF personnel from both 458 & 459 Sqns operating
Maryland for very brief periods.
So far we have been unable to trace more than scant evidence and have not identified any of the aircraft involved.
458 Sqn RAAF
We are still looking for information about use of Martin Maryland aircraft by 458 Sqn aircrew.
The AWM collection image AC0037 of Maryland with the caption " Royal Air Force Martin Maryland light bomber believed some may have been flown, limited extent, by members NO. 458 Squadron RAAF in North Africa."
459 Squadron RAAF
At its formation on 10 February 1942, 459 Squadron, RAAF only had two Hudson Mk.III's on charge (T9397 & AM950) as it's initial unit equipment at Burg-el-Arab.
The Unit was attached to 203 Sqn, RAF at the this time which had both Blenheim IV's and Maryland I's on charge.
By 19/20 February 1942, Hudson T9397 was unserviceable requiring repair and overhaul and F/L Ian Campbell of 459 Sqn was offered a Maryland by 203 Sqn to participate in upcoming operations.
He accepted and did a very basic conversion and familiarisation on the type at Sidi Barrani on the 21st.
He then relocated to Bir Amud accompanied by a Blenheim (flown by Jack "Camel" Coates RAF 74699- then of 203 Sqn and later CO of 454 Sqn) for duties shadowing the Italian fleet.
On 22 Feb, Campbell in
the Maryland and Coates again in a Blenheim made contact with the
Italian fleet during their patrol and shadowed them.
Given that 203 Sqn & 459 Sqn were co-operating very closely at this time and that 459 really only started to receive more aircrew and airframes from around April 1942, you would have to wonder whether there were any other official or unofficial exchanges of equipment as 459 worked up strength - that is of course only conjecture at this stage.
So, whether 203 Sqn bothered to record anything about this episode or any others during this period would be really interesting to discover!
There is certainly no mention of this episode in the 459 Sqn Unit History Sheets!
AWM also have in their collection a film from Bob Curtis of this period of the 203 Sqn at the time that 459 Sqn was being formed. http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/F04789/
We would be happy to receive further information on this topic at email@example.com .
Page Author: Brendan Cowan.
Source: Australian War Memorial, National Archives of Australia, British Military Aircraft Serials 1911-1979 Bruce Robertson, http://www.454-459squadrons.org.au/ , "Desert Scorpions 459 Squadron RAAF, 1942-1945" Leon Kane-Maguire,
Emails: Gordon Birkett, Mark Lax,
Updated 24 August 2014
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