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No. 456 Squadron RAAF
456 Sqn (UK0562).jpg
Members of No. 456 Squadron RAAF in front of a de Havilland Mosquito night fighter in 1943
Active 30 June 1941 – 15 June 1945
Country Australia Australia
Branch Air Force Ensign of Australia.svg Royal Australian Air Force
Role Night fighter
Part of RAF Fighter Command: No. 9 Group RAF,[1]
No. 10 Group RAF,[2]
No. 11 Group RAF,[3]
Colors Roundel of Australia.svg
Battle honours

  • Fortress Europe, 1940–1944
  • France and Germany, 1944–1945
  • Normandy, 1944
  • Biscay, 1940–1945
Squadron Codes PZ (Jun 1941 – Sep 1941)[4][5]
SA (Sep 1941 – Dec 1941)[6]
RX (Dec 1941 – Jun 1945)[6][7]

No. 456 Squadron RAAF was a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) night fighter squadron, operational over Europe during World War II. Amongst other achievements, the squadron was the first RAAF unit to use a roundel featuring a red kangaroo in a blue circle, on some parts of its aircraft.[8] While this insignia was unofficial and the squadron's main markings conformed to the RAF roundels used by British and other Commonwealth units, it inspired the post-war roundel used by the RAAF.


No. 456 Squadron was formed on 30 June 1941 at RAF Valley, Isle of Anglesey, Wales in the United Kingdom under the Empire Air Training Scheme as a night fighter squadron, equipped with Defiant turret-fighters. The Squadron was soon re-equipped with Beaufighters and scored its first kill in January 1942. In December 1942 the Squadron was re-equipped with Mosquito fighters and began offensive (Ranger) missions over Europe. No. 456 Squadron continued in the fighter and ground attack roles until the end of the European war when it was disbanded on 15 June 1945 at RAF Bradwell Bay, Essex.

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 456 Squadron RAAF, data from[9][10][11]
From To Aircraft Version
June 1941 November 1941 Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I
September 1941 July 1942 Bristol Beaufighter Mk.IIf
July 1942 January 1943 Bristol Beaufighter Mk.VIf
December 1942 April 1944 de Havilland Mosquito Mk.II
June 1943 October 1943 de Havilland Mosquito Mk.VI
January 1944 February 1945 de Havilland Mosquito Mk.XVII
December 1944 June 1945 de Havilland Mosquito Mk.XXX

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields used by no. 456 Squadron RAAF, data from[9][10][11]
From To Base Remark
30 June 1941 30 March 1943 RAF Valley, Isle of Anglesey, Wales Det. at RAF Colerne, 15–30 Mar 43
30 March 1943 17 August 1943 RAF Middle Wallop, Hampshire Dets. at RAF Castle Camps, Cambridgeshire
and RAF Predannack, Cornwall
17 August 1943 17 November 1943 RAF Colerne, Wiltshire
17 November 1943 29 February 1944 RAF Fairwood Common, Glamorgan, Wales
29 February 1944 30 December 1944 RAF Ford, West Sussex
30 December 1944 16 March 1945 RAF Church Fenton, Yorkshire
16 March 1945 15 June 1945 RAF Bradwell Bay, Essex

Commanding officers

Officers commanding no. 456 Squadron RAAF, data from[9][12]
From To Name
30 June 1941 27 March 1942 Wing Commander C. G. C. Olive, DFC
27 March 1942 1 February 1943 Wing Commander E. C. Wolfe
1 February 1943 1 June 1943 Wing Commander M. H. Dwyer
1 June 1943 14 December 1943 Wing Commander G. Howden
14 December 1943 1 July 1944 Wing Commander K. M. Hampshire, DSO & Bar, DFC
1 July 1944 29 May 1945 Wing Commander B. Howard, DFC
29 May 1945 15 June 1945 Squadron Leader R. B. Cowper




  • Bennet, John. Fighter Nights: 456 Squadron RAAF. Belconnen, Australia: Banner Books, 1995. ISBN 1-875593-10-1.
  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE, BA, RAF(Retd.). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Lewis, Stephen with Bob Cowper. Chasing Shadows -Wartime biography of Squadron Leader Bob Cowper. Adelaide, SA: DPA Publishing, 2007. ISBN 1-921207-15-9.
  • RAAF History section. Units of the Royal Australian Air Force: a concise history. Volume 2 fighter units. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald & Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (2nd edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.

External links

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