|No. 490 (NZ) Squadron RAF|
|Active||28 March 1943 – 1 August 1945|
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
Māori: Taniwha kei runga|
(Translation: "The Taniwha is in the air")
|Squadron Badge||An arm couped below the elbow, holding in the hand a Patu|
Twin-engined flying boat;
Four-engined flying boat
490 (NZ) Squadron Royal Air Force, was formed 28 March 1943 with Royal New Zealand Air Force aircrew at Jui near Freetown in West Africa (present Sierra Leone) under Wing Commander D.W. Baird. Equipped with PBY Catalinas, the squadron was tasked with maritime patrol and search and rescue. Its first operation was convoy escort on 2 July 1943. In August the squadron rescued its first seamen, and damaged its first U-boat.
Wing Commander B.S. Nicholl took over in November 1943 and oversaw re-equipment with Short Sunderlands in May of the following year. Wing Commander T.S. Gill was its last commander, taking over in October 1944. The squadron flew its last operation on 6 May 1945, and when it became obvious that 490 would not be needed in Japan, the squadron was disbanded on 1 August 1945.
Of all New Zealand squadrons of the RAF, 490 saw least action, but nonetheless flew 463 operational sorties, totalling 4853 hours. One Distinguished Flying Cross was awarded.
The squadron's Māori motto was "Taniwha kei runga" which translates as "Taniwha in the air". Taniwha are mythical intelligent monsters in Māori legend, occasionally but not particularly accurately translated as "dragons". They are often associated with water, but a flying taniwha is relatively unusual.
|June 1943||July 1944||Consolidated Catalina||Mk.Ib|
|May 1944||August 1945||Short Sunderland||Mk.III|
|June 1943||December 1943||W/Cdr. D.W. Baird, DFC|
|December 1943||October 1944||W/Cdr. B.S. Nicholl|
|October 1944||August 1945||W/Cdr. T.F. Gill|
|28 March 1943||1 August 1945||Jui, Sierra Leone|
|28 March 1943||June 1943||RAF Stranraer||Detachment|
|June 1943||1 August 1945||Fishermans Lake, Liberia||Detachment|
|June 1943||1 August 1945||Apapa, Nigeria||Detachment|
|June 1943||1 August 1945||Abidjan, Ivory Coast||Detachment|
|June 1943||1 August 1945||Bathurst/Half Die, Gambia||Detachment|
- New Zealand Article XV squadrons (for an explanation of the official status and naming of these units).
- 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: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
- Morris, Gerard S. Spitfire, the New Zealand Story. Auckland, New Zealand: Reed Books, 2000. ISBN 0-7900-0696-0.
- Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.
- Official New Zealand History (available online)
- Thompson, Wing Commander H.L. New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force (Vol I): European Theatre September 1939-December 1942. Wellington, New Zealand: War History Branch, Department of Internal Affairs, 1953. ISBN N/A
- Thompson, Wing Commander H.L. New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force (Vol II): European Theatre January 1943- December 1945. Wellington, New Zealand: War History Branch, Department of Internal Affairs, 1956. ISBN N/A
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