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No. 4 Squadron RNZAF
Active 1940–1945
Country New Zealand New Zealand
Allegiance King George VI
Branch Ensign of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.svg Royal New Zealand Air Force
Role Patrol Bomber
Size One Squadron
Motto(s) Always attack

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Hudson in the RNZAF Museum.

No. 4 Squadron RNZAF was a New Zealand patrol bomber unit[1] in the South Pacific during World War II.


Due to activity by German surface raiders, the squadron was hurriedly formed[2] in October 1940, initially equipped with a range of hurriedly converted civilian airliners, the twin engined de Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide, and four engined de Havilland DH86 Express from Union Airways of New Zealand and de Havilland DH.60 Moth single engined machines from aero clubs – New Zealand's modern Vickers Wellington bombers having been offered to the RAF for the war in Europe, two years previously.

Squadron Leader G R White was the first commanding officer and stayed with the squadron for two years and in 1943 a E W Tacon was in command until May 1944.[3] The squadron moved to Fiji that month to assist 5 Squadron,[2] and it took over obsolescent Vickers Vincent biplane torpedo bombers and later re-equipped with modern Lockheed Hudsons.[4] When war with Japan broke out No. 4 Squadron remained in Fiji operating as a reconnaissance unit, and also for training crews to reinforce units in the forward area.

In May 1943 three American ships, the William Williams, Hearst and Vanderbilt, were torpedoed by Japanese submarines. Hudsons of No. 4 Squadron found the survivors of the Hurst and dropped supplies, as well as maintaining an anti-submarine patrol over the crippled William Williams as she was towed 120 miles north to Suva.

On 25 May a squadron machine sighted a surfaced submarine while escorting an American convoy and dropped four depth-charges. An oil slick appeared – after the war it emerged a Japanese submarine was lost at this time in the area.

On 7 September a squadron Hudson damaged a second submarine while escorting the American ship Saugatuck. 5 other sightings and attacks were made by the squadron without result.

The squadron re-equipped with Lockheed Venturas in 1944.[4] In November it shifted base to Emirau, remaining there until February 1945 when it moved to Guadalcanal from May 1945 to June 1945 and Emirau again in June and July of that year before moving to Los Negros where it remained when the war ended, disbanding in September 1945.

Surviving aircraft

A Lockheed Hudson that served with the squadron is preserved in squadron colours at the Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum,[5] after being bought from a farmer who had been using it as a chicken coop.


  1. "Wartime RNZAF Squadrons". Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "War Against Japan". Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  3. "Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation". Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Francillon, Rene J.. "The Royal Australian Air Force & Royal New Zealand Air Force in the Pacific". Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  5. "NZ2013". Retrieved 27 September 2012. 

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