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No. 5 Squadron RAAF
Boomerang (AWM 0408).jpg
A Boomerang aircraft operated by No. 5 Squadron in 1944
Active 1 September 1917 – May 1919
20 April 1936 – 9 December 1989
Country  Australia
Branch Royal Australian Air Force
Role Training
Naval co-operation
Army co-operation
Utility helicopter
Engagements World War I
World War II
Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation
Aircraft flown
Fighter Farman Shorthorn
Airco DH.6
Avro 504
Sopwith Pup
Sopwith Camel
Sopwith Snipe
CAC Wirraway
CAC Boomerang
P-40 Kittyhawk
Helicopter UH-1 Iroquois
AS350B Squirrel
Patrol Supermarine Seagull

No. 5 Squadron was a Royal Australian Air Force training, army co-operation and helicopter squadron. The squadron was first formed in 1917 as a training squadron of the Australian Flying Corps in Britain, training pilots to serve on the Western Front. It was later formed as a naval fleet co-operation squadron, but was later redesignated as No. 9 Squadron RAAF before being re-formed and re-roled as an army co-operation squadron during World War II. In the mid-1960s, it was re-formed as a helicopter squadron, before being disbanded in December 1989 when it was used to form the Australian Defence Force Helicopter Training School.


No. 5 Squadron was formed at Shawbury in England on 1 September 1917, as a unit of the Australian Flying Corps, under the command of Major Henry Petre. Initially known as "29 (Australian) (Training) Squadron" by the Royal Flying Corps, its Australian Flying Corps designation ("No. 5 (Training) Squadron, AFC") was officially recognised in early 1918.[1] Equipped with a variety of aircraft, including Maurice Farman Shorthorns, Airco DH.6, Avro 504s, Sopwith Pups, S.E.5as and Sopwith Camels, the squadron provided training to Australian pilots in Britain during World War I. After completing their training with No. 5 Squadron Australian pilots were posted to the operational squadrons – Nos. 2, 3 and 4 – based in France and No. 1 in the Middle East. During the war, the squadron graduated on average of eight pilots per month, who were trained by combat experienced pilots transferred from the operational squadrons. No. 5 Squadron was disbanded in May 1919 at Minchinhampton.[2][3]

Bell Iroquois of No. 5 Squadron in 1971

No. 5 Squadron was re-formed at RAAF Base Richmond on 20 April 1936 as a naval fleet co-operation squadron by expanding No. 101 (Fleet Co-Operation) Flight. Equipped with Supermarine Seagull amphibian aircraft the squadron operated from Royal Australian Navy cruisers and the seaplane tender HMAS Albatross. No. 5 Squadron was redesignated No. 9 Squadron on 1 January 1939.[3]

On 9 January 1941, No. 5 Squadron was reformed at RAAF Base Laverton as an army co-operation squadron equipped with Wirraways. The squadron was partially re-equipped with Boomerangs in late 1943 and was assigned to several different stations in Australia. In November 1944, No. 5 Squadron was deployed to Bougainville under No. 84 (Army Co-operation) Wing, and operated with units of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, undertaking reconnaissance, artillery observation, ground attack, and aerial resupply missions in support of Australian ground troops fighting against the Japanese on the island. In September, shortly after the end of the war, the squadron began flying P-40 Kittyhawks. No. 5 Squadron was disbanded on 18 October 1946 at RAAF Base Pearce.[4][5] During the war, 24 members of the squadron were killed.[6]

No. 5 Squadron was reformed in 1964 as a helicopter squadron equipped with Bell UH-1 Iroquois utility helicopters.[7] The squadron saw active service during the Malayan Emergency before returning to Australia where it supported Army units training for deployment to South Vietnam as part of Australia's commitment to the Vietnam War. In the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, the squadron contributed Iroquois to United Nations missions to Egypt, firstly to Ismailia with the United Nations Emergency Force and then later to the Sinai as part of the Multinational Force and Observers. These aircraft were replaced by AS350B Squirrels in early 1984, which the squadron continued to use in the training role in addition to providing aid to the civil community in times of natural disaster. In December 1989, No. 5 Squadron was disbanded and absorbed into the Australian Defence Force Helicopter Training School.[8][9]


  1. "5 (Training) Squadron AFC". First World War, 1914–1918 units. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  2. Eather 1995, p. 14.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Barnes 2000, p. 33.
  4. Eather 1995, p. 30.
  5. Barnes 2000, pp. 33–36.
  6. "5 Squadron RAAF". Second World War, 1939–1945 units. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  7. Barnes 2000, p. 37.
  8. Eather 1995, p. 31.
  9. Barnes 2000, pp. 37–42.
  • Barnes, Norman (2000). The RAAF and the Flying Squadrons. St Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-130-2. 
  • Eather, Steve (1995). Flying Squadrons of the Australian Defence Force. Weston Creek, Australian Capital Territory: Aerospace Publications. ISBN 1-875671-15-3. 

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