NO 2 AIRFIELD CONSTRUCTION SQUADRON

No 2 AIRFIELD CONSTRUCTION SQUADRON HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

                                           CHRONOLOGY

10 June 1942     Formed as 2 Mobile Works Squadron at Pearce, WA

14 January 1943Arrived Wards Strip, Port Moresby

2 December 1943      Departed for Lae

15 July 1944      Renamed 2 Airfield Construction Squadron

1 May 1944        Arrived at Ransford, Vic.

18 April 1945     Arrived at Morotai Island

7 July 1945        Embarked for Balikpapan

4 December 1945      Squadron disbanded in the field

19 April 1947     Reformed at Mallala, SA

6 July 1950        Headquarters located at Pimba

23 January 1952Arrived Cocos Islands

7 November 1952      Arrived Momote, Papua New Guinea

10 August 1955  Moved to Butterworth, Malaysia

1 August 1958    Moved to East Sale, Vic.

28 April 1961     Squadron disbanded
1:    Many of the RAAF's smallest airstrips, as well as some of its most important ones, were born at the hands of No 2 Airfield Construction Squadron.
They ranged from wartime jobs at Port Moresby, Lae, Nowra, Fleurs, Morotai, Tarakan, Balikpapen and other places, to post war Wommera, Cocos, Momote, Butterworth and East Sale.

1942 - 1947

2:    No 2 Mobile Works Squadron was formed at Pearce, WA, on June 10th 1942, to construct landing grounds and encampments.
During October, squadron personal worked under the guidance of the Allied Works Council at Dunreath, where landing strip construction was in progress. This was mainly for experience.

3:    Originally destined for work at Meekatharra, RAAF Headquarters signaled in December for the unit to entrain for the Eastern States, and the squadron eventually assembled at Yearongpilly, Queensland, on December 27th 1942, for shipment to forward areas.
4:    By January 4th 1943 all personnel and equipment embarked on the SS Jason Lee and arrived at Port Moresby on January 14, encamping under canvas at Konedohbu.
The camp was moved to a site half a mile west of Wards Strip and immediately commenced three shifts on the strip and other works.
Variety of Tasks

6:    Before December of that year, besides strip construction and ordinary maintenance work, the squadron had built roadways, dispersal areas, bomb storages for No 4
Replenishing Centre, taxiways and other works for No 15 Aircraft Recovery Depot, a slipway and other facilities for flying boats and marine craft at Port Moresby, a convalescent depot at Sogeri, and a RAAF hospital at Konedohbu.
7:    On December 2nd 1943 the squadron moved by sea to Lae. By December the 23rd the squadron had moved to Nadzab. Taxiways and hard standings were the first tasks.
There were camp constructions for No 24 Squadron stores and administrative buildings, as well as work on Textor Airfield.
8:    In March 1944 No 2 Mobile Works Squadron erected the administrative buildings and campsite for No 62 Works Wing. Before the end of April, Newton and Texter airfields had been completed, a wharf and a slipway constructed at Lae, and further building erected to house Northern Command.
9:    On May 22nd 1944 the main party embarked on the Khoto Bahru and arrived at Rannford, Vic on June 1st.

10: In July the squadron became known as No 2 Airfield Construction Squadron.

11:    The squadron had moved again by September 22nd to Randwick Racecourse Sydney. A detachment was stationed at St Georges Basin in the Nowra district from November 7th till December 16th to extend facilities at the base, for the erection of hangers and road construction.

12    Later in the month another detachment went to Richmond to help in the construction of the satellite aerodrome at Schofields, and returned to base on January 23rd 1945. On January 8th a detachment was sent to Fleurs NSW to construct a short take-off landing strip to allow pilots to train for aircraft carrier operation. No 2ACS was located at Fleurs from January 23rd 1945 until March 2nd when it moved back to Sydney to prepare for its next move to forward areas.



13    After entraining for Brisbane, it embarked with all its equipment on the two vessels, SS FC Ainsworth and SS Swartenhondt, arriving at Morotai Island on April 18th.
A building detachment of the squadron embarked with the OboeÑ1 convoy destined for Labuan Island and was absent from the parent unit until August 19th.

14    By July 7th the main body had landed at Klandasan Beach near Balikpapen, and set about rehabilitating Sepinggang Airfield. Meanwhile a detachment had remained behind at Morotai, while another detachment was later sent Tarakan with the convoy Oboe 1, to erect the campsite for No 452 Squadron.
15.    Balikpapen was Australia's biggest joint Army-Navy- Air force operation since the landing at Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines. It was also the last large-scale operation of the Pacific War.

16.    With the cessation of hostilities, heavy construction work gradually ceased and on December 4th 1945 No 2 Airfield Construction Squadron disbanded at Balikpapen.   

1947 - 1961

At Mallala on April 19th 1947 the squadron reformed. Almost immediately a detachment was sent to Darwin to dismantle and ship a surplus petrol invasion pipe and tanks for water supply at Wommera.
Another section went to Uranquinty to dismantle and ship a control tower to be later erected at Wommera. A third section was occupied in dismantling various buildings at Parafield and dispatching them to Wommera.
From July 1947 until January 1950 the squadron headquarters was located at Pimba South Australia. Then it moved to Wommera West and remained there until November 1951.

Construction work at the Long Range Weapons Establishment ceased on June 30th 1951 and the remainder of the year was devoted to the overhauling and packing the equipment for the new works at Cocos Island. The move commenced on November 12th 1951 and was completed by January 23rd 1952. The works required of 2ACS on West Island of the Cocos Group were camp construction and erection of permanent buildings, a water supply system and a permanent runway, together with all associated installations for the Department of Civil Aviation, as well as Royal Naval works on Direction Island.
The first Qantas aircraft landed on a proving flight to South Africa on July 18th 1952. In April of the same year while the Royal Naval vessels HMS Zeebrugge and HMS Navic were visiting Cococ, the drowning of one RN naval rating and two RAAF LACs in heavy surf marred the occasion.
By October 15th 1952 the squadron had handled 19 ships built a 10.000 feet strip, a control tower, permanent buildings, roads, and water, electricity and petrol installations besides maintaining plant vehicles, refrigerators, and all attendant facilities.
Once more the squadron was moved to the South West Pacific area. On November 7th 1952 the main body reached Momote in the Admiralty Islands. Detachment "A" remained behind at Cocos from November 1952 to January 1954 to finish the naval work at Direction Island and finalize any outstanding facilities on West Island as well as being employed on maintenance. Detachment "B" operated for a similar period in the Townsville area. Quarrying at Bohle River and road making.
At Momote the squadron was engaged in the erection of permanent buildings and campsite as well as strip formations and aerodrome facilities for RAAF and RAN works at Lombrum.
The squadron returned to Australia on April 30th 1954 and began operations at Garbutt airfield Townsville, leaving behind at Momote a detachment, which did not return until August 1955
No 2ACS spent its time at Garbutt engaged on the Pallaranca Shelly Beach road, quarrying at Bohle River and aerodrome maintenance and extensions to Garbutt aerodrome.

BUTTERWORTH MALAYA PROJECT

It embarked on one of its major projects when it was again posted overseas to Butterworth Malaya on August 10th 1955 the name given to this commitment was the "Butterworth Reconstruction Project".
This scheme envisaged the erection of permanent facilities and administrative buildings together with radar ranges and the consolidation and extensions of strips and other facilities.
These works were finalized in May 1958 and the squadron returned to the mainland on July 29th and was stationed at East Sale Victoria from August 1st 1958.
At East Sale the squadron constructed a 25-metre swimming pool and strengthened two runway and taxiway systems, together with the construction of concrete aprons and instillation of kerb and channeling and a drainage system in the base area.
The squadron was reduced to a "name only" basis
SQUADRON DISBANDED EAST SALE VICTORIA 28th APRIL 1961
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2ACS BUTTERWORTH MALAYA 1955-1958
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