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PART TWO

 

The output levels achieved fell well short of the production programme, partly due to a lack of airframes being delivered, and partly by the state in which crated or preserved airframes arrived on the station. Aircraft were received in varying states of equipment installation, some arriving completely installed, others partially installed and in many instances completely void of all equipment, in these cases it had been despatched separately and was unlikely to arrive with the airframe. In the case of aircraft arriving with equipment installed, it was found that in the majority of cases all the equipment was in first class condition, requiring only a minimum of work to complete the testing and final installation of the aircraft. Aircraft which were only partly installed (and in some oases only partly modified) caused serious delays owing to a lack of spare equipment. Considerable delay was also experienced due to aircraft arriving minus their entire radio equipment.

 

Over several months aircraft production was refined into a 10 stage procedure;


(1) Aircraft arrives on station.
(2) To receipt park - loose equipment removed except when aircraft arc in sealed crates or Eronell (protective covering which embalmed aircraft for open storage or transport as deck cargo).
(3) Preparation of Servicing and Inspection Forms by the Inspection Section.
(4) Aircraft is allotted to a hangar for production - entry to the hanger was staggered in order to avoid having two aircraft reach the sane stage at the same tine. A system approach ensured that Gunnery, Radio and Electrical sections worked on each aircraft in turn, and at stages where this work would not interfere with the Airframes and Engine ratings. Available modifications were incorporated during erection or inspection.
(5) Aircraft arrives at the end of hangar line for gun alignment, and final check by inspection team; during this final check an aircraft moves out of the hanger engine running.
(6) Move to Stop butts for gun firing and harmonisation.
(7) Move Compass base - if an aircraft carries Radar it goes to Radar Base before the Stop butts, (Avengers are not Butt tested).
(8) Check Test Flight,
(9) To Storage - Category "B".
(10) Transferred to Storage - Category ''A" when loose equipment is available and the aircraft has been doped.
 

The main aircraft parking area at R.N.A.S. Bankstown looking North West across the aerodrome. Photo: From the collection of former A.M. (O) Jim Davey.

 

Being installed at an operational aerodrome none of the mobile Flying Control equipment supplied for MONAB II was used, however HF/DF, YG and JG Beacons and ground W/T installations were installed. MONAB II suffered from a serious shortage of M/T spares, Spare parts issued in England were in the majority not required and those required had to be purchased where possible from local sources. Additionally no spare parts were issued for Fordson 15 cwts.

 

The personnel of 723 Squadron arrived from RNAS Nowra, MONAB I, on 28th February to commission as a Fleet Requirements Unit and receive their initial equipment issue of 8 Martinet TT.I and 8 Corsair II aircraft (the aircraft assembled by the advance party). The squadron was also temporarily issued with 2 Expediter passenger aircraft in order to initiate a communications flight prior to the arrival of 724 Squadron which was to operate as a dedicated communications flight.

 

724 Squadron commissioned at Bankstown on 10th April 1945 to carry out communications duties, their Initial equipment was 2 Expediter Is {passed on from 723 Squadron} & 2 Anson Is. 724 operated out of the civil airport at Mascot as the grass surface at Bankstown was unsuitable for the heavy twin engine aircraft. Having completed there formation and familiarisation at Bankstown 723 Squadron  moved to Jervis Bay on 1st May 1945 to begin operations as a Fleet Requirements Unit.

 

On May 14th 1830 & 1833 squadrons disembarked their Corsair IIs from HMS ILLUSTRIOUS; 1833's personnel re-embarked the same day, their aircraft being retained at Bankstown. 1830 squadron re-embarked in ILLUSTRIOUS for passage to UK on May 24th.

 

A royal visit was made to the station on June 1st as Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the Governor-General of Australia, toured the facility. Whilst there he test fired a Browning 50 calibre aircraft machine gun at the test butts. The prince signed the gun's log book 'Henry' [but signed in the wrong place] the log was later raffled and was won by AM(O) 'Jimmy' Dixey.

 

'A' Flt of 1701 Air Sea Rescue (A.S.R.) Squadron  moved to Bankstown from RNAS Maryborough for detached duties, their Sea Otter amphibians arrived  on July 24th, returning to Maryborough August 7th.

 

A Firefly is towed to its alloyed spot in the aircraft parking area at R.N.A.S. Bankstown. Photo: From the collection of former A.F. (A) Leslie Buckingham.

 

 

On August 23rd the recently disbanded 1834 & 1836 Squadrons aircraft were delivered from HMS Victorious, via Maryborough, for disposal.  'A' Flt 1701 A.S.R. squadron arrived from Maryborough for detached duties on October 15th, returning to Maryborough on the 21st.

 

By the war' s end Bankstown had carried out 2,500 Test Flights with only four major accidents (one complete loss and three major damages); three other accidents were due to the soft state of the airfield resulting in aircraft nosing up either after landing or whilst taxiing.

 

MONAB II and HMS NABBERLEY paid off at Bankstown on March 31st 1946, and the station returned to R.A.A.F control. 724 Communications squadron moved to RNAS Schofields, MONAB VI, to continue operations.

 

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R.N.A.S. BANKSTOWN

Last modified: 14 April 2015

 

 

 

Function :
Receipt & Despatch Unit

 

MONAB Components :

Aircraft Erection Unit, Aircraft Equipping & Modification Unit, Aircraft Storage Unit, 724 Naval Air Communications Squadron.

 

Commissioned :
18 Nov 1944 (at Ludham)
29 January 1945 (at Bankstown)

 

Paid Off :
31 Mar 1946 (at Bankstown)

 

 

 

  • Commander E. P. F. Atkinson 18 Nov 1944 to 31 March 1946

 

 

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