History of the Rathmines RAAF Flying Boat Base

No. 43 Squadron

During the war a series of squadrons were set up which were to operate covertly along the east coast of Australia up to the islands. They were formed from the nucleus of other squadrons including No. 9 Squadron and No. 11 Squadron. Rathmines trained the majority of the men who filtered through into No. 40, 41 and 43 Squadrons.

No. 43 Squadron was formed in Bowen in Queensland on 1 May 1943. Equipped with Catalina aircraft the Squadron flew its first operational patrols from the Karumba base on 8 September. While No. 43 Squadron was initially allocated a general reconnaissance role, like all the RAAF’s Catalina squadrons the Squadron also operated in the mine laying and bombing roles.

In addition to flying convoy protection patrols along the Australian East Coast the Squadron conducted offensive operations against Japanese shipping in the Solomon Islands and the eastern islands of the Netherlands East Indies.

After moving to Darwin in April 1944 the Squadron operated almost exclusively in the mine-laying role. Operating alongside the other Catalina squadrons, No. 43 Squadron conducted mine laying operations throughout South East Asia, venturing as far as the Chinese coast.

Following the end of the war No. 43 Squadron performed routine patrol and transport flights until moving to RAAF Base Rathmines in November 1945.

No 43 Squadron was disbanded at Rathmines on 10 April 1946.