History of the Rathmines RAAF Flying Boat Base

No. 9 Squadron (Fleet Co-operation)

No. 5 Squadron was renumbered No. 9 Squadron when it moved to Richmond NSW in January 1939 before becoming No. 9 Squadron (Fleet Co- operation) when it moved to Rathmines in August 1939. As Australia’s only fleet co-operation squadron No. 9 Squadron operated amphibious aircraft from the Royal Australian Navy’s heavy and light cruisers (each cruiser was assigned a single Seagull or Walrus amphibian).

During the Second World War aircraft from No. 9 (Fleet Co-operation) Squadron saw action with their parent ships in most of the world’s oceans, ranging from the Arctic to the South Pacific. The amphibians were used to provide their parent ships with reconnaissance, anti submarine protection, artillery spotting and general support.

While the amphibians provided important support during the early years of the war, by 1944 the Royal Australian Navy enjoyed considerable support from land and carrier based aircraft and the amphibians were no longer necessary. As a result, all the RAN cruisers had their catapults removed during 1944.

No. 9 Squadron was the first squadron based at Rathmines and remained there until it’s disbandment on 31 December 1944.