At the outbreak of World War II, somewhat by accident — and just as the first shots of the war were fired — young Australian airmen from the Royal Australian Air Force were engaged in operations that would become known collectively as the Battle of the Atlantic.
Arguably lesser-known than air campaigns in other theatres, large numbers of Australians who volunteered for service with Royal Australian Air Force, found themselves fighting in this battle. Australians were there at the outbreak and many would go on to fly some of the final missions of the war in Europe.
This book captures some of the experiences of the Royal Australian Air Force members who served with Coastal Command and, through the weight of numbers alone, stories of the Sunderland squadrons and the Battle of the Atlantic dominate the narrative. Being critical to Britain’s survival, the battle also dominated Coastal Command throughout the war but Australians served in a surprising variety of other roles. The nature of many of those tasks demanded persistence that could only be achieved by large numbers of young men and women being prepared to ‘do what it took’ to get a tedious and unrewarding job done. Over 400 did not come home.
About the Author
John Quaife grew up in Melbourne and as a kid just loved military aviation. He lived the dream. John spent 28 years with Royal Australian Air Force as a fighter pilot. He is a graduate of the RAAF’s ‘top gun’ training course who went on to become one of Australia’s most senior military commanders. John continues to serve as an Air Vice-Marshal in the RAAF active reserve. John is currently working on a companion history that covers RAAF and RNZAF experience as Coastal Command’s ANZAC Strike Wing.