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PART ONE

 

The personnel & equipment for MONAB III began to assemble at R.N.A.S. Ludham from 18th October 1944. The unit was tasked with support of several first line aircraft types.

 

The unit was allocated the following maintenance components:

  • MM 2 Corsair II & IV - Hellcat I & II - Seafire III & L.III
  • MS 3 Firefly I
  • MS 4 Seafire III & L.III

Having successfully formed up and assembled it's equipment and stores, MONAB III prepared for embarkation, planned for early December. The vehicles and equipment were transported over night on December 2nd to Gladstone Dock, Liverpool for embarkation in the S.S. ESSEX, L.S. 1979.

 

MONAB III commissioned at R.N.A.S. Ludham as an independent command on  December 4th 1944, bearing the ship's name H.M.S. 'NABTHORPE'. Commander (A) E.W. KENTON in command. The unit's stores and equipment sailed onboard the S.S. ESSEX the same day.

 

The personnel of MONAB III , in company with those of MONAB II, embarked in the the Troop Ship SS. ATHLONE CASTLE for passage to Australia. The ATHLONE CASTLE sailed from Liverpool on December 22nd.

 

The ATHLONE CASTLE transited the Panama canal to enter the Pacific, and arrived in Sydney January 25th 1945. The personnel were disembarked to HMS GOLDEN HIND and accommodated under canvas at Warwick Race course whilst awaiting allocation of an operating base & the arrival of the S.S. ESSEX, which arrived at Sydney February 4th.

 

 

The advance party of MONAB III arrived at R.A.A.F. Schofields on February 5th; the station was under construction at this time. The following day the station readiness was reported as: one operational runway and one Dorland transportable Hanger erected by MONAB staff. The first week on the station was spent preparing the airfield for the arrival of squadron personnel and aircraft which were sue to arrive with the arrival of the British Pacific Fleet.

 

Setting up camp - men of MONAB III digging ditches and and preparing tented accommodation at R.A.A.F>F. Schofields. Photo: From the collection of Stan Spencer.

 

The first Squadrons to disembark from the BPF carriers arrived at Schofields on the February 10th, these being 887 & 894 Squadrons with Seafire IIIs together with 1770 Squadron's Firefly Is disembarking from HMS INDEFATIGABLE. All squadron personnel were accommodated under canvas, the station still having no permanent buildings. The remaining elements of MONAB III arrived at Schofields on February 18th, and the station was commissioned as HMS NABTHORPE, RNAS SCHOFIELDS on that date.

 

February 23rd saw a second Dorland hanger completed for workshop use and 1840 Squadron's Hellcats arrived on the station, disembarking from HMS SPEAKER. Further aircraft arrived on the 26th February when 1845 Squadron's Corsair IVs were disembarked from HMS SLINGER. No's 887.894 & 1770 Squadrons re-embarked in INDEFATIGABLE on February 27th so relieving some of the overcrowding at the hastily prepared station.

 

The beginning of March saw the arrival of 706 Squadron which moved here on the 3rd from RNAS Jervis Bay, to work up as a Crew Pool & Refresher Flying School. This was a large unit, with a total strength of 36 aircraft, equipment comprised of 6 each of Avenger, Barracuda, Corsair, Firefly, Hellcat & Seafire.

1840 squadron re-embarked in HMS SPEAKER on the 9th and 1845 in HMS SLINGER on the 11th. These were soon to be replaced on the 18th by 1772 Squadron's Firefly Is disembarked from HMS RULER and 885 Squadron's Hellcat Is, also disembarking from HMS RULER on the 20th, the later was to sty until April 4th before re-embarking in RULER.

 

706 Squadron, having settled in, commissioned at Schofields on April 10th to become the stations first resident flying unit. April also saw the arrival of 899 Squadron which disembarked from HMS CHASER on the 23rd; initially this unit was to become a Seafire Pool Squadron, but this was to change in July when it would become a Seafire OTU training Australian pilots in Naval flying techniques, including Deck Landings. Deck landing training was carried out in the carrier Indomitable, for the first course, and Arbiter for the second course. Successful pupils were to form the nucleus of the Australian Fleet Air Arm.

 

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R.N.A.S. SCHOFIELDS

 

 

 

 

Function :
The support of disembarked Squadrons, the provision of Crew Pool & Refresher Flying School (706 Naval Air Squadron).

 

MONAB Components :
Mobile Maintenance 2, Maintenance Servicing 3 & 4

 

Commissioned :
04 December 1944 (at Ludham)
18 February 1945 (at Schofields)

 

Paid Off :
15 November 1945 (at Schofields)

 

 

 

  • Commander (A) E.W. Kenton 04 December 1944 to 15 November 1945

 

 

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