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  • The concept of a mobile unit capable of providing shore based aviation support for fleet operations was conceived in late 1942
  • It was to be the middle of 1944 before sufficient resources could be spared to allow the scheme to become a reality
  • The first MONAB commissioned as a fully independent unit in October 1944.
  • The last MONAB was disbanded in 1955.

 

 

 

 

 

Located approximately 100 miles West of Brisbane, R.A.A.F Oakey, Queensland opened on 14 October 1943 as the home of No. 6 Aircraft Depot (6AD). The stations function was to act as a Receipt and Despatch Unit & forward depot for aircraft operating from New Guinea and northern Australia. The station also operated as an aircraft repair yard, carrying out repair and overhaul work to relieve the load of its sister unit No. 3 Aircraft Depot at Amberley. The Depot was to process Beaufort, Mustang Norseman, Wirraway and Spitfire aircraft.

 

As part of the build up of equipment in Australia for supporting the British Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers the Admiralty was searching for additional facilities in Queensland to help take the pressure off the newly arrived Transportable Aircraft Maintenance Yard no.1 (TAMY 1) at Archerfield, Brisbane. Om May 6th 1945 Commander Senior RN and Commander Morgan RNR visited RAAF Oakey to make arrangements and preparations for the erection of Seafires on the station for the Fleet Air Arm.

 

On May 11th four Seafire fuselages and four sets of mainplanes arrived at 6AD for erection; a further six Seafire fuselages and three sets of mainplanes arrived on the 15th. Unpacking in preparation for assembly of the Seafires commenced at the Aircraft Repair Squadron on the 17th ahead of the arrival of a party of three Petty Officers and twenty-one other Ranks which arrived from TAMY 1 at Archerfield on the following day to commence assembly, along with a further eight sets of Seafire mainplanes.

 

Several members of naval staff visited RAAF Oakey on June 7th to inspect various aspects of the Seafire erection programme. Sub-Lt H. Sykes, from the staff of F.O.N.A.S.(A) (Flag Officer Naval Air Stations (Australia)) arrived on the Unit to carry out Seafire Gyro Gun .Sight inspection, while Mr. C.C. Bosworth, visited the Unit as ROTOL Representative to F.O.N.A.S.(A). Lt. Cdr A.B. Napper of V.(A) Staff British Pacific Fleet visited the unit on inspection duties concerning Seafire tyres.

 

Aircraft arrived in several crates, containing engine, fuselage, and mainplanes (wings). These were unpacked, checked, assembled and test flown. The final stage of the process the aircraft were painted in British Pacific Fleet colours and markings before being flown to Archerfield for storage or issue to an active unit.

Technical problems were to cause some initial delays; fuselage and mainplanes were matched items and the receipt of unmatched mainplanes did occur on occasion, this caused delays in getting production started and a shortfall in production targets. The first completed Seafire III (PR196) was not ready for dispatch to TAMY 1 at Archerfield until July 14th. This was followed by a farther eight aircraft on July30th. The small RN detachment was supplemented by the addition of 50 ratings and NCOs from MONAB 7 from the beginning of August; MONAB 7 was a forward area receipt and dispatch unit but had been installed at Archerfield to work alongside TAMY 1 upon its arrival in Australia on July 28th.

 

ON August 2nd two more officers from F.O.N.A.S.(A), Cdr Coote R.N.V.R., and Lt. Armstrong R.A.N.R. visited the station n connection with its possible use by the Royal Navy - RAAF Oakey and RAAF Amberley were being considered as a base to house MONAB No.8 which was not expected to fulfil its designated role as a forward area fighter support MONAB for some months after its arrival in Australia. Amberley was finally chosen but the need for its transfer to the RN had passed with the cessation of hostilities on August 15th.

 

 

Following the surrender of Japan the men from TAMY I and MONAB 7 marched through the streets of the town taking part in the Victory parade marking the end of the war in the Pacific.

 

A further 19 Seafires were to arrive on the station during August and the final two aircraft, PP954 & PR285, departed Oakey for Archerfield on October 19th . With the departure of the last aircraft the naval detachment began packing up their equipment having completed and dispatched total of 29 Seafires. The personnel of the RN detachment left RAAF Oakey to return to Brisbane on October 26th.

 

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R.A.A.F. OAKEY

 

 

 

@1999 - 2011 www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk

 

 

 

Function:
Seafire erection party

 

MONAB Components :
None - specially assembled working party

 

Work commenced:
17 May 1945

 

Party withdrawn:
26 October 1945

 

 

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OAKEY Airfield

 


 

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