9 (Fleet Cooperation) Squadron was one of the existing Australian units committed to the war effort when Australia declared war in 1939. The Royal Australian Air Force was the youngest and smallest of the armed services. At the start of WWII it had just 3489 personnel and no modern combat aircraft.
During WWII only the airforce was permitted to fly military aircraft. The Royal Australian Air Force operated Supermarine Seagull and Walrus biplanes for the Royal Australian Navy. 9 Squadron personnel were deployed to RAN cruisers and armed merchant ships for national and international operations.
As the RAAF’s only fleet cooperation unit, 9 Squadron was tasked with flying amphibious aircraft for the RAN. 9 Squadron operated aircraft aboard HMAS Australia, Sydney, Perth and Canberra during much of WWII, and the armed merchant cruisers HMAS Westralia and Manoora until 1942.
Sixteen 9 Squadron personnel were lost in combat while deployed to the RAN.
…the German Führer… will undoubtedly learn, as other great enemies of freedom have learned before, that no empire, no dominion, can be soundly established upon a basis of broken promises or dishonoured agreements…
There can be no doubt that where Great Britain stands, there stands the people of the entire British world… I know that in spite of the emotions we are all feeling, you will show that Australia is ready to see it through.” Radio broadcast on the declaration of war on Germany Prime Minister Robert Gordon Menzies 3 September 1939
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