Air War SE Asia 1941-45 (World War 2, 7 December 1941 to 15 August 1945)

Normal bristol beaufighter mk vif x7898 g of no 89 squadron raf detachment at sadaung burma

About This Campaign

This section relates to air operations over the mainland of SE Asia and the Indian Ocean, which continued until 15 August 1945.  Operations eastward are addressed in a separate section 'Air War SW Pacific'.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, the Philippines and the north coast of Malaysia on 7 Dec 1941, the Allied air forces in the region were hit by a succession of hammer blows as the Japanese quickly gained air superiority, lead by the ubiquitous Mitsubishi A6 'Zero' fighter that was faster, more manoeuverable and at least as heavily armed as anything the Allies had at that time.

On the mainland of SE Asia there began an aerial contest that encompassed an area from Singapore to India and into China.  After the disastrous Malayan campaign, RAAF personnel served primarily attached to RAF squadrons based in India and Burma (now Myanamar), as the RAAF effort became focussed on northern Australia and New Guinea.

Australian pilots and aircraft did maintain a critical air link from Australia to the UK, via Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) from 1943 after the route was originally cut by the Japanese in 1942.  This was done by flying mainly Consolidated PBY Catalina aircraft from Nedlands in WA to Colombo in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) via the Cocos Islands,  almost entirely over water.  Passengers were awarded "The Order of the Double Sunrise" because they would see two sunrises during the journey. 



Showing 7 people of interest from campaign

Thumb 410337
GRAHAM, Maurice Anthony

Service number 410337
Flight Sergeant
No. 2 Squadron (RAAF)
Royal Australian Air Force
Born 6 Jan 1923

Thumb normal e06da69d 4aeb 4872 a68c 530f964c8e47
EDWARDS, Edgar Bruce

Service number 441313
Flight Sergeant
No. 42 Squadron RAAF
Royal Australian Air Force
Born 29 May 1925

Thumb nnn
NATTRASS, James William

Service number 442477
Flying Officer
No. 82 Squadron (RAAF)
Royal Australian Air Force
Born 27 Jul 1925

Thumb normal n
NEELANDS, Neil William

Service number 419070
Flying Officer
No. 194 Squadron (RAF)
Royal Australian Air Force
Born 15 Jun 1924

Thumb normal gradwell
GRADWELL, David Prenton

Service number 8960
Flight Lieutenant
No. 200 Flight (RAAF)
Royal Australian Air Force
Born 26 Jun 1919

Thumb normal constantine portrait1 opt
CONSTANTINE , Alexander Noel

Wing Commander
Born 13 Dec 1914

Thumb capture
HUME, John James Oliver

Service number 427095
Flying Officer
No. 21 Squadron (RAAF)
Royal Australian Air Force
Born 18 Oct 1916