Battle of the Atlantic - RAN and RAAF Operations (World War 2, 3 September 1939 to 25 May 1945)

Normal 044284

About This Campaign

The sea lanes of the Atlantic played a vital role in the transport of troops, equipment, and supplies from North America to Europe. The battle for control of the Atlantic Ocean began on 3 September 1939 with the sinking of British passenger liner by the German submarine U-30. Australia’s part in the campaign in the Atlantic was multi-faceted.

RAN Ships such as HMAS Australia, and the N-class destroyers HMA Ships Napier, Nepal, Nestor, Nizam and Norman escort duties throughout the Atlantic. In addition, to sinking U-127, Nestor was also involved in the hunt for the famous German battleship, KMS Bismarck.

Training depot HMAS Rushcutter, now known as HMAS Watson, also played a crucial role, in supplying officers and ratings trained in antisubmarine warfare. Some sources suggested that up 20 percent of those involved in the Atlantic conflict had been trained at Rushcutter.[1]

For more information, please see (

[1] Djokovic, Petar. “Australian Sailors in the Battle of the Atlantic.” Royal Australian Navy – Feature Histories, viewed 05/04/2016, (

In addition to warships, a number of RAAF Squadrons attached to Coastal Command carried out extensive Maritime patrol and anti-submarine operations over the Atlantic as part of the campaign to counter the threat posed by German U-Boats.  

Nos 10 and 461 Squadrons operated Sunderland Flying Boats from bases in Plymouth and Pembroke Dock on the south coast of the U and as far afield as Oban in Scotland ranging out over the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic.  Units such as 455 Squadron carried out maritime strike operations over the North Sea, Norway and the Normandy beaches as part of D Day operations, equipped with the potent Bristol Beaufighter. In adidtion hundreds of RAAF aircrew served in RAF units of Coastal Command as well and RAAF pilots operated seaplanes that were launched from Crusiers such as HMAS Australia.




Showing 7 people of interest from campaign

Thumb normal norman sheehan aged 20
SHEEHAN , Norman Oswald George

Service number 428853
Flight Lieutenant
No. 40 Squadron (RAAF)
Royal Australian Air Force
Born 12 Oct 1923

Thumb normal 1a
BELL, John Napier

Service number 162
Flight Lieutenant
No. 10 Squadron (RAAF)
Royal Australian Air Force
Born 25 Apr 1916

Thumb freeth
FREETH, John Samuel

Service number 411768
No. 455 Squadron (RAAF)
Royal Australian Air Force
Born 23 May 1920

Thumb capture
ATKINS, Alan Vincent

Service number F/V35
Born 5 Dec 1920

Thumb 1aaa
BOWLEY, Robert George

Service number 416015
Flying Officer
No. 10 Squadron (RAAF)
Royal Australian Air Force
Born 14 Jul 1921

Thumb 1ee

Service number 405996
Flight Lieutenant
RAF Base (Beccles
Royal Australian Air Force
Born 12 Sep 1911

Thumb 2016 6 5 raaf flight sgt smith ronald alfred   serv pic
SMITH, Ronald Alfred

Service number 423365
Flight Sergeant
No. 251 Squadron (RAF)
Royal Air Force
Born 19 Sep 1923