Mobile Works Squadrons

About This Unit

Mobile Works Squadrons - RAAF WW2

Mobile Works Squadrons were the initial RAAF equivalent of Army Engineers, with a primary task of constructing and maintaining forward airfields,  runways and support infrastructure in the Pacific Campaign. They were raised in 1942 following the entry of Japan into the war.  It was immediately evident that there was a paucity of airstrips across the South West Pacific Area to support air operations.  

The designation was progressively changed and Airfield Construction Squadrons were formed from the Mobile Works Squadrons of the same numeric designation. 

The history of the Air Force Construction Units is one of toil and sweat, of personal resource and professionalism. During peace, members served in remote areas under harsh conditions. Familial pressures were high. The men undertook hard physical work to build the facilities which were, quite often, taken for granted by those who followed. Always First, the motto of 5ACS, is appropriate as a title for this work. As will be seen, construction units were the pioneers, often landing with assault troops to ensure that airfields were operational in the shortest possible time. Their work remained unsung. Often they had moved away before the main operational force deployed to the facilities that they had prepared.  The Airfield Construction Squadrons were born of necessity, always understrength in men and materiel, and the recipients of plaudits and criticism.

An extract from the Foreword of 'Always First',

Wilson, David,  'Always first: the RAAF airfield construction squadrons 1941-1974'

1998 Airpower Studies Centre

ISBN 0 642 26525 9