HQ RAAF Command - WW2

About This Unit

HQ RAAF Command - WW2 SWPA

RAAF Command was the  operational Headquarters of the RAAF to command and control the RAAF presence across the South West Pacific Area during World War II.

It was formed in September 1942 and by April 1943 its span of control embraced 27 squadrons, including units from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as Australia. Coming under the operational authority of Allied Air Forces Headquarters in the South West Pacific Area in Brisbane, RAAF Command exercised control of its units through geographically based area commands in Australia and, later, New Guinea, as well as large mobile formations including the Australian First Tactical Air Force.


Fig 1. RAAF area commands as established by November 1942.   North-Western Area's sphere of operations was moved south of the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) after World War II, but otherwise these boundaries remained essentially the same until the area command system was superseded in 1953–54.

It worked closely and very successfully with the US 5th Air Force commanded by US General Kenny, also co-located with McArthur's and Blamey's Headquarters in Brisbane.

The command reached a strength of 41 squadrons in October 1944. From the time of its establishment, until its disbandment in September 1945, it was led by Air Vice Marshal Bill Bostock.

Fig 2.  Morotai, Halmahera Islands, Netherlands East Indies. Preliminary conference attended by commanders of RAAF Command, First Tactical Air Force, RAAF, US Navy and Australian Army. Details of the Australian landing on Tarakan Island, off the north-east coast of Borneo were discussed. Amongst those present were: Rear-Admiral Forrest Royal, US Navy; Lieutenant-General Sir Leslie Morshead; Air Vice-Marshal W. B. Bostock CB CBE.