From 11/04/2011 Seventy years ago today, members from No 450 Squadron departed Williamtown to embark on the largest convoy to leave Australia during World War II. No 450 Squadron veterans, widows and Association patrons, along with Air Force personnel currently serving at Williamtown, marked this significant occasion in Australia's war and aviation history with a Memorial Service at the Base. A World War II Kittyhawk fighter conducted a flypast with a No 3 Squadron F/A-18 Hornet during the service, where two time capsules were installed in the No 450 Squadron Memorial. RAAF Williamtown's No 3 Squadron is the proud sister squadron of No 450 Squadron. The two squadrons shared great success as they fought along side each other in the North Africa campaign during World War II. Commanding Officer No 3 Squadron, Wing Commander Terry van Haren, said the two squadrons are among the most distinguished to have served on operations providing vital defence to Australia's national interests. "The strong bonds formed 70 years ago, during a time of great conflict, are still very much alive today," Wing Commander Terry van Haren said. "No 3 Squadron is honoured to share in this auspicious occasion with No 450 Squadron, all these years later." No 450 Squadron was formed at Williamtown, NSW, as one of the first Empire Air Training Scheme squadrons on 16 February 1941. In June 1941, combined with the pilots and Hawker Hurricanes of 260 Squadron RAF, they fought against the Vichy French in the Syrian Campaign. The squadron was later equipped with P40 Kittyhawk aircraft in December 1941. No 450 Squadron went on to achieve further success assisting in the defeat of Rommel's Axis forces in the Western Desert at EI Alamein and Tunisia in North Africa, where they gained the name 'Desert Harassers'. The squadron also fought in the Sicilian campaign, where their efforts assisted in saving Malta from total destruction; and Italian campaigns, including 'Operation Bowler' , a dive bombing attack over Venice on 21 March 1945, which was to be the squadron's last major operation. No 450 Squadron was finally disbanded in Italy on 20 August 1945. The 450 Squadron RAAF Association comprising veterans, widows, descendants and friends of the 450 will proudly celebrate their 68th Anniversary in November this year, having been formed in Italy, November 1943 by members of No. 450 Squadron who vowed to maintain their friendship beyond the spoils of war. No 3 Squadron also shares a long and proud history in Australia's aviation history, having participated in the liberation of Italy and Yugoslavia; invasion of Sicily; operations from the Butterworth Air Base; and Air Defence Operations out of Diego Garcia as part of the International Coalition against Terror. photos of the celebrations at http://bit.ly/hKYBld More about 3SQN http://bit.ly/hagAeH More about the F/A-18 http://bit.ly/hNbJSB
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