Netherlands East Indies Army - Royal Australian Air Force Flying UnitsPrint Page Print this page

Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams

The plaque commemorates the Dutch flying units established under the Royal Australian Air Force (R. A. A. F.)  in Canberra during World War Two. 

Dutch airmen who escaped to Australia after the Japanese invasion of the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) were brought together to form Dutch squadrons under Royal Australian Air Force command.

First among these special squadrons was 18 (NEI) Squadron, formed at Canberra on 4 April 1942. Although nominally made up of Dutch nationals, the Royal Australian Air Force supplied many co-pilots, air gunners, bombardiers, photographers, and ground staff, and the United States of America provided supplies and equipment.


Address:Federal Highway, RAAF Memorial Grove, Majura, 2609
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.211571
Long: 149.190164
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Conflict
Approx. Event Start Date:1942
Approx. Event End Date:1945


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:February-2003
Front Inscription

Netherlands East Indies Army - RAAF Flying Units

This plaque commemorates the Dutch flying units established in Canberra during WWII.
• No. 18 (N.E.I. ) Squadron RAAF,   formed on 4 April 1942
• No. 120 (N.E.I) Squadron RAAF,   formed on 1 Septemner 1943
• Personnel and Equipment Pool (PEP), formed on 1 September 1943

It recognises the commitment of all Dutch and Australian personnel who served in these units and honours those among them who died in the Pacific War. 

During WWII Dutch servicemen from Indonesia (then the Netherlands East Indies) formed three flying units in Canberra - No. 18 Squadron with B25 Mitchell bombers, No. 120 Squadron with P40 Kittyhawk fighters, and a support unit (the Personnel and Equipment Pool) which flew both aircraft types at Fairbairn until war`s end. Operating as Dutch units within the RAAF, they flew Dutch owned aircraft, were commanded by Dutch officers, were part-manned by RAAF personnel and under RAAF operational control. 

During 1943-45, 18 Squadron Mitchells flew from Batchelor and other northern airfields on reconaissance, bombing and anti-shipping missions in and around the Timor and Arafura Seas. No. 120 Squadron operated mostly from Merauke in West New Guinea , flying air defence, anti-shipping and ground attack missions. Their efforts helped establish vital allied air and maritime superiority in the region, but the cost was high, with combined losses of 119 men, both Dutch and Australian by war`s end. 

Lest We Forget

Royal Netherlands Embassy

February 2003 

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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