ANZAC Day: Australia has held its first Australian-built combat mission since the end of the Second World War.
On this day in 1915, the first Australians took part in an aerial battle with a British flotilla, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAF) B Squadron, to clear the beaches of the Sydney Harbour area.
The fighting began on Sunday after the British decided to use the Australian air force to bomb the German coastal defences.
As they descended, a B Squadron fighter crashed and a B-29 Superfortress bomber strafed the enemy airfield and the beachhead.
A total of 612 Australian casualties were taken, the RAF said.
It was the first time that the B Squadron had been involved in combat, with its aircraft operating in a formation to hit targets at night.
When the airfield finally was cleared, B Squadron took off on a mission to destroy a German gun emplacement.
During the night, the B-30 Superfortresses hit three targets, one of which was a B Squad HQ.
Once it was clear the B Squad had completed its mission, the A Squadron went into action, dropping bombs on the bunker and the emplacements.
One of the bombs hit the bunker, destroying it.
An A Squadron fighter circled the bunker at high speed, but it was not strong enough to penetrate the bunker.
Eventually the bunker was demolished and the aircraft was able to land on the beach to destroy another enemy air base.
After the war, Australia’s contribution to the war effort was significant, as well as a symbol of its involvement in the conflict.
In 1940, the war was declared over and Australia’s Commonwealth territory returned to Australia.
Its members have fought alongside the Royal Air Force for over a century and contributed to countless operations around the globe, including the Battle of Midway and Operation Torch, when it was deployed to destroy Japanese bombers in the Pacific.
Australian troops were deployed to Afghanistan in support of the invasion of the Soviet Union, which ended in the Soviet collapse in 1991.
For more than 70 years, the aircrew have been honoured with a posthumous Commonwealth Medal of Honour, which was awarded in 1997.
There are now over 1,600 B Squadron members serving with the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
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