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Australia was one of only two nations to licence-build the Canberra (the other was the USA B57). Production started in 1951 at the Government Aircraft Factory, Fisherman's Bend, nr Melbourne. The first Australian built Canberra, A84-201, flew from Avalon on 29 May 1953. Twenty-nine years later after a long and distinguished career which included operational bombing sorties in Vietnam, the RAAF withdrew its Canberras from active service. 

Canberra Times of 13/10/01.
(Fred Neville)


Prime Minister
 Bob Menzies
Waves to a Canberra during
an official Inspection of the squadron
Formation of Canberras
One of the Canberras
Neptunes in the background
Butterworth early 1960's

Malaya 1962
(Kev Marrinon)


The Australian Air Force in Vietnam
1967 - 197

Perhaps one of the most significant RAAF contributions to the Vietnam war was the deployment of No.2 Squadron (Canberra Bombers) to Phan Rang in April 1967. The Australian 5th Airfield Construction Squadron had completed the provision of Australian facilities by the time the first eight of ten bombers arrived. The bombers were to under go usual maintenance in Phan Rang but had additional facilities at Butterworth, in Malaysia for major maintenance. The entire contingent consisted of approximately 300 men and came under the command of USAF 35th Tactical Fighter Wing.

At the height of Australia's military involvement in Vietnam, RAAF personnel numbered around 800 people from three squadrons. The Canberra Bomber squadron was the first summoned home in March 1971 followed by the remaining RAAF personnel in August.

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