|CANBERRAS OF THE ROYAL NEW ZEALAND AIR FORCE|
In 1958, while awaiting delivery of their own Canberras, the RNZAF "hired" a squadron of 17 B.2s and three T.4s from the RAF as part of the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve. The B.2s and one T.4 were used, from 1958 until 1962, by the then newly formed RNZAF 75 Squadron. The squadron was based at RAF Tengah (Singapore) and became involved in active service during the Malayan emergency with their first bombing raid being carried out on 30 September 1959.
In February 1958 New Zealand placed a contract for 11 aircraft for use by 14 Sqd, the contract called for nine B(I)12 and two T.13 Canberras. The B(I)12 was the equivalent of the RAF's B(I)8 but with auto-pilot and modified navigation kit. The T.13 was equivalent to the T.4 but with auto-pilot and an extra bomb bay fuel tank. The aircraft were :
14 Squadron was based at RNZAF Ohakea in New Zealand and Bill Smiley, a B(I)12 pilot with the squadron, has kindly submitted some pictures of the squadron from his time with them.
Initially the squadron continued to use their D.H. Vampires for rocket projectile firing practice as the B(I)12s did not get this capability until December 1961. Trials then began with wing-pylon mounted Microcell rocket launchers each holding 37 rockets. Gradually the squadron achieved operational status in all its roles, including anti-shipping, and took part in deployment exercises to Singapore as part of the Commonwealth Reinforcement Force.
In late 1962, the OCU was incorporated into the squadron as "C" Flight giving 14 Squadron a strength of ten B(I)12s and two T.13s. In 1964 the B(I)12s received their camouflage paint scheme ready for deployment to Singapore. 14 Sqd arrived in Singapore in September 1964 to assist in Operation Confrontation against Indonesia. A month later they went to the forward base at Labuan but were moved back to Tengah a week later! 14 Sqd stayed as part of the FEAF and, in March 1965, moved to RAAF Butterworth in Malaya. Not for long however. In 1966 the squadron returned to RNZAF Ohakea. Sadly, in the final month at Butterworth, NZ6104 crashed during a low-level RP attack at the China Rock range.
Back in NZ, the decision had been taken to phase out the B(I)12 which duly took place in July 1970. New Zealand's Canberras were sold as a job-lot to India in November 1970. Some are still flying today.
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