No. 2 Operational Training Unit

Posted on 11 May 2020

¹During World War II, the RAAF established several operational training units (OTUs) to convert recently graduated pilots from advanced trainers to combat aircraft, and to add fighting techniques to the flying skills they had already learned. No. 2 (Fighter) Operational Training Unit (No. 2 OTU) was formed on the 6th April 1942 at Port Pirie, South Australia.

Its inaugural commanding officer was Wing Commander Peter Jeffrey, a fighter ace who had led No. 3 Squadron in North Africa.  Jeffrey had recently brought on line Nos. 75 and 76 Squadrons, two of the first three fighter units raised to help defend northern Australia as the Japanese advanced toward New Guinea.

His team of instructors at No. 2 OTU included fellow aces from the North African campaign, Clive Caldwell and Wilf Arthur. Largely equipped with CAC Wirraways and Fairey Battles, the unit's complement was augmented by P-40 Kittyhawks, Vultee Vengeances, Avro Ansons, CAC Boomerangs, Supermarine Spitfires and Airspeed Oxfords after it relocated to RAAF Station Mildura, Victoria, its permanent base, on the 14th of May 1942.