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    Garbutt Field (RAAF Townsville) Queensland Australia
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3rd BG c1942

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USAAF c1943

PacificWrecks.com
USAAF c1944
Location
Lat 19° 15' 9S Long 146° 45' 55E Garbutt Field is located at an elevation of 18' above sea level at Townsville in the northeastern Queensland in Australia. Overlooking the area is Castle Hill. Also known as Garbutt Airfield or RAAF Townsville. Still in use today as Townsville Airport or RAAF Townsville.

Construction
Built prior to the war. Garbutt Field was owned by the Townsville city council.

Wartime History
During the war, it was developed into a major base used by both the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF). During the early months of the Pacific War, Garbutt Field was used for combat missions against Japanese targets. 5th Air Force missions flown from Garbutt were given the abbreviation "TOW" for Townsville.

Garbutt was used to ferry aircraft northward to New Guinea and also for training missions in the local area. Also, as a major repair depot. At the hight of Garbutt's use, the airfield was one of the busiest airfields in Queensland.

Allied units based at Garbutt Field
U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF)
7th BG, 88th RS (B-17) Fiji Feb 20, 1942 - ?
6th PRG, 8th PRS (F-4) Brisbane arrives May 2, 1942–September 9, 1942 departs 14 Mile Drome
8th FG, 35th FS (P-39) arrives July 27, 1942September 18, 1942
8th FG, 36 FS (P-39) arrives April 4, 1942–April 26, 1942 to 7 Mile Drome returns June 30, 1942August 18, 1942
35th FG, 39th FS (P-38) arrives July 26, 1942–October 18, 1942 departs 14 Mile Drome
38th BG, 405th BS (B-25) Breddan September 30, 1942–October 25, 1942 departs Port Moresby
22nd BG, HQ ?–July 5, 1942 to Woodstock
35th FG, 40th FS (P-39) April 1942–June 2, 1942 returns July 30, 1942November 25, 1942
19th BG, 435th BS (B-17) February - Nov 15, 1942 USA
374 TCG, 6th TCS (C-47) October 2, 1943 - August 26, 1944
374 TCG, 22th TCS (C-47) Essendon arrives October 11, 1942–Jan 24, 1943 returns Oct 4, 1943–Aug 29, 1944
374 TCG, 33th TCS (C-47) October 5, 1943–April 1944
317 TCG, 39th TCS (C-47) arrives January 22, 1943February 22, 1943 departs Archerfield
317 TCG, 40 TCS (C-47) arrives January 23, 1943–October 4, 1943
317 TCG, 41 TCS (C-47) arrives January 23, 1943–May 10, 1943
317 TCG, 46 TCS (C-47) arrives January 23, 1943–October 1, 1943
6 thPRG, 8th PRS (F-4 "A Flight" ) May 8, 1942–August 1942 departs 14 Mile Drome
Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
5 Communication Flight - November 30, 1942 - May 25, 1946
No. 22 Squadron September 22, 1942October 19, 1942
No. 24 Squadron ... 14.10.40 - 01.12.41 & 26.02.42 - 30.07.42
No. 35 Squadron ... 31.03.45 - 10.06.46
No. 36 Squadron ... 20.02.44 - 19.08.46
No. 40 Squadron ... 31.03.44 - 22.07.44
No. 41 Squadron ... 21.08.42 - 15.05.44
No. 75 Squadron (P-40E) activated Mar 4, 1942Mar 21, 1942 departs 7 Mile returns May 11, 1942May 17, 1942
No. 77 Squadron ... 26.01.43 - 13.02.43
No. 82 Squadron April 30 - September 25, 1944
2 AAU (Air Ambulance Unit) ... 03.04.43 - 10.01.44
23 OBU (Operational Base Unit) ... 03.07.42 - 15.12.44
33 OBU ... 28.04.43 - 06.06.46
44 OBU ... 23.12.42 - 04.03.43
13 Aircraft Repair Depot (Det) ... 11.43 - 12.43
5 RSU (Repair & Salvage Unit) ... 26.05.44 - 11.03.45
12 Mobile Fighter Sector HQ ... 11.03.42 - 24.03.43
43 Radar Station ... 24.08.42 - 08.10.42

Today
Still in use today as Townsville Airport for the civilian side. The military side is known as RAAF Townsville for the military side used by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The first runway is oriented 19/01 measures 7,999' x 148' surfaced with asphalt. The second runway is oriented 25/07 measures 3,609' x 98' surfaced with asphalt. Airport codes: ICAO: YBTL IATA: TSV.

4th Air Depot Group (4th ADG)
This was a large repair and overhaul area for major repairs and engine overhauls plus aircraft modification including conversions of Douglas A-20 Havocs and North American B-25 Mitchells into strafers variants.

Keith Hopper adds:
"The former 4 ADG depot complex has been built over in the last 24 months, and the accommodation area at the base of Mount Louisa has been covered by houses within
the last five years."

References
Oz @ War - Garbutt Field

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Last Updated
August 5, 2022

 

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