The Lockheed Hudson served with the RNZAF from 1941 until the end of the Second World War, first in the general reconnaissance and bomber role and later as a transport aircraft. At the start of 1940 the RNZAF was still operating the Vickers Vincent biplane, but as the war clouds gathered in the Pacific the British government agreed to provide New Zealand with eighteen Hudsons (March 1940). By the end of 1941 this number had been increased to thirty-six, which were used to equip No.1, No.2 and No.4 Squadrons. Eventually the RNZAF would receive 101 Hudsons (54 Mk.IIIs, 37 Mk.IIIAs, 6 Mk.Vs and 4 Mk.VIs).
In the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor No.2 and No.4 Squadrons were sent to Fiji, to defend against a possible Japanese invasion which never came. No.2 Squadrons was then sent to New Caledonia, to the south-eastern of the Solomon Islands, where it was joined by No.1 Squadron and by a detachment from No.4 Squadron (formed into No.9 Squadron in July 1942). The three squadrons flew anti-submarine patrols from New Caledonia.
The fifth RNZAF bomber squadron to use the Hudson converted to the aircraft during 1942, and in October moved to Santos, in the Solomon Islands. In the following month the squadron moved to Guadalcanal, to take part in the later part of the battle for that island. The squadron made its first contact with Japanese forces on 24 November 1942, but despite flying between four and six patrols every day it did not claim its first victory in aerial combat until 2 April 1943, when in the aftermath of an attack on a Japanese submarine one of its Hudson’s shot down a Japanese float-plane. On the following day the squadron topped this by sinking its first Japanese submarine.
The RNZAF began to phase the Hudson out as a bomber in October 1943, when No.1 Squadron received the Ventura. The remaining bomber squadrons converted over the next year. The surviving Hudsons were transferred to Nos.40 and 41 Squadrons, and spent the rest of the war serving as transport aircraft.
|Lockheed Hudson Aircraft in WWII, Andrew Hendrie, Crowood Press. A look at the development of the Hudson, and its career with the RAF, USAAF, RNZAF and RAAF. Covers the anti-submarine and anti-shipping uses of the Hudson, as well at its role in Air-Sea Rescue and special operations. The text is supported by a good collection of first hand accounts.|
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