© 2009 454 & 459 RAAF Squadrons


459 Squadron - Ventura 1944

The Ventura, a derivative of the popular Hudson then in service with Coastal Command on anti-shipping and

reconnaissance tasks.

The Ventura entered service at the end of May 1942.  It was initially employed by Bomber Command for precision

raids over occupied Europe, but, like most dedicated bombers in RAF service, its performance made it vulnerable

to enemy fighters when not escorted.  In September 1943, Ventura squadrons had transferred to the Second Tactical

Air Force. Some were also transferred to duties in the Middle East and to Coastal Command.

Specifications on the Ventura:

Length: 51ft 2½in (15.60m)

Wingspan: 65ft 6in (19.96m)

Height: 11ft 10½in (3.62m)

Maximum Speed: 300mph (484km/h)

Cruising Speed: 260mph (419km/h)

Ceiling: 25,000ft (7,617m)

Range: 950 miles (1,532km)

Powerplant: Two Pratt and Whitney Double Wasp GR2800 of 1,200hp each

Payload: 2,500lb (1,135kg) Defensive Armament: 2 x fixed .50in and .303in guns in nose, 2 or 4 x .303 in guns in mid-upper turret and 2 x .303in guns in mid-lower position.

Recognition: Short, squat body with curved undersides sweeping up to twin tails mounted at rear of fuselage. Heavily framed nose with cockpit windshield in line with leading edge of main plane.

Venturas - Night Operations

In December 1943 Ventura aircraft arrived on the Squadron and conversion commenced. In January 1944, No. 459 was

complimented on its accident free rate - 0.30% per 1000 hours against a Group average of 2.30%. Anti-submarine patrols

continued in conditions described as the "worst weather ever". April 1944 saw the squadron ordered to Ramat David and

then St. Jean in Palestine. Night bombing of Rhodes and the Aegean recommenced including the night of the Squadron's

second anniversary.

From the diary of John Simmonds - [RAF] RAAF 459 Squadron, he writes;

"We had only flown 3 exercises as a crew when they took our Hudsons away from us and converted us to the more powerful Ventura.  This aircraft looked very much like a Hudson but was altogether a stronger brute.  Its two Pratt and Whitney, each of 2,000 horse power, compared favourably with the Hudson's 2 Wright Cyclone engines each of 1,100 horses.  No doubt we

should have been impressed by this extra performance but we found out later that a fully laden Ventura wouldn't fly so well on one engine.  God forbid we should ever have to try!.  The Ventura we had was the American Navy version, the P.V.1, dripping with armour plate and armed with two point five Brownings in the turret instead of the pop guns in the British version.  We also had two three-o-three firing aft in the tail section and another two in the nose.  When we tried the latter we blew in the nose and therefore lost interest in forward defence."

459 Ventura FP544 crash - El Adem - 24.1.44

Ventura aircraft awaiting dispatch after the Squadron disbanded 1945

Astride a propeller of a Ventura - Tom the Pom Hodgson (459 Sqdn)