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by David J Wilson
Banner Books 2002
Cover Price: A$ 66.00
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|Seek and Strike
75 Squadron RAAF 1942-2002
Every April 25th, Australians are almost bombarded with the stories about the heroes of Gallipoli, Kokoda and Long Tan. But there are two extra names which should be included in this list - Port Moresby and Milne Bay. 'Seek and Strike' is a the history of the RAAF's No. 75 Squadron - the unit involved in both of these bloody battles.
David Wilson simply starts where the story of 75 Squadron begins - early 1942 when 75, 76 and 77 Squadrons were raised to help counter the Japanese advance towards Australia. The book takes the reader from initial formation and training, to the unit's "baptism of fire" at Port Moresby, then Milne Bay and other wartime postings including Nadzab, Tadji, Morotai and Tarakan.
The Port Moresby and Milne Bay sections are covered in depth, occupying at least one third of the volume. Almost every victory and loss is included in these chapters and makes for excellent reading of these events.
As a fighter unit, these would have been the 'glory days' of the squadron, after which the RAAF Kittyhawk units were tasked with fighter-bomber duties. It is a nice change of pace to finally read about these less famous activities. These chapters take up approximately another third of the book.
The years from 1945 to 2002 are covered in the final third of 'Seek and Strike' and include the conversion to the Mustang, Vampire, Meteor, Sabre, Mirage and finally the F/A-18 Hornet. It also details the unit's three year deployment to Malta in the 1950s and later deployments around the Pacific, ending at RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory.
Every chapter of the book is accompanied by many black and white photographs - some of which have never been published. Appendices include a complete Roll of Honour for the unit, a complete list of commanding officers, a list of all original squadron members, eight colour profiles of 75 Squadron aircraft throughout their 60 year history and an attempt at listing all aircraft (by serial number) that served with the unit.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and refer to it frequently when conducting research on the unit's involvement in the Second World War. It would be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in the history of air force units as it covers everything from the unit's formation through to present day (2002) operations.
(Obviously due to the publication date, 75 Squadron's involvement in the Second Gulf War is not included in this edition). Thanks to Banner Books for providing a review copy of this book.
Review by Daniel Leahy
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