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42 Squadron History

The RNZAF's Communications Squadron, No.42 was formed at Rongotai (Wellington) in December 1943. Equipped with a variety of civilian impressed and military transport aircraft it provided a communications service around the country for the remainder of WWII.

No. 42 Squadron was disbanded in 1946, but the residual elements became the General Purpose Flight at RNZAF Station Ohakea. In March 1950, the Squadron was reformed at Ohakea and equipped with Harvards, Austers, Avengers, Oxfords, Devons and Mustangs. During the Queen's Coronation visit 1953/54 it was Dakotas of the Squadron that carried her around New Zealand. In the late 1950s the Squadron's inventory comprised Dakotas and Devons. The role of the Squadron was now firmly entrenched in VIP flights, multi engine conversion courses, and general transport flying around New Zealand and the South Pacific. During the mid 1960s the Dakota fleet was enlarged to six aircraft.

In 1977 the Dakotas were retired and replaced by four Andover C Mk1 twin engine transports. Two of the Andovers (NZ7622 and NZ7628) were converted to full VIP configuration, NZ7625 semi-converted , and NZ7627 remained in the utility configuration.

To accommodate the new Skyhawk Squadron at Ohakea in 1984, No. 42 Squadron moved to RNZAF Base Auckland (Whenuapai) and absorbed the Andovers of No. 1 Squadron which was disbanded. The Squadron now had 10 Andovers.

In 1988 one Andover, two flying crews and maintenance personnel were provided to the United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observers Group (UNIMOG). The detachment of 17 personnel and aircraft were based at Tehran, with personnel rotating through the operation until the detachment was withdrawn in December 1990.

On New Year's day 1993 a detachment of No. 42 Squadron (three Andovers and 62 personnel) left Whenuapai for Mogadishu in Somalia, as New Zealand's air contribution to the US led Unified Task Force (UNTAF). Based on Mogadishu airfield the detachment flew air transport support missions for the force until withdrawn in May 1993.

Four Andovers were withdrawn from service and sold in January 1997, the remainder in June 1998. The Andovers were replaced by leased Beech King Air B200 aircraft.

As No. 42 Squadron returned to Ohakea in 2002 its focus was on VIP and passenger transport, multi-engine conversion training for pilots as well as Non-Commission Officer Aircrew training.

In November of 2018 the B200 was retired with the arrival of the Beechcraft King Air 350. As part of this upgrade initial Air Warfare Officer training was relocated back from Australia, with the first course commencing in 2019.