No. 682 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

No. 682 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

No. 682 Squadron (RAF) during the Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.682 Squadron was a photographic reconnaissance unit that operated in the western and central Mediterranean during 1943 before moving to Italy where it remained for the rest of the war.

The squadron was formed in February 1943 at Maison Blanche by re-designating No.4 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit. It was equipped with several marks of Spitfire and flew short-range operations to support the armies fighting in Tunisia and longer range missions over Italy. In April the squadron received some Mosquitoes to help with the longer range mission.

As the fighting in Tunisia came to an end the squadron's attentions turned entirely to Italy (operating under the control of the US 3rd Reconnaissance Group before the invasion). A detachment moved to Foggia in October 1943 and the entire squadron followed in December. For the rest of the war the squadron operated in detachments scattered around Italy. As well as supporting the armies fighting in Italy the squadron operated over Yugoslavia and Albania. In March 1944 it was used to support the 5th US Army fighting at Anzio, and in September 1944 a detachment moved to southern France (the squadron having operated over that area since April). This detachment followed the Allied armies north after their invasion of the south of France, eventually ending up at Nancy, where it remained until March 1945 when it returned to Italy.

From then until the end of the war the squadron focuses on supporting the Allied armies in Italy. After the end of the fighting in Italy it was used in the civil war in Greece, and then moved onto survey work before being disbanded in September 1945.

Aircraft
February-December 1943: Supermarine Spitfire IV
February 1943-September 1945: Supermarine Spitfire XI
April-July 1943: de Havilland Mosquito IV and VI
June 1944-September 1945: Supermarine Spitfire XIX

Location
February-June 1943: Maison Blanche
June-December 1943: La Marsa
December 1943-September 1945: San Severo

Squadron Codes: I

Duty
1943-December 1943: Photo Reconnaissance from Algeria
December 1943-September 1945: Photo Reconnaissance from Italy

Part of
10 July 1943: North African Photographic Reconnaissance Wing; Northwest African Air Forces; Mediterranean Air Command

Books

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The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (400112) Flight Lieutenant Phillip Greig Cameron, No. 682 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted byCharis May, the story for this day was on (400112) Flight Lieutenant Phillip Greig Cameron, No. 682 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.

400112 Flight Lieutenant Phillip Greig Cameron, No. 682 Squadron, Royal Air Force
KIA 9 February 1945
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 22 March 2014

Today we pay tribute to Flight Lieutenant Phillip Greig Cameron, who was killed on active service with the Royal Air Force on 9 February 1945.

Born on 18 June 1913 in the small Victorian town of Boort, Phillip Greig Cameron worked as a shop assistant and ladies hairdresser before he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in May 1940.

He began training as an air gunner at No. 1 Wireless Air Gunners School in Ballarat, Victoria, before further training at the No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School at Evan's Head, Queensland. In April 1941 he embarked from Sydney for overseas service.

As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, Cameron was one of almost 27,500 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers who joined RAF squadrons throughout the course of the war.

Arriving in Egypt, Cameron undertook further training before joining No. 233 Squadron, RAF, based in Egypt. In September 1941 he was transferred to No. 69 Squadron in Malta, where he served as an air gunner during the long siege. There he flew a full tour, completing his operations at the end of March 1942.

Cameron then chose to undertake further training to become a pilot and was transferred to training schools in southern Rhodesia. After more than a year of training in single-seat fighters, Cameron was assigned to No. 682 Squadron in August 1944.

No. 682 Squadron, flying out of Italy, was a photo-reconnaissance squadron. With this squadron, Cameron piloted the newest and fastest model of Spitfire powered by the Rolls-Royce Griffon engine. During this time the squadron flew missions over Italy, southern France, Yugoslavia, and, later in the war, Austria and Germany.

In February 1945, Cameron was returning from an operation over Augsburg, near Munich, when he reported engine trouble. His last radio message was that "my engine has gone haywire and I am bailing out". He was never heard of again. A fix on his position confirmed that his Spitfire went down over the Gulf of Venice. A rescue party was sent out but no evidence of his Spitfire was found and his body was never recovered. He was listed as missing, presumed killed, on 9 February 1945. His name is listed and commemorated on the RAF memorial at Malta.

Writing home to Cameron's parents, the No. 682 Squadron leader wrote stated that Cameron "was so proud to have served" and that "he was a great friend of his unit's airmen", always concerned for their welfare. The energy he put into this job, the squadron leader said, "earned him the highest praise from all sections of the squadron".

Cameron's name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with around 40,000 Australians killed in the Second World War. There is no photograph in the Memorial's collection to display beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Flight Lieutenant Philip Greig Cameron, and all of those Australians - as well as our Allies and brothers in arms - who gave their lives for their nation.


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