Hudson in Service with Royal Australian Air Force

Last revised September 24, 2000

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) ordered an initial batch of 50 Twin Wasp-powered Hudsons in late 1938. These planes were known in Australian service as Hudson Is (RAAF serials A16-1 to A16-50) even though they were powered by Pratt & Whitney engines. To prevent the possibility of confusion, these planes were later redesignated MK.IVs according to the British numbering system.

A follow-on order for 50 aircraft (A16-51 to A16-100) (Mk.IIs in the RAAF system, Mk.IVs in the RAF system) was supplemented by 96 Lend-Lease Hudson Mk.IIIAs diverted from RAF orders (95 of which were given Australian serials A16-153 to A16-247) and by 52 Hudson Mk.IVAs (A16-101 to A16-152) which had originally been ordered by the RAAF but were completed under Lend-Lease.

The first RAAF Hudsons arrived by sea beginning on February 9, 1940. With the exception of a handful of RAAF Hudson Mk.1s, the first 100 aircraft to arrive in Australia were from the diverted RAF allotment. These aircraft entered service with No. 1 Squadron based at Laverton, Victoria. By the beginning of July of 1940, this unit was sent to Singapore.

By the time of the Japanese attack, the RAAF had 8 Hudson squadrons on strength.

The Japanese attack began on December 8. Nos.1 and 8 Squadrons fought heavily against overwheming invasion forces. Their losses were heavy, and they were forced to leave the Malay peninsula on January 29, 1942. They continued to fight from bases in the East Indies, where they were joined by Nos 2 and 13 Squadrons. No. 24 Squadron was forced to evacuate Rabaul in late January of 1942. The RAAF Hudson provided the main Allied bombing power against the Japanese attack on New Guinea. Elements of Nos. 2 and 13 Squadrons were regrouped into a new No. 32 Squadron. Other elements from tbhese two squadrons continued to attack Jaapanese forces on Timor. The Hudsons were replaced in the bombing role during the Autumn of 1943 and in the maritime patrol role in the spring of 1944.

Hudsons served with the following RAAF squadrons: Nos. 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14,23, 24, 25, and 32 Squadrons. as well as with the No. 1, 3, 4, and 6 Communications Units, No; 1 Operational Training Unit, No. 1 Rescue and Communication Unit, No. 2 Air Ambulance Unit, and the RAAF Survey Flight. In addition, Hudsons with RAF serials served with two RAAF Squadrons (Nos. 459 and 464) serving with the RAF Coastal Command in the UK.

The last Hudson was phased out of RAAF service in 1949.


  1. Lockheed's Made-Over Bomber, Freeman Westell, Wings, Vol 26, No. 6, p. 46 (1996).

  2. Lockheed Aircraft Since 1913, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1987