RNZAF's first combat strike since Second World War

1 May 1955

RNZAF Vampire jet at Ōhakea, 1951 (Alexander Turnbull Library, 114/352/01-G)

Five Vampire fighter aircraft of No. 14 Squadron of the Royal New Zealand Air Force took off from Tengah airfield, Singapore, to conduct a strike mission against guerrillas in the Malayan jungle.

Led by Flight Lieutenant Stuart McIntyre, this was the RNZAF’s first combat strike since the Second World War. It was also the first time it had used jet aircraft in combat. The squadron was New Zealand’s strike contribution to the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve during the Malayan Emergency (1948-60), the military response to the Malayan Communist Party’s attempt to overthrow the British colonial administration.

The Vampires were soon replaced by much faster Venom FB1 fighter-bombers that were described by McIntyre as ‘Vampires with a hairy chest’. Over the next three years No. 14 Squadron mounted 115 strike missions. In July 1958 it was replaced by No. 75 Squadron, which flew Canberra bombers.

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