RAAF.Butterworth and Penang

RAAF Butterworth

A short history

RAF Butterworth was officially opened in 1941, as a Royal Air Force station. At the time it was one of the front line airfields preparing to defend Malaya and Singapore against a Japanese invasion.

During the invasion of Malaya by the Japanese forces, the airfield was badly bombed by aircraft based in Vietnam. There was a terrible role of casualties from the base against highly trained Japanese pilots. The RAF airfield was subsequently captured in December 1941 and in the hands of the Japanese until the end of the war. When hostilities ceased in 1946, The RAF resumed control of the station. Subsequently Japanese prisoners of war were made to repair the airfield as well as to improve the runways before air operations were resumed in May 1946. Soldiers of 19 Signal Regt played a key part in assisting in renewing and updating communications during the subsequent years.

The RAF closed the airfield in 1957 and it became a RAAF base and was renamed RAAF Butterworth.

Throughout the confrontation with Indonesia, sabre jets of the RAAF were active in controlling the skies against the threat invasion by the Indonesians. Furthermore, bloodhound missiles provided ground to air defence while the active aircraft at the time included Hunters, Vulcan bombers, and  Canberras plus a supporting role provided by Valettas, and single and twin Pioneers.

During all this era , the Regiment was actively deployed in improving communications and eventually, during the late sixties and early seventies, a detachment of Microwave troop was stationed there.