When Australia committed Spitfire squadrons to the 1945 Borneo campaign, there was little indication the taskings would include the type’s last air-to-air ‘kill’ of World War Two

In early May 1945, although the war in Europe was in its final throes, there was no obvious end in sight in the Pacific in spite of successive victories and advances against Imperial Japanese forces.

The final campaigns for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in the southwest Pacific would be the Oboe series of operations aimed at retaking Borneo. The capture of Tarakan off the northeast coast of Borneo, with its oil infrastructure and airfield, was to be the first. The objective was entrusted to the 26th Brigade of the 9th (Australian) Division, which went ashore on the morning of May 1, 1945. The landing was effected with little difficulty, but initiated a bitter campaign against the defenders.

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