No. 457 Squadron was a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fighter squadron of World War II. Equipped with Supermarine Spitfire fighters, it was formed in England during June 1941 under Article XV of the Empire Air Training Scheme. The squadron was transferred to Australia in June 1942 and saw combat in the South West Pacific Area before being disbanded in November 1945.
The squadron saw combat against both Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan during the war. From March to May 1942 it was based in southern England and flew missions over German-occupied France during which it shot down at least five Luftwaffe aircraft. After being deployed to Australia, No. 457 Squadron was based near Darwin as part of No. 1 Wing RAAF and intercepted several Japanese raids on Allied bases in northern Australia between March and November 1943. The squadron remained at Darwin and saw almost no combat during 1944, but moved to Morotai and later Labuan in 1945 from where it attacked Japanese positions in the Netherlands East Indies and Borneo as part of Allied offensives in these areas.
Group Captain Clive Robertson Caldwell, DSO, DFC & Bar (28 July 1911 – 5 August 1994) was the leading Australian air ace of World War II. He is officially credited with shooting down 28.5 enemy aircraft in over 300 operational sorties, including an ace in a day. In addition to his official score, he has been ascribed six probables and 15 damaged
Caldwell flew Curtiss P-40 Tomahawks and Kittyhawks in the North African Campaign and Supermarine Spitfires in the South West Pacific Theatre. He was the highest-scoring P-40 pilot from any air force and the highest-scoring Allied pilot in North Africa.
Supermarine Spitfire MK VIII, A58-484 (British serial JG543) at Morotai in March 1945; was one of three Spitfire MkVIII's allocated to Clive R Caldwell. This aircraft like many others, was delivered to the RAAF wearing the RAF 'desert' scheme of Dark Earth, Middle Stone and Azure Blue. The Middle Stone portions were subsequently over painted in Foliage Green.
The Pilot initials 'CR-C' were Sky Blue, spinner and fuselage band in white with probably black bands. Below the cockpit was a Group Captain rank pennant and an impressive scoreboard indicating aerial victories against German, Italian and Japanese aircraft. Of note is the relative contrast between upper surface camouflage colours. RAF 'desert' camouflaged Spitfires typically had a 'darker' shade of the standard RAF colour Dark Earth resulting in a relatively lower contrast upper scheme when combined with RAAF Foliage Green.
Further recommended reading, KILLER CALDWELL, AUSTRALIA’S GREATEST FIGHTER PILOT, by Jeffrey Watson.
**Please note that RAAF-03 includes a seated pilot figure in the cockpit, the side door does open. The pilot figure can be removed. The pilots canopy can be opened. The Propeller plugs into position, and can turn. The front and rear undercarriages are removable and can be switched**