Australian pilots flew Mk V and Mk VIII Spitfires with Royal Air Force squadrons in Europe, the Middle East and Burma, and four Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadrons – 450, 452, 453 and 457 – operated them in the former two theatres. 452 and 457 Squadrons also flew the Spitfire in the South-West Pacific Area, as did 79 and 85 Squadrons.
The first Spitfires arrived in Australia in August 1942. At first it presented some difficulties in the South-West Pacific, owing to its relatively short range and mechanical problems resulting from climatic conditions and its fragile undercarriage, which was not well-suited to the rough airstrips found throughout the Pacific Theatre. However with some modifications made to the Spitfire including ‘tropicalisation’ to improve cooling to the engine the Spitfire proved to be an outstanding aircraft for the RAAF during the latter years of World War II.
With the jet-age looming and the faster more powerful Mustang aircraft being adopted by the RAAF, the Spitfire was effectively retired at the end of the Second World War with a total of 656 Spitfires serving with the RAAF.