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RAAF 3 SQUADRON - STORIES

Click on any title to read the story.  Our most popular stories are highlighted in red.  [Or Jump to WW1 - WW2]

The Jet Age:


"Tropical Weather" - Jake Newham's gripping tale of flying
his Sabre into the unknown in 1958.
 


3 Squadron in Malaysia
An article embracing the era from 1958 to the present day,
by FLGOFF Michael Keightley.
 


Neil Handsley describes Butterworth and the highly-ambitious Operation Sabre Ferry, 1958.
 


Butterworth Airbase History
3 Squadron's Malaysian home away from home from 1958 until the mid-80s.
 

 3SQN Sabre Display Team - 1961
by Pete Scully


"Flying the RAAF's Avon Sabre" (F-86)
By Barry Weymouth.
- With a focus on Airshow Displays.
 

Peter Larard's
"Indonesian Confrontation"  
Mid-air encounters in the mid-1960s!
 

"Commanding Officer DOWN!"
- The loss of Vance Drummond in a Mirage accident at Williamtown in 1967.

"Highest Mountain" - A tragic story of the loss of Mirage pilot Lloyd Smith, 1972.
"Pietschy's High-Wire Spectacular"
- A fast-flying Sabre intercepts some powerlines!   1971.
"Battle of the Forces", 2002
3 Squadron's Williamtown F18s fly war-games:


 
Drew Harrison's "Jet Age" Paintings.
3SQN from the 1950s to the current day
- and beyond!
"Mirage Metamorphosis" - Brian Weston illustrates the Squadron's "Lizard" colour scheme in the early 1970s. Mick Hickey recalls a 1985 Mirage Spin Incident
during his Butterworth days.

"Mirage Fun" - Some enjoyable 1970s Butterworth cartoons
by the very talented Bill Chambers.
 
"Mirage Collision" - The tragic loss of  3SQN's "last" operational
fatality, FLTLT Perry Kelly, in 1976.

Darryl Luck's beautifully-illustrated report on
3 Squadron’s 2002 Operational Deployment

"Operation Slipper"
 
"A Padre's Tale"
Campbell Carroll, 2010.

 
Centenary of Australian
Military Aviation 2014.

 

 "From 3 Squadron to Chief of Air Force!"
- A profile of Air Marshal Geoff Brown, AO.

“Black Dagger”
2013 Townsville Bombing Exercise
Photo-Essay
 
"Good Morning... SYRIA!" 
F/A-18A Pilot Interview, 2016.
 
 
No.3 Squadron to be the F35 Pioneers.
 


Neil Smith's 3SQN Post-WW2 History Summary

World War One:

Before the War: 3 Squadron and the "Birth of Aviation"

"Billy Stutt and the Richmond Flyboys" - 1916 aviation pioneering, mixed explosively with State politics!

"Fights in the Air" - 1916.  - An interesting letter from the Western Front in France, at the time that the Squadron was "being born", back in Australia, at Point Cook.

Complete 3SQN WW1 History Summary By Neil Smith

 


Tom Prince
- From Original ANZAC to AFC Observer, 1918.
 
Australia's First Air Combat - Lawrence Wackett stars in a dashing tale from the Sinai desert.

What's in a Number?   The bizarre story of how 3AFC
gained its final identity during WW1.

The Sloane family honoured 2/AM Douglas Sloane with a book about his tragically short service with 3 Squadron AFC.  He died with his pilot (Lt. Shapira) when their RE8 crashed while transiting from England to France in August 1917.


1918
Flying with 3 Sqn, Australian Flying Corps
By Lt. James (Lee) Smith DFC.

 

Adrian Hellwig's biography of 
2nd Air Mechanic Harold Edwards who made the
name-plate for the Red Baron's coffin
and was the
longest-lived WW1 A.F.C. survivor.
Frank Tarrant's hopeful
Letters from the Western Front

World War One in an RE8 
  Lt. Jack Treacy describes his exciting flying experiences. 


Nigel Love Rains Destruction on
German Artillery on the Western Front.
 
August 8th, 1918:
 3SQN and the 'Black Day' of the German Army.

Seven Amazing RE8 Tales
1917/1918
 

Lt. John Clifford Peel,  AFC. 
- A heart-warming link to the
Foundation of the Flying Doctor Service
.

3AFC Signaller Bert Billings' amazing record:
"Gallipoli Start-to-Finish"
  A Western Front Photo Saved...
Ray Williams saves a historic 1918 photo.
 
 

Between the Wars:

The RAAF's Friend in High Places - Senator Sir George Pearce and the Foundation of the RAAF.

"Welcome to Richmond".  3 Squadron inaugurated RAAF operations at Richmond in July 1925 - but many minor disasters ensued on the journey there!

Sacrifice in the Survey of Canberra (1926).  

Australia's first RAAF Parachute Jumps (1926).

Fatal 3SQN Crash during the Opening of Parliament House (1927). 

Tragedy at Richmond RAAF Base (1929).

Pictures of 3 Squadron R.A.A.F. in the 1920s at Richmond NSW

Demon Down!  - In the Devils’ Den (1937).

Disastrous Demonstration - Townsville (1937).

3SQN’s Earliest WW2 Fatality… REVEALED AFTER 73 YEARS!

 

3SQN 1920s and 30s History Summary by Neil Smith

 



 World War Two:

Complete 3SQN WW2 History Summary 1939-42 by Neil Smith

 

WW2 OPERATIONS: WW2 SHOT DOWN /
PRISONERS of WAR/
and EVADERS:
WW2 GENERAL /
DAILY LIFE:


Gloster Gauntlets 1940
- Les Fitzpatrick recalls the details.
 


Snow Campbell's 1941 POW Diary
- Lumping cargo for Rommel!
 

Engine Fitter Val St Leon's
 Desert Days, 1941/42.

Roy Fitzgerald - Aerodrome Defence Gunner and Armourer 1940-42.  (3SQN's first WW2 "kill" was a drogue-towing aircraft!)
 

The Story of Squadron Leader Hickey. 
An Australian lost in Greece, 1941.


"Prangs for the Memories"
Harry Clare's interesting Syria Campaign
photos from mid-1941.
 


"Australia's First-Ever Combined Operation"

-  3SQN warmly welcomed in action in Syria in 1941.
 

   

3 Squadron "Foils" the Enemy Commander's Escape from Syria...
1941.


George Dumont tells of 
John Parr's 'Resurrection'
at Tobruk, 1941.
 


The Illustrated 1940-41 Training and Ops Diary of Tomahawk Pilot Hal ("Robbie") Roberts. 
 


 Bobby Gibbes Describes: 
How he was nearly killed on his first Combat Operation, 1941.
 


Al Rawlinson's vivid description of the loss of Geoff Hiller
on 2 December 1941:
 

Newspaper Propaganda in 1941
"They should all be decorated"
(We agree!)
 

Bob Gibbes Examines a Pilot's Fears 


 


 Nicky Barr Shot Down - January 1942
 

Ivor Leaver and the
Aerodrome Defence "Bofors Boys", 1940-1942.


 


Granton Harrison flew Buffalo Fighters in
 Malaya
and later Kittyhawks in Italy. 

He describes his remarkable jungle adventures evading capture by the Japanese, early 1942...
 


Lone Wolf - Bobby Gibbes stalks
his enemies, 13-12-41.
 


(1942) Nicky Barr's Brilliant Career
- Straight out of Arabian Nights!
 


Bobby Gibbes' extraordinary article:
"There's No Glamour in Air Warfare" 
- Including an original air-combat report from Bir el Gobi
- 25 November 1941.
 


The High Cost of Victory...
- Peter Turnbull falls in the pivotal Battle of Milne Bay, September 1942,
the first-ever defeat of a Japanese invasion landing.
 

Bob Ulrich meets Peter Jeffrey
- Bob's heart-warming tribute to this great man when he was running an Operational Training Unit in Mildura, 1942.
 


Reg Pfeiffer on the Chaos of Retreat...
- January 1942.
 

Hauptmann Hans-Joachim Marseille
One of the top Luftwaffe aces who brought down several 3 Squadron pilots during the long desert war. 
The full illustrated story of:
Milne Bay 1942
- The RAAF's "Forgotten Finest Hour"


 


Complete 3SQN WW2 History Summary 1942-45 by Neil Smith
 

WW2 OPERATIONS: WW2 SHOT DOWN /
PRISONERS of WAR/
and EVADERS:
WW2 GENERAL /
DAILY LIFE:

History Essay: the Pivotal Battle of El Alamein
July to November 1942
 

Eric Canning in a Mass Escape
- Italy 1942.

A Medic's Memory Lane...
In 1942-43, Stuart Morris witnessed and photographed some amazing incidents.


Keith Kildey was a great 3SQN combat leader, a top shot, and he also made the "Cricketing News".  1942.
 


Reports of Joseph Holder's "Death" were wildly exaggerated! 
 - Shot down November 1942.
 


A graphic description of Living Conditions in the Desert.
 

"Blackie" and "Blondie's" War
- Ace Pilots Al Rawlinson and Jock Perrin,
1938-1942.


Bobby Gibbes Rescues Rex Bayly
- in a single-seater Kittyhawk!
21 December 1942.
 

A Knight Bold and Brave
- How Harry Knight won his BEM.
Tales from 1942 and 1944.
Tommy Jones' Daily Diary.  Weather, war news and life's interesting moments of a 3SQN Ground Crew Member  - from 1942 to 1945.
Africa and Italy.

Dave Ritchie Wanders the Desert
New Year 1943.
 

"Jack's War"
- The engrossing story of Jack Lusby, one of the 'Lost Tribe' of 3SQN replacements in Africa.
(NB. Comprising three books:  see also: Book2; Book3; and Jack's separate Short Story:
 "A Flying Fragment".
 


Peter Turnbull "Points the Bone"
- Port Moresby 1942.
 

Norm Caldwell Escapes during the German Retreat. 
Tripoli, January 1943


"The Car" - Tom Russell's story of his
1943 trip to Algiers with his mates,
once the fighting in Africa was over.
 


The Illustrated Operations Diary of Flight Sergeant
Brian M Thompson, DFM. 1941-42.


 

Fred Eggleston's Amazing Escapades
POW 1941-1943.


John Howell-Price recalls his ride to Algiers in
Tom Russell's "hot" Chevvie

"The" Me109   ... by Ken McRae. 
3 Squadron preserves a valuable
 Messerschmitt, November 1942.
 

Major Müncheberg's Two "Kills"
22 January 1943
 

Bill Shoesmith invades Sicily 1943.

Low-Level Raid on Magrun.  Alan Righetti's daredevil story of the time that he "copped some flak" in November 1942. Jack Raffen's Battlefield Grave.
Poignant pictures.  30 Dec 1943

And 'cliftied' pork was on the menu for Bill Shoesmith's
Christmas at Mileni, 1943.

Alan Righetti shoots down Günther Mielenz
30 December 1942.
3 Squadron's (Captured!)
Italian Air Force


Murray Nash's amazing connection to the
Rescue of Mussolini at Mount Sasso in September 1943


 

Tom Russell describes some of the Squadron's "black days"
at the start of 1943 -
"Battles of Attrition"


Sergeant Pilots
Danny Boardman & Keith Kildey in the Desert, 1942-43.
 


10 March 1943 - Rescuing the Free French at
 Ksar Rhilane, Tunisia
 
A bizarre POW story of bad luck and "friendly fire":
"The Four Funerals of Doc McLeod"


"Woof" Arthur, a 3 Squadron veteran who went
 on to lead the fight against the Japanese in New Guinea, 1943.
 


A Tribute to 3 Squadron's Ground Crew
 in the Desert, 1943.
 
-
By Bobby Gibbes  DSO, DFC & Bar 
 

Geoff Chinchen's "home run" to Switzerland, 1943:
"Bricked-in to Break Out"
"Blue" Glennan and the Engineering boys, keeping things together in Italy, 1944/45.

Reg Stevens, DFC and Bar.  1943 Valedictions, including a stirring Radio Broadcast
(And an explanation for his Bad Back...)
 
Ted Hankey's 13 Days to Freedom
- October 1943, Central Italy.
The Three Padres
- The remarkable trio who did so much for RAAF personnel in Africa and Italy.
No.3 Squadron and the "Plot to Kill Hitler"
by Kittyhawk Pilot Tom Russell.
"Kriegies" Wal Hogg and Ken Watts
1944-45.

 


3 Squadron in Malta - July 1943
Photo-Essay
 

The Death of Ray Faria and the Kindness of Strangers.  
Sept. 1944.

Lew Ranger's viewpoint:
"The possible effects dive-bombing
 may have on the pilot's body."

 Service History and Photos
 of Medical Sgt Lou Kemp
Africa, Sicily and Italy 1942-44.


Bob Ulrich’s Dalmatian Dogpaddles
- Shot down over Yugoslavia in 1944, Bob was twice rescued by
the same Partisan Patrol Boat.
 

Arthur Pardey -
Training to become a 3SQN Mustang Pilot


Bruce Burchfield - Into the Witches' Cauldron
over the Straits of Messina, August 1943.
 


Snowy Campbell's 1945 POW "Forced March"


 


A toast to the Reverend Bob Davies


 

"3 Squadron Invades Italy"
The boys become the first Allied Squadron to operate from the Italian Mainland.  September 1943.
 The Battle of Termoli - Frantic action in October 1943.

Bruce Burchfield's
Cutella Diary  1944.


Dam Busting! - One of 3 Squadron's most exciting
missions from Cutella, 1944.
 

David Higgins visits the site where
 his dad's Mustang was shot down in ItalyApril 1945.
 

Rev Fred McKay's Letter to Home Folks
- Summarising the end of the war in 1945.

 "Barry Finch's Trip to the Seaside"
3 Squadron adds a 3,000-tonne German Destroyer to its
list of shipping victories.  5 November 1944.

Alec Richardson, POW from 1942-45,
Breaks through the Iron Curtain, May 1945

 


And we thought training in the RAAF was tough...  
- Saburo Sakai describes pilot-training in the Japanese Navy.
 

"Boxing Day"  - 3 Squadron's P-51 Mustang action against Italian Me109Gs at Aviano in Northern Italy, 26 Dec 1944. 


 

Alan Clark's Lousy Long March
- through Yugoslavia with the Partisans in 1945!
Lavishly Illustrated.


 

An exciting RAAF air-sea warfare history:
"Fighting the U-boats"  1940-45

Bluey Beales
"Italian Finale" - 1945

Lew Ranger pays tribute to his pal:
 "Jungle Jim" Edmonds 
- 3 Squadron's last combat fatality, April 1945.
 
Memoirs of RAAF Nurse Joan Loutit:
Casualty Air-Evacuation in WW2.
WW2 OPERATIONS: WW2 SHOT DOWN /
PRISONERS of WAR/
and EVADERS:
WW2 GENERAL /
DAILY LIFE:


MODERN-DAY 3SQN ASSOCIATION ACHIEVEMENTS:

How the 3SQN Association Began (1946).

Peter Jeffrey Correcting 3 Squadron's Official WWII "Victory Tally" in Air-to-Air Combat.

Peter King Gives a Charitable UK View on the Modern Spirit of ANZAC Day.

50 years on, Bob Ulrich receives a call from 'a Fan'...

Father Bill Stevens, nephew of Squadron Leader Reg Stevens, on the Personal Meaning of ANZAC Day

Dedication of 3 Squadron Memorial Plaque in London (2009).

"Are You Dinky Di?" - A humorous look at whether our 2007 'Citizenship Test'  was worth fighting for.
 

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