3 Squadron Events
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From Janine Kinnear: Once again Morphett Arms Hotel was the venue for our luncheon with 20 in attendance and apologies from Des Cogan, who was sick, Julie and Launce Pearse. The Squadron banner in miniature in one corner and a miniature Spitfire MKII in the other, along with a vanilla sponge cake with an inscription: “A celebration of 3 Squadron RAAF - Past and Present. April 2013.”
Jim Degenhardt was accompanied by his nephew Robert Billing, who was our photographer for the day. Josh Boulderstone, Janine Kinnear’s grandson, recited ‘The Ode’. Thankyou once again Josh.
Jim Degenhardt cutting the cake
Jim Hall writes: Another successful ANZAC Day March, despite a very late start to the March and a less than normal video quality from the ABC TV coverage. Both items will be addressed by the Associations and the Brisbane ANZAC Day Committee, I expect.
Our numbers were down this year, but they were bolstered by eight blokes from 3 Squadron Williamtown. Suggested by the CO, WGCDR Tim (Slops) Alsop, to foster relations between the Squadron and our Association, the volunteer group came up by road to support us on the big day. They were a great bunch and marched with us after having gone to the Dawn Service.
Led by FLTLT Josh Ryan, they also attended The Port Office Hotel for quite a lot of refreshments and listened with good humour to our war stories. Not an easy task.
As this newsletter is circulated at Williamtown, I will take this opportunity to thank the CO for thinking of us and all the blokes for coming up and joining in a special day. Apart from Josh, we had FLTLT Michael Bailes, FLTLT Michael Keightley, CPL Basil Alien, LAC Alex Meakins, LAC Brody Peate, LAC Aaron Fyfe and AC Morgyn Hodge. We all enjoyed their company tremendously and hopefully we can have it happen again.
Our group was led by an old warhorse in the guise of Ned Wark, who did a top job in spite of having to march with a dicky ankle. He wasn’t initially going to march, but he went into training a couple of weeks ago and came through with flags flying.
Top job…..thanks Ned.
Also thanks to Mike Rogers and Gary Valavous for volunteering to carry our banner. Mike even rang me up to book the position for them both. Good stuff.
New and Old Squadron Members March Together in Brisbane
Jeff Latter adds: After the mixed weather of recent months, we were blessed to awake on Anzac morning, to a perfect day of cloudless skies and not a breath of wind.
(My personal feelings clouded the start of what was a fantastic day and one that is growing stronger among Australians every year. Despite the RAAF being scheduled to step off first in the organised 1000hrs start to the parade, the initial beat of a bass-drum was not heard until after the 1030hrs mark. With no explanation ever filtering down as to why or what the delay was, troops begin to get frustrated and tired. For what is Australia’s National Day of Remembrance and the day that is fast becoming clearly the most important public holiday on our calendar, surely we can start a parade on time. Apart from the active service personnel, most of the other people marching are getting older and the lengthy delays to the start that we have experienced in recent years are taking their toll; even preventing some members from taking part in the parade.)
Having cleared my chest of all the negative thoughts, I can now say what a great pleasure it was to again march behind the 3 Squadron banner, with men of a special bond and comradeship that is inspired from serving in the Squadron.
On behalf of 3 Squadron Association QLD, I would like to thank Tim Alsop for the thought, and fabulous gesture, of sending a representation of the Squadron’s active troops up to Brisbane to join in with us for the Anzac Day March and activities. With Josh Ryan leading the troops, he ably represented Tim, and the Squadron, in both parade and pub skills. (But looked much more comfortable once the jacket was removed; we’re a bit more casual up here.)
Your effort was very much appreciated and indeed left us all with a stronger sense of belonging. With a QLD membership close to the 100 mark, we are a significant group of past and proud Squadron members who value the significance of having active servicemen marching alongside of us. Your action to ensure that the bonds remain strong and current was very meaningful and valued and can be best displayed in the letter that I received the following day:
I would like to extend my gratitude for allowing me to march with the Queensland contingent of 3sqn Association on Anzac Day. It was a wonderful experience, one that I will not soon to forget. I felt ample amounts of pride knowing that I was marching behind past airmen who's previous service and tireless efforts are responsible for the admirable history, professional attitude and respectable persona that 3 Squadron carries behind it today. It was not only great to represent the Squadron in my hometown of Brisbane but hearing first-hand stories of maintenance and some hilarious shenanigans on platforms from the Mirage all the way back to the Meteor was an aspect of the Squadron's history that I'm glad I got exposure to. Hopefully allowing current serving members to march with past members of the Squadron will become a tradition and something that will set us apart from the other squadrons.
Also hopefully, when the time has come for me to end my period of service, I can proudly march as a civilian with the Association, in an Anzac Day parade.
Kind Regards, LAC Alexander Meakins. 3 Squadron Aircraft Maintenance. Williamtown 2314.
- No. To Tim, Alex, Josh and all those who made the effort and joined us on our ‘National Day of Remembrance’, it is we who thank you.
From Felix Sainsbury: We had twelve at our 3 Squadron Table for lunch, and they certainly enjoyed the Anzac Day atmosphere that was apparent throughout the Yacht Club. We had a record crowd, an orchestra, wine tasting, 50 Yachts participating and a nice dinner to follow, with Benghazi bangers and mash! No wonder some of the Boys lingered on for a while!! It was a great day for all attending.
[Editor’s Note: Felix, who is a life member and past Commodore of the Yacht Club, presented the ‘Anzac Day Cup’ to the race winners and recited the poem ‘Anzac Day’, which brought a tear to the eyes of many. This poem has been reproduced in our "Poems" section.]
From Jock McAuley: Roger Watts (late Ken’s son) looked after our banner and had it erected at the starting point. I was able to welcome 14 serving members of 3 Squadron, Williamtown. We did appreciate their presence to build up our numbers.
I led the party and was the only WW2 veteran able to take part. We had a number of relatives of members attending to help our numbers.
It is hoped that some serving members of 3 Squadron will be able to attend future Anzac Day marches.
Jock McAuley in the back seat of his Chariot
A week before Anzac Day, we gathered at the 3SQN Memorial inside Richmond RAAF base, as has been the Association’s tradition for 55 years now. It was another glorious autumn day. Sadly we were few in numbers, due to the change to a mid-week day, but the day was great, as always. The service was once again held in the Fred McKay Chapel alongside the Memorial, with Chaplain Alan Williams presiding. As usual we were given a ‘Gold Card’ reception, with all of our needs amply fulfilled. Chairs were placed outside the Chapel in the shade, in peaceful, nostalgic silence. The RAAF Ensign was raised to the top of the flagpole for the wreath laying. At the appropriate time the Last Post was played beautifully. A wreath was placed by Neville Fountain on behalf of the Association. [Nev’s brother was 3SQN Mustang pilot Ron Fountain, who was lost in the Adriatic Sea, between Yugoslavia and Italy, in 1945.] SQNLDR Ireland very kindly attended from Williamtown and laid a wreath on behalf of the serving Squadron. Vicki Crighton closed the service with the saying of ‘The Ode’ and Reveille was sounded. Others present were: Muriel Irwin, Glen and Glenys Davis, Slim Moore, Kath Curtis, Sandra Moore, Ruth Fountain and daughter Julie and James Oglethorpe.
The Anzac Day march in Sydney went well, with Tim Alsop, CO of 3 Squadron leading the march along with Tom Russell and Slim Moore (Battle of Alamein veterans), who were both stylishly transported in wheelchairs pushed by their grandsons. They looked very comfy, whilst the amazing WW2 armourer Gus Thomson, Mustang pilot Arthur Pardey and Mosquito navigator Jeff Love marched along with 34 serving members from 3SQN Williamtown, who helped make our section of the march stand out. Also in the group were Mitch Beck (Merv Beck’s son), Earl Thomson (grandson), Simon Morrison (Curly Morrison’s son), Debbie Church (Alan Clark’s daughter) and Doug Steed. The fine, sunny Sydney weather brought out the crowds, so there was plenty of clapping and cheering as the Squadron marched by.
3 Squadron's Colours led the way. [Picture by Dom O’Donnell.]
The new venue for the Sydney Anzac Lunch, at the American Club in Macquarie St., was really excellent. We were up on the 14th floor, with a spectacular view over the Botanical Gardens, the Opera House and Sydney Harbour. The catering and service could not be faulted. The Fighter Squadrons Branch had organised a lively crowd of 180 attendees from many different Fighter Squadrons, past and present. We even had a short speech from AVM Mel Hupfeld, the Air Commander Australia.
Mel starts his speech - which turned out to be short and enjoyable! [Picture by Dom O’Donnell.]
3SQN veteran pilot Arthur Pardey recited ‘The Ode’ to the hushed throng in a most moving manner, starting with the very appropriate 3rd stanza of “For the Fallen”:
They went with songs to the battle. They were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end, against odds uncounted.
They fell with their faces to the foe.
3SQN had 50 lunch attendees in total. Kittyhawk Pilot and 3SQN Association President Tom Russell was accompanied by a big group: Pamela, Emily and Anthony Russell, Karolina Wepic, Alan Moran, Susan and Naomi Brydon and Tom’s Maltese friend Frank Gauchi. WW2 Engine Fitter Slim Moore had another big group: Kathleen Curtis, Sandra & Peter Moore, Lucy Smiles, Phillip Moore, David & Matthew Moore and Donna Beales. WW2 Armourer Gus Thomson brought along Chris Thomson, Sandra Thomson, Keith and Wendy Wylie. Mustang pilot Arthur Pardey was accompanied by Jane Ellis, Andrew Pardey and Nev Fountain. Jeff Love and Susan McNeill provided a terrific living link to Jeff’s father Nigel Love (WW1 3AFC pilot and the founder of Mascot airport in Sydney). Secretary Vicki Morrison was accompanied by Simon Morrison, webmaster James Oglethorpe, war baby Bobbie Symons and photographer Dom O’Donnell. 3SQN’s magnificent surviving 1940 “Original” Gladiator pilot (later Air Commodore) Gordon Steege and his family were warmly welcomed, along with our good cobbers from 450SQN Association.
Incoming 'line-shoots' from all points of the compass! [Picture by Dom O’Donnell.]
Our five tables were also the happy hosts for a total of 14 serving 3SQN personnel from Williamtown: Commanding Officer WGCDR Alsop, SQNLDR Ireland, SQNLDR Hughes, FLTLT Beddall, FLTLT Borrman, FLTLT Doyle, FLTLT O'Donnell, FLTLT Wilkins, FLTLT Scorey, FLGLT Cox, FLTLT Ross, SQNLDR Rowe, WOFF Dufour, FLGOFF Buckett and FLTLT Nerita Lewis.
We also greeted the the many 3SQN Alumni who have risen up through the RAAF organisation, including GPCAPT Joe Iervasi and AVM Neil Smith.
WW2 Armourer Gus Thomson and his family enjoy the beautiful view from the American Club over Sydney Harbour. [Picture by Dom O’Donnell.]
3 Squadron Events
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