3 Squadron LIFETIMES

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Ronald Walter "Charlie" CADDY

23/03/1920 - 24/01/2008


A 3 Squadron wireless operator on a field exercise prior to the outbreak of WW2.

By Jim Goodlet, who spoke at Ron's funeral:

Ron passed away unexpectedly at home in Yarra Glen. I have lost a great mate. We have been friends for 68 years and I don't think there was ever a cross word between us.

We first met in January 1940 when we were on Course 19 of the RAAF Wireless Operators. As you can imagine, with a large group of 18- and 19-year-olds there were lots of hilarity and high jinx going on. Bob Glassborow who is here with us today, says that at 26, he felt like a 'father' figure.  (Perhaps he changed his mind when I knocked him down during a sparring match!)

Ron was always known as "Charlie" Caddy. Perhaps we thought it rhymed better, but it has always lasted.

Four months into the course there was a big parade at lunchtime and a long list of names was read out. We all thought we were being kicked off the course for playing up and not giving it our full attention!  However were very surprised to learn that we'd been selected to go to the Middle East.

So, after medical exams and home leave, we joined 3 Squadron RAAF, which was being sent as an army co-operation squadron for the 6th Australian Division, which was already training in Palestine.

We sailed from Sydney in July 1940 on the Orontes as tourist class passengers. Ron didn't enjoy the trip.  - He started to feel seasick as he walked up the gangplank, and this malady stayed with him.

We didn't like it one bit when in Bombay we were transferred to the Dilwarra, a troop transport.  It was very hot under these conditions going up the Red Sea.  About 20 of us caught the mumps and were isolated in the sick bay, which was a bit more comfortable. We were transferred to a hospital near Cairo, and, when discharged, caught up with the squadron at Helwan.

But then came the "big split up". There were approximately 100 wireless operators and wireless mechanics, so we had a big surplus when the squadron was made a fighter squadron. Fifteen operators went to 108 RAF Squadron and were soon in the thick of things, when the British Army with the 6th Australian Division at the spearhead pushed the Italians out of Egypt and well into Cyrenica. Another 15 of us went to 6 Squadron RAF in Palestine. We copped a bit of a razzing when we came to relieve them in February 1941. I was the only one of our small clan to go to 6 Squadron. We parted again, but met up when we were sent to form 450 Squadron. Our C.O. was Gordon Steege, one of our pilots from 3 Squadron.

After two years we were sent home, but Ron, Eric Baker, Norm Heathcote and Dave Watt did not leave till months later, and were given a clasp to go with the Africa Star as they were there for the battle of El Alamein.

We did not see any of our friends during the Pacific war, but met up as friends at 3 Squadron reunions.

Ron couldn't be my best man because he was with the Occupation Forces in Japan. We met up when he returned to Australia and he stayed in the permanent Air Force.

He decided to buy a house I was building in Balwyn, and he worked with me to finish it off. Ron left the Air Force and in 1960 bought a farm at Dixon's Creek near Yarra Glen.

Our children spent half their childhood at Dixon's Creek and loved their "Uncle Ron and Aunty Iris". Our son Andrew's first day out of hospital was a visit to Dixon's Creek. Peter and Andrew later became junior members of the local tennis team. There was always something exciting to do - horse riding, cricket, tennis, help with the cows, blackberrying and swimming in the dam.

I helped Ron with several repairs and alterations to the farmhouse, and then when he retired he built their dream home in Yarra Glen. The four of us have supported one another through life's `ups and downs'.

God Bless You `Charlie', until we meet again."

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