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If you can supply further information on any of the topics below, or would like to send a message to any of our correspondents,
*contact us  at the 3 Squadron Website.

Contacts from 2020/2019

The April 2020 “National Lockdown” drove an incredible surge of Internet Traffic to our 3SQN website. 

[In fact it has led to a few service problems on odd days.  - Apologies if you have been affected, but everything is back on the straightand-level now!] 
ANZAC Day 2020
usage of our website was more than DOUBLE any previous record.  A stand-out in popularity was the moving Prisoner of War poem
"Mates".  (Neil SMITH tells us that it was mentioned on the Alan Jones breakfast radio show.)   Many other readers accessed a wide range of topics, including our Veteran Interviews.  
- Judging by the demand patterns, some of these excellent reminiscences may have been chosen by teachers as texts for “remote-schooling” their pupils!

Clive WAWN, who is the son of WW2 Kittyhawk ace “Bardie” WAWN, DFC, has been in touch.  [Our website describes Bardie as, ”slim, dark, and handsome."   - “Which,” says Clive, “has been a hard act to follow!”] 
Clive is wondering if anyone has a digital copy of  Peter JEFFREY's logbook.  [1941 3SQN C.O.]   Clive says: “Peter JEFFREY and Pete TURNBULL both flew with my dad in June 1942, at 2OTU Mildura.   Pete Turnbull and Bardie then went to Milne Bay with 76 SQN RAAF.  Dad later went back to 2OTU as an Instructor.  Anthony KOCH of the 2OTU Heritage Centre (twootuheritage@bigpond.com) is seeking Peter Jeffrey's logbook, to acknowledge his time there.  
I took it on myself to approach you and hope that you will be able to help out.   I'd love to get a copy as well, please.”


2OTU Mildura, VIC.  16 June 1942.  Five RAAF pilots who won the DFC.
 [L to R:] SQNLDR Keith "Bluey" TRUSCOTT;  three ex-3SQN officers: SQNLDR Peter JEFFREY, 

FLTLT Alan RAWLINSON and SQNLDR Frank FISCHER;  and FLTLT C. W. “Bardie” WAWN[AWM P00456.001]


Unfortunately, although 3SQN Assn does hold a few scans of logbooks, Pete Jeffrey’s log is not amongst them.  (If any reader can help, please let us know.)   Clive displays six logbooks from his collection on this link, including the famous “Bluey” TRUSCOTT and Clive’s handsome dad, “Bardie” WAWN. 

Chris CAMERON in Queensland has sent us an amusing folklore memory about an Italian General (who was flying in to surrender) being shot down by a NUDE 3SQN pilot... 
Chris recalls hearing this many years ago from one of the WW2 vets, possibly Nicky BARR.  - Although Chris’s  father “Tiny” also told similar stories occasionally…   [Warning:  This story contains nudity!] 

In the heat of the desert environment, it was pretty commonplace to get around in just a pair of shorts.  Sometimes not even that!  (If it was REALLY hot.)

Given that there was often little warning given when they had to scramble quickly, the 3SQN pilots used to spend time in the shade of an aircraft wing, sitting and playing chess.  (Actually, an abbreviated form of chess, more akin to draughts, where the aim was to knock the opponent off as quickly as possible.  – If an engine had to be started, the slipstream would knock table, chairs and board flying…)

3SQN Tomahawks on a desert strip.  [AWM010242]

On this particular day, an aircraft was detected approaching the strip.  Still unsure exactly who it was, there was a mad scramble to get into the air to identify  - and intercept if necessary.  I understand only one fighter aircraft made it into the air before the “visitor” was upon them, and was identified as an Italian transport, with its wheels and flaps down, quite obviously on final approach for landing.  Not keen to waste a “sitting duck”, the Tomahawk pilot had just sufficient time to get behind and give it a good burst!  The aircraft was pretty well perforated, but managed to make it safely to ground, where it was soon established that the Main Man inside was an Italian General who was coming to surrender…  To ensure his period in captivity would be spent in a degree of comfort, the plane was loaded with all the best of crockery, glassware and silver, as well as clothes etc.; most of which had copped a good spray!!  

After realising that much had been destroyed, the General turned his attention to the fighter plane taxying in…  He began relating all the wonderful flights of endurance and record-breaking navigation that he had undertaken in peacetime; remarking that the young man who had shot him down must indeed be a Great Ace, and that it would be an honour to meet him…

The Tomahawk switched off, and out hopped the “Great Ace”, wearing ONLY a flying helmet and boots…   We can imagine the General’s reaction! 

[Editor’s Note:  Unfortunately, there’s no match for this incident in 3SQN’s “combat claims” records.  – But if any reader knows the basis of this tale, please fill us in!  

Chris writes:  “I’m pretty sure it was not my father, but have a niggling feeling it may have been Nicky as the guilty party!  Sadly, it’s not possible to ask them now…”]

Blue” FARRELL, our QLD Secretary, sends in a  True Mirage Tale from one of the groundcrew boys…. 

Whilst doing the pre-flight inspection for a “Night Radar Navigation Exercise”, Jake NEWHAM (CO3 at the time) was talking to one of the flight-line crew.  In the dark, they didn’t notice that the rubber mainwheel chocks  had been left hanging over an external fuel tank.   Jake then took off…    Drag forces made the chocks become tightly wedged between the wing and external fuel tank.  Given that it was night flying, when the Mirage returned and came to a stop, the “stuck” chocks were not obvious, since they were black rubber and the lighter-coloured rope was stuck in the crevice between the Supersonic Tank and the mounting pod.

I was refuelling the “SS” tank and noticed the chocks.  (With a fuel tanker parked directly behind the aircraft, two hoses could be used from the tanker.  One was used to refill the internal tanks and one was used to refill the external tanks – in this case 110 gallons in the supersonic tanks.)  By this time, Jake had already walked to the flight-line desk and written up a rudder trim problem!   It took considerable effort to cut the chocks loose without damaging the Mirage.  (But in the end, this was achieved.)  I do recall the “Supersonic Chocks” being displayed behind Darky CLARKE’s desk on the wall of his office.  It was one of Jake’s last 3SQN flights, before he handed over to Ted Radford.

:  Jake was quite impressed when shown this story: 
“O.M.G!  Seems the old team were not only great tradesmen but possess great memories - 52 years back!  I have no recollection whether I ‘saw’ the chocks draped over the SS tank or not. 
- Whatever, it did not register, as it was common practice when the aircraft were being towed.

Jake also points out that the flight did not actually go “supersonic”.  (But the name has stuck!)


A contact request below from Robert DEARDS (that the Association has been unable to resolve - so far!): 

“I am originally from Dungog NSW.  From 1953 until 1978, I lived next door to Christine BORTHWICK, who in around 1970 married Flying Officer Lloyd Manning SMITH.  Lloyd was stationed at Butterworth and on the night of 4 May 1972, while on a night-flying exercise, his aircraft crashed, killing him instantly.   I lost touch with Christine shortly after that and I have now been trying for some time to locate her.   She had a sister living in New Zealand, but I have had no success there.  Both Christine's parents are now deceased.  - I was hoping that you may be able to put me in contact with Christine.  Thanking you in advance.  

Our member Cecil PLUMB (WW2 Armourer) and his wife Edna featured in a lovely article about their 73-year marriage, in the Ballarat Courier in January this year.


Doug NORRIE of 450 Sqn Assn has sent in a bright and breezy photo of George BARTSCH in the North African desert, circa 1942. 

Unfortunately George lost his life after a black day in 3SQN’s history, 18 December 1942.  

Marble Arch, a newly-occupied landing-ground on the Libyan coast, was infested with German anti-personnel mines.  3SQN suffered the loss of five groundcrew killed and three others injured after an 'S'-Mine [“Bouncing Betty”] was tripped by a refuelling party.  George was badly injured.  Despite air-evacuation, he succumbed to his injuries in a Benghazi hospital on 19 December 1942.

[Photo courtesy Bob Gillett collection]

Historian Andrew ARTHY from Western Australia has recently published some startling research that reveals a previously-unknown incident on 12 October 1941, when the greatest German “Ace” of the desert war, Hans Joachim MARSEILLE, almost had his career prematurely terminated when he was shot down by Allied pilots.  (Fortunately for Marseille, he lived to tell the tale and went on to great success.) 

3SQN Kittyhawks also featured in that day’s frenetic combats. Andrew says: “Congratulations on your excellent No.3 Squadron RAAF website, which is often a useful source for my research.”

Our member Des SHEEHAN, whose father Malcolm was a 3AFC pilot in WW1, has been doing some shopping on the Internet, where a genuine WW1 flying helmet and goggles came up for sale.  These were formerly the property of Sgt Arthur EAGLES, a 3AFC ground-crew Armourer.  (Groundcrew often flew on test flights in the RE8s after conducting maintenance.)

The 100th Anniversary of the first Commercial Passenger Flight between Sydney and Melbourne – piloted by 3AFC veteran pilot Nigel LOVE - is coming up on the 14th of April 2020.  The original trip required nine flying hours - but because of difficult weather conditions, two overnight stops had to be made.  (The SYD-MEL air route is today one of the world’s busiest, with 9 million passenger journeys per year.  Flying time is one hour!)

0820am, 14/4/1920.  Nigel’s AVRO 504K departs Mascot.

Our member Andy RAWLINSON (son of WW2 CO3 Al) has discovered an old copy of “Secrets Revealed” [3SQN 75th-Birthday History] that was sent to his dad, signed by an absolute “Valhalla” of 3SQN WW2 personalities.

Tributes to Peter TURNBULL, killed in action 27 August 1942 (Milne Bay) and Johnny SAUNDERS, KIA on 22 November 1941 (Western Desert).
"19.9.91.  Al, from us at the 3 SQN 75th.  Good Cheer."
Signatures: Fred EGGLESTON
Sept-Dec '41; Merv BECK; Geoff CHINCHEN '41, '42; Brian EATON; Nicky BARR; Gordon STEEGE; Bob DAVIES Padre

We have been contacted by 73-y.o. Rick THORN, who offers the following spectacular account of one of 3SQN’s most famous ex-Commanding Officers, Bill BOSTOCK, who rose high in the RAAF in WW2:

- Bill was my grandfather, of whom I’m very proud.  My mum was Bill’s youngest daughter. 
I’m writing a history of his life for my family... 
On 5th November 1941, while Deputy Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice-Marshal Bostock visited 3 Squadron in North Africa.  The Squadron (of which Bill had been C.O. in Richmond, 1931-36) was based at Sidi Haneish at that time.  In September 1941, Bill had been ordered by the Air Board to undertake overseas Inspections of RAAF units in all theatres of war.  - In a report he wrote later, Bill said that his schedule was upset by the fact that a ONE-day-visit to Tobruk was extended to 11 days due to German air attacks keeping him bottled in!  Early in December he was enroute to the UK when recalled prematurely, due to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 

It’s sad that Bostock, who delivered outstanding performance during Australia’s critical WW2 years, 1942-45, is instead remembered mainly for the RAAF command disputes.  These were exacerbated due to the Australian Government’s relationship with General MacArthur.  Bostock’s leadership within this command was praised during and after the war by MacArthur and USAAF and Allied air commanders Generals Brett and (especially) Kenney.

I feel a little sorry for Air Marshal JONES; thrust, surprisingly it seems, into the melting pot.  He and Bill had been friends and colleagues in the past.  I really blame the Australian Government for its inability to solve the divided RAAF command issue for all those years.  Minister for Air Drakeford seems somehow to have had it in for Bostock, doing his best to sideline him, but was thwarted by a more circumspect PM Curtin and US military leadership, who would not condone a replacement for Bostock as AOC RAAF Command unless an officer of equal ability was found.  (Despite attempts to do so, none were.  Nor could a supreme RAAF leader be appointed above Bostock and Jones.)  Bostock’s treatment by the Government at war’s end had a whiff of vindictiveness, I think.

Bostock had a long and proud history of service to his country, starting back on the morning of 25th April 1915 when, as a young Light Horseman, he landed on the bullet-swept beaches on Gallipoli.  In 1916 he was present at the Battle of Romani in the Sinai Desert and in 1917 was flying Bristol Fighters over France and Belgium almost daily - returning to the aerodrome more than once with damage caused by machine gun and artillery fire.

Between the wars he proved a capable, clever and intelligent man.  He served with distinction from the very beginnings of the RAAF and by 1939 was Deputy Chief of Air Staff.  When the Japanese threatened Australia in 1942 Bostock was embedded with Allied air forces as commanding officer of RAAF, responsible for all aspects of RAAF operations around the entire Australian coast.  Meanwhile Jones was promoted to AVM and CAS.  In 1945, during the final months of the war, General Kenney actually gave AVM Bostock entire responsibility for the air operations in support of the three amphibious landings on Borneo, during which he temporarily had elements of USAAF and other Allied air forces in his command.  These operations were successful and Air Force execution of the invasion was praised by American military leadership.  Kenny specifically called for Bostock to be present with him at the signing of the Japanese surrender on board USS Missouri in September 1945. 

Bill preparing to depart for the Japanese Surrender ceremony
 in Tokyo Bay in 1945. 
[AWM 019067]

After the war Bill was elected to the Board of the Australian War Memorial for many years.  He became a grazier, and, between 1949 and 1958 served as Federal MP in the Menzies Government for the Victorian electorate of Indi. 

In 1969, more than a year after Bill’s death (his funeral was conducted at St Pauls Anglican Cathedral Melbourne, with full military honours) General George KENNEY wrote to Nanette, Bill’s wife, from New York.  Kenney’s letter brims with heartfelt friendship and respect for:

"...my old friend and companion in arms during WW2, a veteran air combat leader and field commander, respected and admired by his associates and constantly setting an example of courage, integrity, loyalty and devotion in the service of his country...  I decided (1942) to reorganise my command and get some combat leadership up forward where the war was.  That was where it had been lacking and those fine Australian and American lads in Northern Australia and New Guinea needed and deserved that leadership...  I didn’t have to look far for that leadership. Air Vice-Marshal Bostock took over command of the combat units of the Royal Australian Air Force...  I am truly proud to have called him my friend and colleague; that loyal capable officer and gentleman, William Bostock...”

Among several local and international awards and honours (for his long service in war and peace) the US Government, by order of the President, awarded AVM Bostock their Medal of Freedom with Silver Palm.

For meritorious service which has aided the United States in the prosecution of the war against Japan in the South West Pacific Area from 7 December 1941 to 6 November 1944...”

  [AWM 012249]

Our Canberra correspondent Gordon BENNETT spotted the classic image below, showing the Heraldry on one of 3SQN’s “Classic” F18s.  - From those happy days of yore when a bit of colour didn’t ruin the aircraft’s radar signature!  

[For more MitchPix RAAF photos see Facebook.]

[Every marking on the new F-35s - even the tiny Australian flag - is rendered only in black, white, or shades of grey.]

John LOVE sends a picture (below) of his acceptance speech at the induction ceremony for his father Nigel LOVE into the “Australian Aviation Hall of Fame” at a testimonial dinner in Canberra.

The dinner was held in the ANZAC Hall of the Australian War Memorial.  John says the location gave the evening a really special atmosphere.  The top brass of RAAF were also in attendance to receive their own award.  The night ended with Peter Jackson's WW1 video "Over the Front".

The War Memorial contains an incredible array of art, including the hand-crafted decoration of the building itself.  John recommends an outstanding 25-minute documentary on the AWM’s Hall of Memory, narrated by Brendan NELSON.  (Who retired from his much-revered position of Director of the AWM at the end of 2019.)

Blue” FARRELL, QLD Secretary, sends: 
In early February I went to Melbourne to present the Book “THE LIZARDS THAT FLEW”, and some 3SQN Memorabilia, to the RAAF Museum at Point Cook, in the company of Ted RADFORD and Lizard Bruce LOVETT, on behalf of the Association.

John LANE in Melbourne (son of 3SQN Mustang pilot “Dusty” LANE, who operated in Northern Italy 75 years ago) has sent in the following historic photo:   

I remember you mentioned FLTLT "Jungle" Jim EDMONDS, who perished during a dive-bombing operation on the 14th of April 1945.  
Dusty was on that sortie and mentions Jim “going in” at the bottom of his dive.  This photo of “Jungle Jim’s” initial resting place, taken by Dusty, may be of interest to others.

Also, I was contacted by Tim ALSOP recently, thanking me for the note I sent after Dusty’s funeral in early August 2016.  The letter and copies of Dusty’s flight log relating to 3SQN only took 3½ years to find Tim!

- We did have a laugh about the Air-Force mail system!

Richard LAMB graduated from the Royal Military College Duntroon (Canberra) in 1966 and is currently doing historical research into the early graduates of the College.  He has flagged the somewhat bizarre coincidence of two Duntroon Cadets graduating together in 1920, both later being killed in separate RAAF crashes in the 1920s.
- Both flying 3 Squadron aircraft and both in Canberra! 

In 1926, Flying Officer “Peter” PITT was the pilot in the ACT’s first fatal air-crash (a 3SQN DH9).  One year later, Flying Officer Francis EWEN died in a shocking and unexpected 3SQN SE5a crash, during the opening of Parliament House in 1927.  (In front of many dignitaries, including the Prime Minister, Dame Nellie Melba and the future King George VI and his wife.)

Richard has been instrumental in getting old RMC Journals digitised [http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-734748369] and was able to direct us to a photo of Ewen (left) and Pitt (right) together in the RMC 1920 Rugby First XVRichard also found RMC obituaries that have helped us to expand our biographies of these two men.

We must also thank Richard for personally hiking through the Queanbeyan winter to take a photograph the unmarked plot of Pitt’s grave

The Association is lobbying for the installation of an appropriate gravestone for Pitt by 2026 (before the 100th Anniversary of his crash).  - However, that is not the only Memorial that needs to be corrected relating to these crashes. The bronze plaque on the grave of Air Mechanic William CALLANDER, Pitt’s Photographic Observer, (placed with the best of intentions by the St Johns Churchyard Trust in central Canberra in 2004, using a Federal grant) has numerous typos!  Also the National Library has erroneously-captioned their “Mildenhall Archive” photographs of both the 1926 and 1927 3SQN crashes, confusing dates and locations.  Last but not least, a large architectural memorial erected in the 1980s on the exterior façade of Canberra’s Dickson Library (~150m from Pitt’s crash site) makes errors in both the name of Canberra Aerodrome and the date of the crash!

Chris CAMERON from rural Queensland (son of WW2 3SQN ace “Tiny”) spotted a very familiar name in our June 3SQN Newsletter edition.  It prompted this great story:

“Thank you for another neat Newsletter!!  Always enjoy getting these and reading through what you have managed to uncover since the last one!! 

This time you had mention of another old friend and connection, Laurie Le Guay, the photographer.  I originally got to know him as one of the Trustees of the National Photographic Index of Australian Birds, based at the Sydney Museum, back in the late 60’s - early 70’s at a time when my bird photography was getting good enough that I was getting work accepted into the Index.  This Collection became the basis for the quite large “Readers’ Digest” publication, where almost every Australian bird was reproduced by photograph, something never done previously.

In 1974, as the publication date was approaching, it was realised that there was one significant group missing, about 25 odd species that come down from New Guinea into the very Northern part of Cape York…
Apparently no-one had ever been up there seriously, with a camera…
An expedition was organised, funded by Westpac, and half a dozen people were sent up for about six weeks to try to get as many as possible of them.  

As a fairly capable country person with reasonable survival skills, and very reasonable photography ability, I was fortunate to be offered a place.  Laurie, as another capable photographer, and a Trustee of the Index, was also along, the first time we had actually met and worked together!

Laurie with a Black Butcherbird “in hand”.

Laurie (being Laurie!) had along an ‘Assistant’… - A tall, willowy, very attractive blonde American, whose daddy also happened to be the Boss of Pan Am… She could fly anywhere, at any time, without question, or worrying about paying for it, apparently…
It was interesting working with her in the quite remote region where we were camped out, in the rainforest at Iron Range, where it rained almost every day!!  Lisa HALABY was her name.  

Laurie and Lisa.

As an aside, the Expedition was hugely successful!  
Of the birds needed, we succeeded in getting 18, if I remember correctly.  Missed a few that were still out on migration and had not returned while we were there in the late Dry Season….

I have about half a dozen pictures in the two Editions of the big bird book…. Great fun!

Not too long after that, Lisa’s wedding photos turned up in the ‘Women’s Weekly’!  An occasion of some note, as she had married King Hussein of Jordan, becoming Queen Noor el Hussein (‘Light of Hussein’ I believe it loosely translates to).  

Lisa shows how to handle the King’s sword!

The King passed away some time ago, but I believe Lisa is still alive, and was a huge success in that rather difficult land!!

While there, Laurie and I did have a number of discussions about doings with 3SQN in the Western Desert, where he obviously knew my father well!!

Laurie was a great Fashion Photographer and at that time my Commercial Photography career was just getting going, so he became another of my ‘mentors’ for quite a period… Until his untimely death in fact.”

Editor’s Note:  Laurie was definitely a "stand-out" person, in all aspects of life.  His WW2 3SQN Photography is most admirable; with a huge portfolio, beautifully shot, even in mundane settings.  
- Although sometimes his note-taking was a little skewed... [Or possibly "stewed" - as his captions may often have been composed over a few too many sherbets in the 3SQN Pilots' Mess!

- Another interesting Laurie adventure in 1952, this time to the Antarctic, is depicted here.

Congrats also to Chris on his photographic achievements.

Dr James RICHARDS, currently resident in Poland, has sent us some fascinating photos: 
“During WW1, my great grandfather, John Thomas RICHARDS (1870-1947), was a gamekeeper resident at South Carlton, Lincolnshire, [home of 3AFC in 1917, during their British training phase] with his second wife Florence and four kids from his first marriage.  They lived in a cottage at the end of a row which is to this day called “The Pheasantry”, because one of his tasks was to raise pheasants there.  Anyway, I visited South Carlton this summer, and was able to identify their place readily, and of course photographed how it looks today.  (”Pretty similar”!!)

“The Pheasantry”, South Carlton.

When those kids I mentioned were growing old, I heard lots from them about the Australians stationed there.  I know that Tom and Flo had been good to the latter (as of course they would be, given the circumstances); and I believe postcards were sent back when your lads transferred to France.  I also have some photos of some of them in uniform...

This photo is likely to be
Warrant Officer ‘Vin’ SMITH

I naturally read the WW1 part of your website with great interest.  As you will know, South Carlton is a very small and quite picturesque village, but in a sense the location is also dramatic, as it is tucked at the bottom of what we call the Lincoln Edge. At the top there is flat/gently sloping land, elevated above the surroundings to the east by maybe 200 feet, so presumably when your boys got airborne, that was an advantage.

The other photo I enclose here is of an inscribed teapot the Aussies gave my great grandad and his wife when they moved on.

Presentation teapot, engraved:
Mr and Mrs Richards, from 69th Squadron AFC.” 
By not using the British-style “No.69” the AFC boys were differentiating themselves from the British RFC!]

It was a thoughtful gift, and was long given pride of place… 
Please have no doubt that we Brits DO NOT forget, and – leaving all banter and teasing aside – honour and love and are grateful to our Australian cousins for being with us back then (same for 1939-45, obviously).  From the stories I used to hear, I know my family back then felt absolutely the same way.

This postcard from the Richards collection, printed before WW1 in Ballarat, shows
Thomas Darrell KAY (1886-1963) – a 3AFC Sergeant who became a famous aviator. 
An account of his amazing adventures in the 1919 England to Australia Air Race is in:


Joe BARTOP, from the RAF Scampton Church in the UK, wrote to tell us that they are fundraising for a RAF Memorial stained glass window
3SQN Association has made a donation in memory of Thomas BARTLE, one of the earliest 3AFC casualties, who died in a training accident at Scampton Aerodrome in 1917.

Our member David BOYD has very kindly added captions to some of the photographs of his dad John on our Jock McAULEY interview page (3SQN WW2 Mustang Pilots).

An interesting WW1 photo album has been digitised on the National Library of Australia’s website:
John JOSHUA collection of World War 1 aviation photographs
It contains 61 images, collected by a photography-minded Air Mechanic of 3AFC.  Click ‘Browse Collection’ to view thumbnails, then zoom in for terrific detail.  
[Recommended by the Australian Society of WW1 Aero Historians.]

John JOSHUA’s photo of 3AFC ground staff lining up for food at Bertangles aerodrome, France, 1918

The team at ADF Serials has posted a good online article about the RAAF’s “Kangaroo” roundels.  These appeared on the fuselages of RAAF aircraft from 1956 - but the kangaroos did not hop onto the wings until 1965! 

This confirms a memory that Jim HALL had, of both new and old styles being in use in the 1960s.  “A great article that finally clears up a lot of arguments,” says Jim.

In 1994, the fate of the LAST aircraft downed by 3SQN (25 years ago) was described in the Canberra Times:

Air Force fighter pilots from Australia and Malaysia both made an error of judgment which led to a mid-air collision between their two aircraft in Malaysia, according to a RAAF Board of Inquiry.  At 10.41am on October 13, 1994, an F/A-18 Hornet from the RAAF's 3 Squadron [A21-53] and a Royal Malaysian Air Force F5E from No.12 Squadron collided during a training exercise over the sea, south-west of Butterworth air base, near Penang.  The Board's report said both pilots took avoiding action, but the RMAF aircraft sustained major damage and its pilot ejected.  [Unharmed: Lt. M. B. MOHAMAD, rescued by helicopter 1½ hours later.]  The Australian pilot managed to nurse his damaged Hornet back to Butterworth.  [FLTLT Andrew GILLESPIE.  - We’re unsure if he was awarded a “kill” for this mission!]

The Board of Inquiry concluded that the accident followed an error of judgment on the part of both pilots, who failed to take action early enough to avoid the collision.  It found that neither pilot had acted in a negligent manner.  "Due to the dynamic circumstances of aerial combat training, particularly the disparity between the FA-18's attitude and its flightpath as the aircraft descended from a nose-high reversing manoeuvre, time for assessment and resolution of the impending collision was minimal," the Board said.  It determined that the pilots were qualified and that the mission was well-briefed and conducted in accordance with relevant orders and instructions.  It also found that all manoeuvres flown by both pilots before impact had been professional and competent.

A21-53 with 3SQN markings, flying “nose high”…
[Illustration from ADF Serials.]

Grant DAWKINS (son of 3SQN WW2 Kittyhawk Pilot Arthur DAWKINS) sent in his dad's 1944 photos of the destroyed Monte Cassino Monastery.  [Which had been bombed by many Allied air units, including 3SQN RAAF.]

“I pulled out his photo album and found the pictures below.  Arthur had finished his operational tour of duty with 3SQN on 4th May 1944 at Cutella LG, after having led the Squadron on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of May 1944.  He decided not to sign-up for another operational tour, but instead joined Comm Flight, where he mainly flew Fairchilds and Austers throughout Italy, until October 1944.  

It was while he was with Comm Flight that he was able to take these fascinating photos.  The photos were taken on June 4th 1944.  

The entry in his log book says…’Took snaps of Monte Cassino (the Abbey) & Cassino’.  He was flying between Trigno, San Vito, San Angelo, Castro Cielo and back to Trigno.  He flew a total of four sorties on that day. 

Hope you find them interesting.”

The moonscape of the bombed Monte Cassino Abbey in 1944.  (Rebuilt now and World Heritage listed.)


Adrian HELLWIG,  Newsletter Editor of  the  Australian  Society  of  WW1 Aero Historians,  has sent  in an interesting  item about  the Australian Joint Copying Project:

“Access to UK records is often difficult, and usually expensive, but some relief may be at hand.  The National Library of Australia is digitising 10,419 microfilm reels photographed during the Australian Joint Copying Project.  This ran from 1948 to 1997 and copied historical material in British archives that related to Australia, NZ and the Pacific.  All the microfilm will be digitised and searchable by June 2020, but a trawl of the Air Ministry records already digitised may bring rewards.”

For instance, an important figure in 3AFC history tells his own story: War experiences of SQNLDR W.H. ANDERSON, 3rd Squadron AFC, and description of air search for schooner lost between Hobart and Newcastle in 1920.”  
- His 2nd topic recalls a historic episode when Anderson made the first North-to-South crossing of Bass Strait by air - sadly involving the loss of an accompanying aircraft carrying Billy STUTT and Abner DALZELL (ex-3AFC).

A rare newspaper photo of Anderson’s Bass-Strait-conquering DH-9A aircraft (F2779), in Tasmania.
During his extensive air-search for Stutt and Dalzell, Anderson also set an Australian flight-endurance record of 6 hours and 16 minutes. 
[Inset: Portrait of Anderson.]

Our regular Canberra correspondent Gordon BENNETT recommends the following web-page - a history of “warlike” operations at Butterworth, compiled by a former 2SQN Instrument Fitter Hugh CROWTHER.  This piece is particularly well illustrated and, while rather opinionated, makes interesting reading!


John NASH, who is a researcher at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, is working on the Official History of Australian Operations in Iraq & Afghanistan.  John tells us that they are very interested in the Operation Slipper history by Darryl LUCK displayed on the 3SQN Assn website;  in particular the photos.  

– We were able to give John a contact for Darryl and hopefully his work will now be getting a wider audience courtesy of the Official History.

Our member John LOVE will be attending a dinner in Canberra later this year, where his dad Nigel will be posthumously named in the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame

Nigel had a lot of contact with Ross and Keith SMITH when they flew their record-breaking Vickers Vimy aircraft to Nigel’s Mascot Aerodrome.  It’s now most gratifying to see that the Mechanics on that first successful flight from England to Australia, BENNETT and SHIERS, will also be among the new Hall of Fame inductees.

The Smiths, Bennett and Shiers with their Vimy bomber.

These skilled engineers (both ex-Australian Flying Corps) flew all the way with the Vimy.  They performed an absolutely essential role in the safe arrival of their expedition.  - It’s a great pity that they did not receive as much publicity or credit as their two pilots.  

Mechanics made great sacrifices in the cause of aviation pioneering.  - The Hall of Fame brief doesn't mention the poignant fact that Bennett was killed, along with Ross Smith, in their Vickers Viking flight-testing incident in England in 1922. 

[By bizarre coincidence, the Vickers Viking was the same rare aircraft-type that had earlier killed the famous Atlantic first-flight pioneer Sir John ALCOCK.]

Ross SMITH (left) and James BENNETT (right) with the designer of
their Vickers Viking amphibian biplane (centre).

Mike SWAN, a former 3SQN Armourer, has sent in a very atmospheric picture of 3 Squadron’s involvement in Exercise Kangaroo ’89 in Northern Australia.

Compared to the Government’s propaganda poster…

The reality on the ground was a little more prosaic…

- Aren’t 3SQN’s groundcrew a fine body of men! 

Mike says, “That’s me with the green hat and hands in pockets…”

Sandi NIPPERESS, Secretary of 450 SQN Association, has done a great job restoring an image of a 3SQN WW2 member, Henry Gibson DELAHUNT

was an Aircraft Hand with 3SQN, between May '41 and May '42
(Syria / Egypt / Libya).  Later he was promoted to Flight Mechanic, on
3SQN recommendation, before he returned to Australia.


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