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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

Author Mike NAPIER from the UK (who is writing a book on the Korean War) was overjoyed when we directed him to a source of hi-res public-domain photos of Korean-era RAAF Mustangs and Meteors in State Library Victoria

Mike says:  “What a great call!  There’s some fantastic stuff on that website, so I’ve been able to collect a bunch of photos that are just what I need.  Thanks ever so much for taking the trouble to get back to me and tell me about that site.”


We’ve just passed the 75-year anniversary of the joyful 1945 Repatriation Voyages that brought 3SQN’s WW2 personnel back to Australia. 

Whilst every returnee had a heartfelt homecoming, possibly the most intense feelings were felt by the freed Prisoners of War.
One example is the shot-down 1942 3SQN Kittyhawk pilot Tom WOOD, whose war reminiscences are on our website.  Tom had been held in several camps in Italy and Germany and, after liberation, came back on HMTS Andes.  The ship sailed at the end of June 1945 from Liverpool, across the Atlantic Ocean, through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific to New Zealand, and thence to Sydney.  The AWM has several pictures of the Andes arriving at Sydney, as one of the official "port arrival" photographers from the time donated a nice set

An AWM study of HMTS Andes; the large modern liner aptly symbolising
“hope” and a new beginning, after the perils of war.

The AWM’s Curator of Photographs, Joanne SMEDLEY, has done us a wonderful service by releasing a unique “action photo” for our website article on the RAAF Fighting the U-Boats

This surreal image (from June 1944) shows a German submarine being sunk under the light of parachute-flares dropped from a R.A.F. 201 SQN Sunderland flying boat, over the Bay of Biscay.  (A night-attack method also used successfully by the RAAF Sunderland squadrons.) 
The doomed U-955 can be seen churning through the water (lower left) while depth charges explode around it.  The pilot of the Sunderland, Bav” BAVEYSTOCK, was one of those larger-than-life characters, ending the war with a DSO and DFC and Bar.  He sank two U-Boats and also located a German “blockade runner”.  Additionally, “Bav” was awarded a DFM for evading capture in Europe, after being shot down in the famous “1,000 Bomber Raid” on Cologne in 1942, and escaping to Spain.

Editions of Air Force News are currently being digitised and progressively added to the National Library TROVE newspaper database, making available a wealth of RAAF historical detail for researchers. 
[Click to search: 3SQN articles in Air Force News
Or to find any other desired topic, simply type alternate keywords into their “Search” box.]

John LOVE has noted the welcome news that the Anzac Memorial in Sydney’s Hyde Park has won the  2020 International Architecture Award for “Landscape Architecture”, relating to its impressive major display-space expansion and installation of a memorial cascade for the Centenary of Anzac.

Air Force Association NSW have added some new Podcast Interviews to their website. 
Two that will be of particular interest to 3SQN listeners are:

1)  WGCDR Darren CLARE
- A great interview about flying the F-35, made just after Darren stood-down from leading 3SQN, with some fascinating additional details on Darren’s career and his war experiences in Iraq/Syria.  This interview was rather hilariously interrupted by the roar of F-35s taking off, leading to some comments about the aircraft’s record-breaking engine-power - and its lack of “stealth” in the audible range!

 - 3 Squadron Sabre pilot, and one of those RAAFies who have “flown everything”, Jim was in Jake NEWHAM’s formation when they dodged disaster in 1958, using a borrowed map, during 3SQN’s long-range “Sabre Ferry” from Australia to Butterworth. 
Jim also has interesting memories of the Malayan Emergency and the Indonesian Confrontation.

Alby ANDERSON, our photo-collecting Kiwi friend who is currently bunkered-down in “deepest darkest Somerset, UK“, has very kindly sent in a caption identifying 3SQN Tomahawk pilots “scrambling” for take-off in the Libyan desert.  Alby has purchased an original print of this photo: “Taken by official photographer George SILK, 23rd December 1941.

Wilf ARTHUR [far left]; SQNLDR Peter JEFFREY [foreground];
Bobby GIBBES [obscured behind Pete, in cricket jersey, bent over with one hand on ground];
[back to camera];
Wally JEWELL [also in cricket jersey, back to camera]; 
Unidentified groundcrew figure [far right with back to camera]. 
[AWM 010923]

War isn’t always hell…  The AWM holds a nice set of pictures of 450 Squadron personnel enjoying some skiing in Italy!  Sandi NIPPERESS, the Secretary of 450 SQN Assn says, “Thank you very much for this fantastic find.” 

Sant'Angelo in Vado, Italy. c. 1944.  15739 Leading Aircraftman A. H. Walterof the Desert Harassers,
No.450 (Kittyhawk) Squadron RAAF, finds skiing is not quite the easy thing it looks, as he has a trial run over the
"track" at Sant'Angelo in Vado, where this squadron has its winter rest camp.
  [AWM MEA2199]

Our member Des SHEEHAN (whose dad Malcolm flew with 3AFC in WW1) conveys the exciting news that the Australian Society of WW1 Aviation Historians are digitising (and correcting, where appropriate) the very rare history book “The Battle Below” by Henry WRIGLEY.  [Henry was a highly distinguished airman and flight-pioneering record-holder, who served in 3AFC and then had a strong bond with 3 Squadron and the Association over the next seven decades!]
This book is 3AFC’s World War One “Unit History” and it will be a real treat to see it back in circulation.  We will let you know the details once the revised edition is available.

The frontispiece of The Battle Below.

Bruce NASH has sent in a nice pic of his dad Murray, who wrote a tongue-in-cheek comment on the back of the print…
“…Keen, eager, first in the Ops Truck as usual,
waiting to be taken to the airstrip.”

The lovely lighting in this photo and the well-arranged pose make it likely to be the work of Laurie Le GUAY.  The background olive trees suggest either Agnone in Sicily or Grottaglie airbase in the “heel” of Italy.

Bruce has also been able to assist with the identification of 3SQN Mustangs in a spectacular Imperial War Museum photo of the Campoformido “Victory” flypast on 28th May 1945. 

Veteran 3SQN Mustang pilot Arthur PARDEY has a funny story about practicing for this very formation...
  – He forgot to switch his oxygen on!  - Arthur recalls seeing Flight Lieutenant “Pee Wee” RICHARDS looking back at him with "eyes as big as dinner plates" as Arthur snuggled up, nice and close, in a drunken manner!
Most of the old Campoformido airfield, near the northern Italian city of Udine, survives to this day as a military depot.  It also retains a small grass field for general aviation and a skydiving school.

We have been pleased to supply Warrant Officer Dave COLES (the Knowledge Manager of 92 Wing at RAAF Edinburgh) with some useful aircraft photos from the Jim KINNEAR photo collection.  (Jim was one of 3SQN’s invaluable cooks, working his way right across the top of Africa, and also an excellent photographer.)

3SQN captured the first Messerschmitt 109 “G” model to be tested by the Allies. 
- It has survived and is now in the Imperial War Museum.

This captured German Storch was the personal transport of Air Vice Marshal CONINGHAM,
head of the Desert Air Force. 

- It was flown by Coningham himself, often landing right beside the 3SQN Pilots’ Mess. 
(i.e. No need for a runway!) 
Coningham was born in Australia, raised in New Zealand, and had been a WW1 RFC/RAF ace. 
He had a very distinguished WW2 career and was knighted. 
[Bizarrely, he was killed soon after the war in a civil aviation accident in the Bermuda Triangle!]

Desert Chef and gifted photographer Jim KINNEAR at the wheel of a 3SQN catering lorry.

The Sydney historian Paul BYRNES, who wrote the recently-published book "The Lost Boys" (about under-age Anzacs in World War I) is now writing another book about under-age volunteers in World War II.

We wrote to inform Paul of one obvious candidate from the 3SQN website, the amazing Val St LEON, who passed his RAAF trade entry examinations when he had just turned 17 and enlisted in the Permanent Air Force before he had turned 18 (the legal-minimum age).

We also pointed out the “research power” of the "Australians at War” Film Archive database:
• Which gives 25 immediate hits on individual veteran interviews for the phrase "under 18"
• 72 hits for "only 17"
• 63 hits for "only 16"

[Obviously some of these interviews may not be referring to volunteers’ age at sign-up, but the huge AAWFA database of video scripts is certainly a productive resource for answering many questions regarding the experiences of Australian veterans.  There are also some possibilities in the Australian War Memorial, but their Collection Search Engine is not as specific as AAWFA.]

Paul replied:  “Thanks so much for this - very interesting. I had hardly finished reading when I heard from Mark St LEON - whom I knew about 30 years ago when I ran the Sydney Film Festival and he was a Board Member. 
So we are now back in touch, thanks to you, and talking about his father’s archive.  Luckily for me, Mark is also an historian, especially on his own family, so there’s lots to go through."

The AWM has been progressively digitising their Film Collection, and one of the gems recently made available is a professionally-edited 5-minute “newsreel” called Anzacs at Senio River.  It provides good explanation of the “Cab Rank” co-ordination that occurred between the NZ Division and 3SQN Mustangs, including some genuine “in-combat” footage.  (Although some is NOT actually 3SQN - see further analysis below.)

A still from the film showing 3SQN Mustang III "CV-V" KH631 at Cervia airstrip.
There is a reference in the 3SQN Operations Record Book (Page 625, 8th March 1945) to the formation-flying conducted to assist in making this film.  The "mission" narrative was spliced together after that!  At 3:08, Wing Commander Brian EATON's silver Mustang IV can be seen (marked "BAE", with his big "Eagle Shield" painted on the side).  There are also 3SQN "CV" Mustangs in the same formation.  The camera-plane can be seen in the shot at 3:25 - a Baltimore bomber, with its distinctive air scoop over the engine.

However, this timing is a problem - the proper date for 3SQN to have been bombing over the Senio River is one month later, from 9 April 1945.  (ORB p666. - They mention switching to, "Close support in conjunction with the 8th Army.")  There is a photo in the NZ Archives dated 2nd March 1945 of the same airstrikes shown in the film, so it's definitely not 3SQN doing the actual combat bombing in the film, although they are Mustangs. 
[Oh well, so much for accurate propaganda!]

Another newly-released AWM item of note is a memorial photo album of a 3AFC pilot, George PICKERING, who was one of the eight 3AFC personnel who died in the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.  (Quite poignant, given our current circumstances!)  George’s funeral preparations were elaborate and heartfelt. 

- George had himself been one of the Red Baron’s pallbearers, in the 3AFC funeral for that famous German ace, eight months earlier.

Guy BUCKLER has written-up his father Ernest’s experiences in the North African Desert - and various Axis prison camps during WW2.  3SQN pilot Geoff CHINCHEN is mentioned several times in Earnest’s reminiscences and in letters that he wrote home.  Earnest met Geoff in Fort Bismarck (a POW Camp in German Alsace near Strasbourg – now French territory) and assisted Geoff in his daring escape
We were able to help Guy with several details of Geoff Chinchen’s movements from Switzerland to England after his escape, which helped Guy confirm various bits of family oral history, that Geoff had visited Earnest’s family in England before the end of the war.

Guy has also kindly sent us a photo of a rare piece of Prisoner-of-War mail, addressed to Geoff Chinchen himself (and left in the Camp when Geoff escaped!) featuring a WW2 Australian stamp and censors’ markings.  – It is displayed on our website Mementos page.

Radschool “Virtual Library
Those busy bees at the RAAF Radschool Association have lined-up a great virtual bookshelf, with 48 titles available for free download - covering many aspects of the RAAF story, across several eras.  - Well worth browsing to find an enlightening tome for that lazy summer-holiday afternoon on the couch.  (Maybe even find your own name in the index!)

Our member Kieron BALL has sent in the photo below: 
Kevin “Jack” FROST has always been called “Uncle Jack” by me.  He and my father were the ELEC-FITTS chosen to be part of 3SQN when it re-formed with the Mirage under SQNLDR Vance DRUMMOND.  (R.I.P.
Anyway, the other week a new building was opened at RAAF Williamtown - the Len Waters Building - and Jack is immortalised on the wall. 
- Jack has been at Williamtown for many years, I believe 60 in total, and I’m very proud of him.
As is my father - proud of his good mate.  - An honour well-deserved, Frosty!

And we couldn’t help but notice the photo further to the right of Jack – it’s our Association member Bob TRELOAR!  Bob says: “Those photos are in the new HQ complex for Air Combat Group and Surveillance & Response Group, and others.  - I didn’t know that my photo was in the Hall!”

Two Italian researchers, Stefano UMANI and Tommaso PALERMO, have written to us (independently) from Italy with information that solves a long-standing mystery about the name of “Mileni” airstrip in Italy.  (3SQN’s base for a couple of months in the winter of 1943/44.)   It was a dirt field on the river flats north of Foggia. 
- It became famously muddy, due to torrential winter rains.  (The Squadron’s Kittyhawks had to be relocated for operations on several days, to the adjacent American bomber base at Celone, which had better surfacing.) 
Since there’s no village called “Mileni” in Italy today, we have long been puzzled as to where the name came from.  However, Stefano has now sent us an old survey map showing that it was the name of a local landowner.

These details have been added to our Mileni page.

Sydney Modeller Adrian RAVEN has produced a terrific replica of Jock PERRIN’s 3SQN Hurricane, circa February 1941, based on our website Hurricane article. 

The “Spaghetti” camouflage on the frontal edges was quickly applied in Egypt to the dark-painted Hurricanes.  (This greatly reduced their detectability in the bright desert skies when viewed from ahead - and got the “Hurris” into service urgently, at a time of paint shortages!)

We have been contacted by WGCDR David GLEREAN from Canberra, who is writing a book on “WW2 RAAF Intelligence”.  David sent us an interesting transcript of a taped memoir by “Prim” PRIMROSE (3SQN Intelligence Officer).  Prim was one of the standout characters of the contingent of “Originals” who went to the Middle East in 1940/41.
Prim had been an RAF biplane bomber pilot in WW1.  His interesting interview deals mostly with his WW1 experiences and his later life in the Australian outback and the Pacific Islands.  It has been added to our website Lifetimes section.

Prim features extensively in “Old“ John JACKSON's diary.  (They were tent-mates.)  - He was of advanced age compared with the majority of 3SQN members and his billet with Old John was nick-named “Young and Jacksons”!  (Punning on the name of a famous Melbourne pub.) 

Prim [centre left, wearing specs] celebrating 3SQN’s 100th aerial victory.  [AWM 021811]

Our member John LOVE, whose father Nigel manufactured Qantas’s first aircraft 100 years ago, points out a sad side-effect of the 2020 pandemic – the retirement of QF’s last 747 “Jumbo Jet.  It made elaborate fly-pasts of several cities and flew a special 200km-wide “kangaroo” flight-path, as it departed over the Pacific…

Warrant Officer Bruce MacLUCAS, from Edinburgh RAAF Base in South Australia, contacted us for help interpreting an old Japanese photo album in his family collection.  (Probably purchased by his grand-uncle, who served in the occupation of Japan after WW2.) 

Spotting YURT huts in one of the photos, we realised that the album had been compiled by a Japanese soldier in Manchukuo (Japan’s Manchurian colony) in the 1930s. 
Fokker Super Universal aircraft.  (License-built in Japan as Nakajima Ki-6.)

77 years after the event, and following a tipoff from John LOVE, we have finally frustrated the efforts of censors to conceal the location of photographs of Pachino Airfield, in the far southern tip of Sicily, where 3SQN operated in July 1943. The AWM database holds a series of 17 artistic Laurie Le GUAY photos of Pachino, from C302211 to C302227.


[Warning – some of the pix are a bit cheeky!]

September 2020:  Former NSW 3SQN Assn President Arthur PARDEY, the Squadron’s last surviving pilot from WW2, sends a “cheerio” to everyone from his age-care residence at BUPA Mosman in Sydney.  Arthur’s been going OK, but unfortunately the “lockdown” has been rather wearing, with an enforced lack of visitors and reduced interaction with staff.  Arthur says he’s been watching quite a bit of TV in his room – but that’s been all about viruses and lockdowns too! 

Arthur was pleased to hear of the recent discovery of the Mustang relics in Slovenia.  He flew on the Squadron’s last WW2 mission over Trieste and returned to find the ground crew enjoying their victory celebrations!  Arthur remembers being waved-in to a tight parking space – where his Mustang’s wingtip crunched the prop of another parked plane.  (The groundcrew member guiding him in may have already had a few Victory Libations!) 
- “Don’t report it!” the Rigger whispered to Arthur, and the damaged wingtip was quickly and quietly replaced…

[Sign of the Times…]

Due to COVID-19, it was a brief ceremony compared to our usual lavish Fighter Squadrons Branch event. 
Four senior FSB representatives attended, plus Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali NELMES, GPCAPT Peter CLUFF (SADFO RAAF Williamtown), accompanied by WOFF John MARKHAM, with a FLTLT Guard Commander, two Pilot Officers and a Sergeant Flag Orderly from 76SQN. 

Also a Piper and a Bugler from the Newcastle Army Band added to the event.

- 2020 is the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, a vital turning-point in WW2 History.

“The Role of a 5th Generation Fighter in a Global Pandemic...”

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 straight-and-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;  then three ex-3SQN officers: SQNLDR Peter JEFFREY, 

[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. 

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.

Postscript:  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 S-S 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 2020.


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 - was 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 has become one of the world’s busiest, with 9 million passenger journeys per year by 2019.  Flying time is one hour!)

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

Our member Andy RAWLINSON (son of WW2 CO3 Alan) 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 offered a spectacular account of one of 3SQN’s most famous ex-Commanding Officers, Bill BOSTOCK, who rose high in the RAAF in WW2. 
Rick's words have now been set into a new illustrated "Lifetimes" article about Bill.


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 then-unmarked plot of Pitt’s grave

The 3SQN Association, with the generous help of several interested citizens of Canberra, has now installed an appropriate gravestone for Pitt in the Queanbeyan Riverside Cemetery.

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.
[Inset top right: Portrait of Anderson.]
During his extensive air-search for Stutt and Dalzell, Anderson also set an Australian flight-endurance record
of 6 hours and 16 minutes. 

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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