3 Squadron LIFETIMES
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Ted was born in Sydney at the end of 1935. He joined the RAAF in January 1953 as a Cadet, graduating from RAAF College on 10 December 1956. The Awards Ceremony held on that day had a rather special Guest of Honour, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Additionally, the prizewinners had not been informed beforehand, which led to an entertaining chain of events reported as front-page news in the Melbourne Argus the following morning…
SUCH A PROUD MUM!
MET THE DUKE
THE DAY HER YOUNG FLIER SWEPT
POINT COOK FIELD.
By Michael Fitzgerald.
In the silvered jet world
of Australia's winged sons, a small, homely mother yesterday got a
"The Duke of Edinburgh wants to meet you."
It happened at R.A.A.F.
Point Cook. It happened to a little widow, Mrs. Edith RADFORD of
Nelson Bay, N.S.W.
For yesterday - a sparkling, brilliant day of spit and polish, of roaring, sweeping jets, of glittering, swords, sashes, and uniforms - will always be remembered in the Air Force as "Radford's Day."
Twenty-year-old Edward RADFORD was one of the 18 cadets in the ceremonial graduation parade. But Edward, a tanned, stocky young man, didn't know he was going to make Air Force history.
The Duke inspected the lined cadets, watched their beautiful precision marching; and then the first name for the “Wings” ceremony was called - Radford's.
After each of the remaining 17 cadets was called forward, the first of the coveted three main awards was announced. Every cadet stood tense. Every parent, every girlfriend watched hopefully - none knew the name of the winner. - In the hush it rang out - "Edward Radford, the Flying Trophy ... a set of silver wings mounted on a Vickers Swift ... For the best all-round pilot of his course."
Radford marched up, the Duke shook his hand for the 2nd time and said: "Congratulations! Are you getting any more of these?" indicating the table of prizes. Radford said he didn't think so, but also said no one knew, as the names on the prize list were secret.
Radford had only marched off a short distance when his name rang out again - winner of the Sword of Honor, for his personal example and powers of leadership upon his college fellows, also winner of the R.N.Z.A.F. Leadership Trophy. As the Duke, smiling broadly, shook his hand for the third time, he said: "I thought you said you weren't going to get any more of these?"
Radford: "We don't know, Sir, until our names are called out." Again Radford had barely deposited the sword when his name was called out again. This time he'd won the Queen's Medal for being Dux of the College. - Winner of all main trophies – unknown in R.A.A.F. history!
During lunch the Duke learnt that, in the secret list, Radford had also won four other prizes: for Swimming; Rugby; Air Bombing and Gunnery; and Applied Science; and had shared wins in two other subjects.
The Duke sent a messenger to tell Mrs. Radford he'd like to see her. As top-brass guests of Australia's services waited and his Dakota's engines revved on the airfield, ready for take-off to Essendon, the Duke had Mrs. Radford and her son brought in. The Duke told Mrs. Radford: "You have a very fine son. You should be very proud of him!"
Then Mrs. Radford sprang a surprise. She told the Duke that the pilot of his Air Force Reserve plane - Flying-Officer John Radford - was her son too!
- Ted had an exceptionally varied and distinguished flying career, initially being trained on Tiger Moths and Wirraways. His flying experience was primarily as a fighter and strike pilot and as a flying instructor, flying Vampires, Meteors, Sabres, Mirages, F-111s and Winjeel trainers. (Although he also flew the Dakota, Canberra, Macchi, F-16, F/A-18, Caribou, Squirrel, Chinook, Iroquois, Blackhawk, Hercules, P3C Orion and several other aircraft types - 28 in total!)
He had two tours of duty with 3SQN; firstly flying Sabres in Malaysia in 1958-59, commencing with the adventurous “Operation Sabre Ferry”. A decade later, after being promoted to 3SQN Commanding Officer, Ted was responsible for the deployment of the Squadron's new Mirages to Malaysia in 1969 - “Operation Thoroughfare”.
- Blue FARRELL recommends
Ted’s Thoroughfare story below, showing the caring
aspect of Ted’s leadership. -
The RAAF Museum mentions that before becoming CO3, Ted had served 15 months as Chief Flying Instructor, being awarded the highest rating achievable - 'A7 Exceptional'.
After 3SQN, he was promoted to A/GPCAPT in 1974 and appointed Director Joint Plans, then in early 1976 Director of Air Force Operations, a new directorate.
Ted was selected for RAAF Staff College and graduated in 1971, being appointed Senior RAAF Representative on the ‘Naval Air Power and Tactical Air Weapons Study’, a major force-structure study.
He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1977 for his service as the Director of Air Force Operations, in particular as leader of the reconnaissance team to the Middle East in 1976, which preceded Australia's first commitment of RAAF helicopters to the Sinai.
In 1978, after a posting to Amberley as Air Staff Officer, flying primarily F-111s, Ted attended the Canadian National Defence College for 12 months. Upon his return to Australia he assumed the appointment of Director-General Tactical Fighter Project and led the Contender Evaluation Teams to North America, culminating in the selection of the F/A-18 as Australia's new tactical fighter aircraft in late 1981.
He was then responsible for the production and implementation of the Hornet Project Management and Acquisition Plan, a $4.3 Billion project - the most expensive in Australian Defence history. [The RAAF Museum adds: and arguably the only one in history to finish on budget, on time and on specification!]
In the latter years of his career Ted was best known for his appointments as Chief of Air Force Personnel in 1983 and Air Officer Commanding, Operational Command, (Glenbrook NSW) in late 1985. [Blue mentions that Ted succeeded in knocking over some tricky re-organisations that were dear to the heart of Jake NEWHAM – who had asked Ted about it first, before appointing him. - Of course Ted had said YES and got the job done!] Ted was reappointed Air Commander Australia in February 1986. AVM Radford's last appointment was in February 1990 as Deputy Chief of the Air Staff.
Medals: In 1967 Ted had been awarded the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air. He also earned the General Service Medal (Malaya), The National Medal and Clasp and Defence Force Service Medal from his earlier Air Force career. For his service as Chief of Air Force Personnel, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 1985 Queen's Birthday Honours List.
Ted was always a keen and active sportsman, representing the RAAF in six separate sports. He also represented Combined Australian Services in what was always his first love - Rugby. He was farewelled from the RAAF by many of his friends and colleagues at a dining-in night at the Officers' Mess, Fairbairn on 24 July 1990.
Ted was then recruited as Qantas Deputy Chief Executive, starting on 13 August 1990 and remaining in that role until 1994, and afterwards pursuing various civil aviation interests.
Ted passed away after stoically enduring the encroaching effects of Parkinson’s Disease for some years. His funeral, with full Military Honours, was held at Bunurong Memorial Park in Dandenong South (Melbourne) on August 28th.
Ted was the dearly loved and loving husband of Jean; proud father of Megan, Sarah and Robert; and adored “Poppa Ted” of Sally. Remembered with great affection by his many Air Force friends.
Obit compiled by James Oglethorpe, with
Air Force News, Melbourne Argus, AWM, FSB and 3SQN Assn files.
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