Vol 48

The Magazine by and for Serving and Ex-RAAF People,

and others.

Page 20

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News and Reunions.




The P3 Orion story.


Air Commodore Ian Pearson RAAFAR is writing the story of the P-3 in RAAF service. This started as a private task but now has Air Force sponsorship and the finished product will be published as a (glossy, but authoritative) book by the Air Power Development Centre. Ian is aiming to achieve this outcome before the Orion -3C is withdrawn from RAAF service.



The story of the P-3 in RAAF service starts in the early 1960s, when the process of selecting the replacement for 11SQN's P-2E Neptunes began. The RAAF P-3 story could have started even sooner. The then P-3V Electra was briefly considered, but judged too expensive to replace 10SQN's ageing Lincolns and as history now records, those Lincolns were grounded in June 1961 with main spar corrosion and replaced in 1962 by the P2V7 (later SP-2H) Neptune.


From the early 1960s until now, those lucky enough to be part of RAAF Maritime have been part of an incredible and often little known story. To the extent that it is possible to do so, Ian intends to tell that story to a broad audience.


He welcomes your input!   To this end he plans to attend VPI Fridays (in Canberra), as often as possible, to connect with Canberra-based members and as he is a member of MSA, he can connect with a number of people via the various state-based gatherings. Ian says “The recent 75th anniversary celebrations in Adelaide proved to be a very useful opportunity to catch up with many of you.   Indeed, I hope you aren't hearing from me for the nth time and if you are, a little reinforcement goes a long way!   Otherwise I am contactable on DRN HERE or my private email address HERE or you could get my mobile phone number from the Radschool Association


“While I welcome your war (and other) stories, I need authoritative evidence (eg log book extracts, photos, etc), to support any tale you may wish to see in print. Naturally I am unable to use any material that is still classified. What I am  particularly looking for is anything that either materially contributes to the story of the P-3 in RAAF service, or a story you would want to be reading in a book. If you have a photo that you would like to see included, I need details like the names of any people in the shot, aircraft tail number, date and any other information you have to provide the all-important context. Poor quality photos (generally), just another SAR or just another Gateway sortie isn't going to make the cut, but if there was something significant, or otherwise interesting about those sorties, I want to know about it.   You may have the very story everyone wants to read!


I look forward to catching up with old mates and to meeting those of you I don't already know.   No doubt someone will point you in my direction if you don't know who you are looking for!”




Ambulance Drone


23-year-old Alec Momont, a Belgian Industrial Design Engineer, is seeking sponsors to get his prototype "ambulance drone" off the ground. The airborne medical kit can be flown to the scene of an emergency without the risk of traffic delays at speeds of up to 100km/h (60mph). The precious minutes it saves could mean the difference between life or death. Alec came up with the design while studying at Delft University of Technology.


Around 800,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest in the European Union every year and only 8.0 percent survive. The main reason for this is the relatively long response time of emergency services of around 10 minutes, while brain death and fatalities occur with four to six minutes. The ambulance drone can get a defibrillator to a patient within a 12 square kilometre (4.6 square miles) zone within a minute, reducing the chance of survival from 8 percent to 80 percent. The drone tracks emergency mobile calls and uses the GPS to navigate. Once at the scene, an operator, like a paramedic, can watch, talk and instruct those helping the victim by using an on-board camera connected to a control room via a livestream webcam.


However, the drone is still in its infancy as far as developing its steering mechanism and legal issues regarding its use are concerned. Momont wants it to become a 'flying medical toolbox' able to carry an oxygen mask to a person trapped in a fire or an insulin injection to a diabetes sufferer. He hopes to have an operational emergency drone network across the Netherlands in five years.


The drones are expected to cost around 15,000 euros ($19,000) each but when operational, it is hoped they will save hundreds of lives. It is essential that the right medical care is provided within the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest, getting to an emergency scene faster can save many lives and facilitate the recovery of many patients. 'This especially applies to emergencies such as heart failure, drownings, traumas and respiratory problems and it has become possible because life-saving technologies, such as a defibrillator, can now be designed small enough to be transported by a drone.


Click HERE to see a video of the drone in operation.




The Casualty List


A great number of us know about the "Butcher's List": the list of 500-plus Australians and New Zealanders who died through various means during Australia's involvement in Vietnam during the period 1963 to 1973.


Very few of us know about those who were wounded, hurt and disabled during this period. The Casualty List is an insight to the real human cost that Australia and Australians paid during our involvement in the Vietnam conflict.


The research into the information required to put together this list has taken the author over 20 years of on-and-off study, reading unit histories, speaking with Veterans, listening to their stories, their tales, their humour, their hurts; and then corroborating the facts. The nature of this list means that it is constantly being edited, is nowhere near complete and some errors appear. For this, the buck stops with the author, no-one else. To correct errors and omissions the author welcomes the addition of further information which can be sent by email to enquiries@thecasualtylist.com


This list is as close to the truth about what happened to many of the Veterans who served in Vietnam as anyone can get. In the author's mind, the truth must be told, at whatever cost. Some of the casualties listed will cut close to the heart, the mind, and the psyche, and will hurt some, if not all of us. Some may be appalled, some may be horrified. Sometimes the truth is like this.


It gives me pleasure to announce that The Casualty List  has been accepted by the Australian War Memorial


I wish to thank the AWM for their help and guidance.




Bob Coker (WA)




Avalon AirShow 2015


A series of spectacular battlefield re-enactments will provide a unique dimension to Airshow 2015. These ground warfare scenarios will be in keeping with the event’s observance of the centenary of Anzac. Battle sequences will be staged on a number of “historic combat zones” on a large tract to the east of the main Avalon runway.



The scenarios will include trench warfare (World War One), desert and European campaigns (World War Two) and other sections focusing on, Vietnam and the Gulf War. Re-enactment groups from throughout the state will gather at Avalon for the occasion.


Members of the Australian Great War Association will stage a World War One battle complete with trenches, period weaponry, heavy equipment and soldiers in authentic uniform. The Light Horse Museum will host a captivating display including weapons, field artillery, photographs, memorabilia and a fully decked out field hospital.


The Geelong Military Re-enactment Group will take part in the recreation of the Battle of Brellos Pass (Greece April 1941) complete with German and Australian artillery and assorted heavy vehicles including two German Panzer tanks.


This 20 minute performance will be presented twice daily and can be viewed from a grandstand adjacent the battlefield. Members of the Commemorative History Society will provide equipment and uniformed troops for a living display on war in the Pacific. The Victorian Military Vehicle Corps will supply a vast array of wartime machinery including tanks and heavy armour.


The Corps will present four campaign displays reflecting the two World Wars and the Gulf War. Airshow 2015 will also feature a stunning array of military aircraft from the birth of Anzac to the present day.


A series of unforgettable flying displays will pay tribute to the heroes of the sky in the centenary year of the Gallipoli landings. The Airshow consists of four trade days and three public sessions. It will be staged at Avalon Airport (Vic) between 24 February and 1 March with the final three days, 27 February to 1 March, open to the public


You can see more information HERE.




Ballarat WAGS


Some time ago, a builder who was demolishing an old suburban house in Melbourne, noticed an envelope with faded photos dumped in a rubbish skip. On having recognising these as Air Force related he fortunately kept them and passed them to Kevin O’Reilly who is a member of the RAAFA Ballarat and Aviation Historical Soc. of Aust. for interest and preservation. Thanks to the diligence of the photographer, (presumably Thomas Worley who was on the same course and whose kit bag number appears in one shot) names have been included on the back of some and as a result the writer has been able to identify all members of the WAG (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) course which commenced on the 9th January 1942 at the recently opened Ballarat Base (No1 WAGs) and who resided in Hut 15.


No 1 WAGs Base Theatre in 1941. Occasion unknown but possibly passing out parade and address.



These young men who had volunteered were responding to a call to arms for air crew at the behest of the Empire Air Training Scheme which undertook to supply partly trained airmen for the defence of England. It is easy on looking at their faces, that these young fellows were full of enthusiasm for the adventures that were ahead of them. Sadly, of the 14 occupants of Hut 15, only 4 would survive World War 2 and most would be killed within two years of their training.


Occupants of Hut 15, click the pic for their names. This pic most likely taken by airman Worley.


The attrition rate amongst the early air crews in this war was horrific.


Kevin O’Reilly had done his National Service at this Ballarat Base back in 1955, so these photos and the resultant material were of special interest to him


Looks like a Monday night…


Overies were the dress of the day back then too.


Edgar Brown and Edgar South at the drink fountain.


Edgar Harold Brown was born in Brighton in Victoria on the 29th September 1916. He enlisted on the 8th December 1940 and after Ballarat was attached to 34 Sqn RAF. He was in a reserve crew in the 7th plane for (6) Bombers to raid Sungei Patani.  One plane of the six bogged and the reserve aircraft took off in its place. Storms were encountered one hour approximately from Singapore and two aircraft returned to base. One aircraft reached the target area. Two others flew till dawn and no wireless communication or any further news was heard at all from Brown`s machine. He was declared dead on the 10th January 1940.


Edgar South was born on the 4th September 1913 at Lakes Entrance. He enlisted in Melbourne on the 8th December 1940 and was attached to 100 Squadron RAF and was reported missing in the Far East. It was later reported that he had survived an incident and was now a POW of the Japanese. He died of Cholera in a POW camp in Thailand on the 21 July 1943.




Big Brother.


A driver lodged an insurance claim stating that he was driving his high powered HSV sedan through residential streets and as he turned a corner, claims that he missed third gear and accidently changed into first gear. As a result he lost control of the vehicle, left the road into parklands and crashed into trees. The vehicle was severely damaged and both airbags were deployed. The member said that he was only doing the speed limit at the time.


The claimant’s version of events, the extensive damage to the vehicle and the fact that it was a high powered vehicle triggered concerns and as a result, inquiries were conducted and the claimant was interviewed. The claimant maintained his version of events that he was doing 50kph and only lost control when he put it in the wrong gear. He denied any reckless or deliberate acts.



Other inquiries were conducted to locate witnesses or physical evidence at the scene, however on this occasion there was nothing available. Police had attended but no charges were laid. In many instances, without sufficient evidence to prove otherwise, these claims would be accepted.


However claimants of TCU had recently attended a conference on motor vehicle theft and fraud where there was a presentation on how it was possible to download and access information stored in certain vehicle’s Air Bag Control Module. The Air Bag Control Module (ACM) stores data much like a planes `black box recorder’ and can give an insight into what a vehicle is doing up to 10 seconds prior to an incident or crash.


The airbag control module is housed within the vehicle and is very well protected. In this instance the following data was downloaded in regards to the crash:



-2.5 sec

-2.0 sec

-1.5 sec

-1.0 sec

-.05 sec

Vehicle Speed (MPH)






Engine Speed (RPM)






Accelerator Pedal Position (Percent)






Percent throttle






Brake Switch Circuit State







What was of particular interest in these details is that 1.5 seconds prior to the airbags being deployed (when the crash occurred) the claimant was travelling at a speed of 57 MPH (91.7Kph) with the throttle at 100% and the accelerator pedal depressed at 100%. The vehicle was also redlining at 6500 RPM. What this reveals is that the claimant was driving with his foot flat to the floor until he applied the brake a half second later when he lost control and it was too late. The speed limit was 50kph and the claimant was travelling a whopping 41kph above the speed limit, which is dangerous in any circumstance.


The claimant was re-interviewed and surprised at the evidence we were able to obtain. He could not offer any defence to the irrefutable evidence on his reckless driving and chose to withdraw his claim and arrange his own repairs.


It’s fair to assume that big brother is everywhere these days, and in this case even in your vehicle. The vehicle was a total loss and resulted in a $50000 saving to the RAC. This has now become a very effective and invaluable tool in investigating claims with questionable manner of driving.


It's not fair, they are making it to hard to cheat!!



Look out - the Nomads are about..


John and Josie Broughton have sold the van that served them well for many years and have invested in a shiny brand new Fiat Ovation motor home. The new bus had its shake down trials in Caloundra where a few mods were carried out and we hear it has now been booked on the boat and will cruise Tasmania for a month in the New Year.


Tasmanians, you have been warned.








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