Vol 56

Page 8

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The People I meet.



Just the other day I was at the gym keeping this immaculate and desirable Radtech torso of mine in its usual tip top nick and as always, tried to blend into the wood work and not attract attention to one’s self. Being the shy and bashful masculine male that I am, I never flaunt the fact that I’m the only Radtech in the gym as this would normally mean I was automatically entitled to be honoured and revered by the gym’s clientele, instead I keep to myself and try as much as possible to work-out in a far corner away from the prying eye.


After completing a solid hour of chin-ups on the horizontal bar, I decided to finish off by spending a strenuous 90 minutes on the bike.


Unbeknown to me, while I was peddling furiously, the delightful Danielle Parry, who lives a couple of miles from the gym, somehow realised that there was a Radtech working out close by and she just had to see for herself. She grabbed her scooter from the back shed and belted down the centre of the road hoping to get to the gym in time to capture some of that magic Radtechitis that she could see from afar, emanating from the roof of the building. Parking the chrome scooter in the car-park, she raced in, scattering all far and wide and as has happened on numerous occasions, draped herself upon one’s person. Being the kind and gentle Radtech that I am, I allowed this draping business to continue for 45 minutes or so, then as I had a prior engagement, I was forced to extricate myself from the lovely Danielle who was visibly and very nearly uncontrollably distraught.


I was later advised by one of the gym’s hard working Exercise Physiologists that Danielle had confided in him that although sad to be separated from the bearer of such Radtechitis and was hoping to have spent at least a full morning so draped, she did say she now felt at peace with her inner self – a fact she definitely attributed to being somewhat infected with Radtechitis.



Danielle joined the Army in 1994 and discharged in 2014, 12 of those years were spent full time and a further 8 spent in the Reserves.  Danielle currently works for the Department of Human Services.


Her husband was also Army and they met in Darwin.



A doctor who had been seeing an 80-year-old woman for most of her life finally retired. At her next check-up, the new doctor told her to bring a list of all the medicines that had been prescribed for her. As the doctor was looking through these his eyes grew wide as he realized Grandma had a prescription for birth control pills. "Mrs. Smith, do you realize these are birth control pills?" "Yes” she said, “they help me sleep at night." "Mrs. Smith, I assure you there is absolutely nothing in these that could possibly help you sleep!" She reached out and patted the young doctor's knee and said, "Yes, dear, I know that. But every morning, I grind one up and mix it in the glass of orange juice that my 16-year-old grand-daughter drinks. And believe me it definitely helps me sleep at night."



You can click some of these pics to get the HD version.


Squadrons 1, 2, 3 & 4 Centenary.


Thanks to the RAAF’s Image Gallery

for some of these photos.


On Friday the 28th of October 2016, the RAAF marked the Centenary of Numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 Squadrons with a ceremony and a series of events and activities at Williamtown. John Broughton and I went along.


No 1 Squadron Bristol Fighter, Palestine, 1918.



MC for the day was Jamie Abbott who soldiered on and did an excellent job, sometimes under an umbrella in heavy rain.


Jaimie is an award-winning media professional, having spent over fifteen years in the industry working as a Radio and TV Journalist, Political Media Adviser, Federal Political Candidate, Managing Director of her own media training company and a Communications Adviser in the RAAF.


In 2011 she was deployed to Afghanistan, where she worked as a Media Interview Trainer in Kabul. She developed the very first media training package for spokespersons on the war in Afghanistan and trained over a hundred Military Officers one-on-one on how to be media spokespersons to international journalists embedded in Afghanistan.


Jaimie’s first fulltime job was as a newsreader and journalist for 2GB Radio in Sydney in 2003. She then spent another three years as a journalist and presenter for Prime Television in Tamworth, where she won a Highly Commended Journalism Award at the Northern NSW Journalism Awards in 2006.


After leaving TV to pursue new opportunities, she was the Media Adviser and part of the winning campaign team for Parliamentary Secretary for Industry Bob Baldwin in the 2007 election. She then joined the RAAF Reserves as a Flight Lieutenant at the end of 2007 and has travelled all over the world as a Communications Adviser managing the media for international Air Force exercises in Malaysia, the Middle East, and Guam.


Since setting up her own media spokesperson training company, she has trained senior executives in media and crisis communication from the corporate, government and community sectors. She has a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) Degree from Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and is currently completing her Master of Marketing through the University of Newcastle. She is also a member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA).


Jaimie is the President of Hunter Animal Rescue and on the committee of the Hunter Business Women’s Network. She is the former Vice President of the Newcastle & Hunter Junior Chamber (now Hunter Young Professionals). On Australia Day 2012 Jaimie was awarded a City of Newcastle Service Award, for her outstanding contribution to the community after personally raising over $50,000 for local charities. She was also the 2012 runner-up University of Newcastle Leadership Award Winner and a finalist in the Hunter Business Awards in 2012 and 2014.


In May 2012 she was endorsed as the Liberal Candidate for Newcastle and achieved an historic 3.7% swing towards the Liberal Party in the Federal election and received just under 30,000 of first preference votes.


1 Squadron.


1 Squadron is now headquartered at Amberley and is equipped with the Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet. It was formed under the Australian Flying Corps in 1916 (pre RAAF days) and saw action in the Sinai and Palestine Campaigns during World War I. It flew obsolete Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2s, B.E.12s, Martinsyde G.100s and G.102s, as well as Airco DH.6s, Bristol Scouts and Nieuport 17s, before re-equipping with the R.E.8 in October 1917 and finally the Bristol Fighter in December. Its commanding officer in 1917–18 was Major Richard Williams, later known as the "Father of the RAAF". Disbanded in 1919, No. 1 Squadron was re-formed on paper as part of the RAAF in 1922, and re-established as an operational unit three years later.


During World War II, the squadron flew Lockheed Hudson bombers in the Malayan and Dutch East Indies campaigns, suffering severe losses before being reduced to cadre in 1942. It was re-formed with Bristol Beauforts the following year, and re-equipped with de Havilland Mosquitos in 1945 for further operations in the Dutch East Indies. Reduced to cadre once more after the war ended, No. 1 Squadron was re-established at Amberley in 1948 as an Avro Lincoln heavy bomber unit. From 1950 to 1958 it was based in Singapore, flying missions during the Malayan Emergency, where it bore the brunt of the Commonwealth air campaign against communist guerrillas. When it returned to Australia it re-equipped with English Electric Canberra jet bombers. It operated McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantoms from 1970 to 1973, as a stop-gap pending delivery of the General Dynamics F-111C swing-wing bomber. The F-111 remained in service for 37 years until replaced by the Super Hornet in 2010. From September 2014 to March 2015, a detachment of Super Hornets was deployed to the Middle East as part of Australia's contribution to the military intervention against ISIL.



2 Squadron.


2 Squadron was formed at Point Cook in September 1916 and initially its personnel were members of the Australian Army. The Squadron today operates from Williamtown and is equipped with the Boeing 737 AEW&C "Wedgetail" aircraft.



It has operated a variety of aircraft types including fighters, bombers, and Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft. You can see 2 Sqn’s history later in this issue.



3 Squadron.


3 Squadron is a fighter squadron, now also headquartered at Williamtown. Established in 1916, it operated on the Western Front in France before being disbanded in 1919. It was re-raised as a permanent squadron of the RAAF in 1925, and during World War II operated in the Mediterranean Theatre. The Cold War years saw the squadron disbanded and re-raised twice. It was based at RAAF Butterworth during the Malayan Emergency and the Indonesia–Malaysia Konfrontasi. Equipped with McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighters from 1986, the squadron deployed to Diego Garcia in 2002 to provide local air defence, and the following year contributed aircraft and crews to the invasion of Iraq as part of Operation Falconer. In April 2016, it deployed to the Middle East as part of the military intervention against ISIL. You can see more on 3 Squadron in an earlier edition HERE.



4 Squadron.


4 Squadron was formed as a unit of the Australian Flying Corps at Point Cook in October 1916. Shortly after its formation the Squadron departed for Britain, arriving at Castle Bromwich for further training in March 1917 and was then sent to France in December 1917. During its time on the Western Front, it was assigned to No. 80 Wing operating Sopwith Camels and Snipes, performing fighter sweeps and providing air support for the army. It also raided German airstrips. 4 Squadron claimed more "kills" than any other AFC unit, destroying 199 enemy aircraft and 33 enemy balloons.



Members of the unit included Captain Harry Cobby, the AFC's leading ace of the war, credited with destroying 29 aircraft and observation balloons, and Captain George Jones, who shot down seven aircraft and later served as the RAAF's Chief of the Air Staff for ten years. Aces Roy King, Edgar McCloughry, Herbert Watson, Thomas Baker, Leonard Taplin, Thomas Barkell, Arthur Palliser, Norman Trescowthick, Garnet Malley and Albert Robertson also served in the squadron.


Following the armistice, No. 4 Squadron remained in Europe and was based in Cologne, Germany, as part of the British Army of Occupation. It returned to Australia in March 1919 and was disbanded in Melbourne in June but re-raised in 1937. In 1942 it deployed to New Guinea, where it supported military forces by spotting for artillery and providing reconnaissance and close air support. As the war progressed, the squadron took part in the Huon Peninsula, New Britain and Borneo campaigns. It was disbanded in early 1948, but was re-formed on 2 July 2009 to provide training to forward air controllers and to support Army Special Operations Command.


Today 4 Squadron consists of three Flights designated as A, B and C as well as maintenance / logistics sections and a small administrative team.


A Flight.

A Flight is composed of personnel responsible for operating four Pilatus PC-9A(F) Forward Air Control (FAC) variant aircraft. The PC-9A(F) in grey paintwork differs from the standard PC-9A in several ways, including external stores carriage, communications equipment, undercarriage and is fitted with smoke grenade dispensers for target marking. The aircraft are based at Williamtown to train ADF Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC).



B Flight.

B Flight is the Combat Control Team (CCT), composed of Combat Controllers responsible for reconnaissance, joint terminal attack control and advanced force operations either as part of a larger advanced force (supporting the Commandos from the 1st or 2nd Commando Regiment or independently. Combat Controllers provide a range of capabilities, including from Forward Air Control of Offensive Air Support, Landing Zone Reconnaissance, Aviation Meteorology Observation and Airspace Management. The Special Tactics Project was formed in 2007 to train air force personnel as Combat Controllers (similar to US Air Force combat controllers) following a request by the Army Special Operations Command. Between 2008 and 2009, three intakes completed initial training and four members deployed during combat operations in Afghanistan with the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG). Combat Controllers served continuously with the SOTG from 2008 rotating controllers at each SOTG rotation until withdrawal. In July 2009, the Special Tactics Project became B Flight in the reformed No. 4 Squadron.


C Flight.

C Flight delivers the ADF Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) course as well as the on going accreditation of graduates. In 2005, the Air Force became the first foreign air force to receive Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) accreditation from the United States Joint Forces Command. The six-week JTAC course teaches planning, briefing, controlling and reporting of close air support (CAS). The JTAC course is conducted twice a year with an aim of graduating 32 students a year. More than 300 students have graduated since 1997.



Sqn Ldr Lia Ross had spent months preparing the event and in the end she had everything planned to a T, except for the weather – unfortunately old Hughie hadn’t read the script and he made it rain on her parade. We have it on good authority that a few Hail Marys were said early that morning but all to no avail. But, as they say, the show must go on – and so go on it did!!



And a bit of crook weather wasn’t going to deter the thousands that wanted to see the event and with the shade areas vacated of aircraft, they had a dry vantage point from which to watch it all.


The Centenary of Australia’s first flying Squadrons was an ideal opportunity to hold a Parade (does the RAAF really need an excuse to hold a Parade?) and to provide a Family Day where family and friends of past and present members of each of the 4 Squadrons would be welcome at the base and could come and experience it all. The Centenary Parade and Family Day was planned as a simple and elegant celebration of this historic milestone, providing the opportunity to display the contributions and achievements of the first flying Squadrons over the last 100 years, showcasing the innovation and evolution of Air Power from its humble beginnings into the modern integrated Air Force of which we know today. Importantly, the program brought into focus the dedication, commitment, sacrifice and exemplary service of the Australian Flying Corps and Air Force personnel past and present, highlighting the enduring spirit of ‘mateship’ and community. The program commenced at 10.00am with a full Colours Parade and unfortunately, as this got under way, Hughie opened the Heavens.


It was planned to have a number of classic “war birds” on display, including 4 Tiger Moths which were programmed to put on a flying display, but due to the inclement weather, their arrival was cancelled. However, the enthusiastic crowd were not disappointed as at about 11.30am, after the parade had finished and the troops had marched off, the rain stopped, the weather cleared (Murphy’s Law?) and the immaculate Wirraway belonging to Charles Mac Kay was able to take to the sky and entertain the crowd with a number of low level fly-pasts and aerobatic manoeuvres.



After the Wirraway, one of 4 Squadron’s Pilatus PC-9 aircraft was quickly airborne and entertained the crowd followed by four classic Hornets from 3 Squadron which flew a number of close formation, low level, fly pasts, followed by the traditional star-burst finale. Then it was time for the Super Hornet, those aircraft that convert kerosene to noise, to rocket back and forth over the crowd. The ear protection pads, thoughtfully handed out as we entered the base were very handy.


F/A-18A Classic Hornets from 3 Squadron fly by in close formation.




With the Parade about to start, the troops were all brought to attention.


1 Squadron personnel, just prior to the rain, with one Navy bod very distinguishable in his whites.




Then, just as the band started to play, down came the rain. You had to feel sorry for all those people in their soaked battle jackets, all putting on a brave face and trying to do the best they could, but secretly wishing they were anywhere but on that 4 Squadron tarmac.



Those of us who were lucky enough to be near the VIP tent bolted for the shelter and watched proceedings from the relative comfort of the dry marquee.




The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshall Leo Davies, AO, CSC, took the salute.


Air Marshal Gavin Neil "Leo" Davies joined the RAAF as a cadet Navigator in 1979 and graduated to fly P-3B and P-3C Orion aircraft with No 11 Squadron at Edinburgh in South Australia. In 1987 he completed pilot training and after completing F-111 conversion course was posted in 1988 to No 1 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley.


In 1990, he was posted to Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, to fly F-111D aircraft on exchange with the United States Air Force. On return to Australia in 1993, he was posted to No 1 Squadron as the Operations Flight Commander followed by one year as Operations Officer at Headquarters No 82 Wing during 1996. After a posting in 1997 and 1998 as the Executive Officer at No 1 Squadron, he completed the RAAF Command and Staff Course. In 2000, he commenced two years in Capability Systems within Defence Headquarters.


In 2002 and 2003, his long association with No 1 Squadron was again rekindled when he returned as Commanding Officer and achieved 2000 hours flying the F-111. He was the Staff Officer to the Chief of Air Force during 2004, before taking up the post of Officer Commanding No 82 Wing at RAAF Base Amberley, where he was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) for outstanding achievement.


He worked as Director Combat Capability within Air Force Headquarters in 2006 and 2007, during which time he was deployed to the Middle East to work in the Combined Air Operations Centre. Between 2008 and 2010, he was the Director General Capability Planning within Air Force Headquarters. He was then posted to Washington as the Air Attaché, where he was awarded the United States Legion of Merit – Officer. He returned from Washington in January 2012 to take up his appointment as Deputy Chief of Air Force.


He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2014 for distinguished service to the Australian Defence Force in senior command and staff appointments and was promoted to Air Marshal and appointed Chief of Air Force on 4 July 2015.


Air Marshall Davies invited the Governor General, His Excellency, General, the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, MC (Ret’d) to review the troops.


(For those who don’t know, the rank of General is equivalent to the RAAF’s Air Chief Marshall and the Navy’s Admiral.)




It was pretty obvious that Sir Peter wasn’t all that keen on splashing around on the wet tarmac so he strode out to get it over with as quickly as he could. This caused a bit of a problem for his bemused Flight Lewey Bat Lady whose legs weren’t the same length as Sir Peter’s and she really had to put in the big ones to keep up.


After Sir Peter had inspected the troops and had the customary ‘chat’ to one or two of the young blokes, the Parade was close-order marched, right turned and marched off.



Click the pic below to see the march off.




With the parade over, the rain of course stopped (perhaps the Hail Marys had kicked in) and with the appreciative crowd lining the way, the troops marched off, all heading for somewhere to dump the wet uniforms, get into a warm shower and some dry clothes. Well done to them all.


Click HERE and see if you can pick the Queenslander.





John Ridgeway, AOM, delivered a Welcome to Country speech. (See Opinion page 1.)



At about 11.30am, with the formalities over for the day, refreshments were served in the VIP tent and the public was invited to inspect the aircraft and merchandising on display.






The F/A-18 was a big draw, with people lined up for ages to walk up the stairs onto the engine stand to peer into the interior.



A man was riding on a full bus minding his own business when the gorgeous woman next to him started to breast-feed her baby. The baby wouldn't take it so she said, "Come on sweetie, eat it all up or I'll have to give it to this nice man next to us." Five minutes later the baby was still not feeding, so she said, "Come on, honey. Take it or I'll give it to this nice man here." A few minutes later the anxious man blurted out, "Come on kid. Make up your mind! I was supposed to get off four stops ago!"




This Sabre was brought onto strength by the RAAF in 1956 and served at Butterworth and Ubon. After it was retired, it was installed at Fighter World, at the south gate at Williamtown, where it is currently on display.




Two blondes were walking down the road and the first blonde said,

"Look at that dog with one eye!"

The other blonde covers one of her eyes and says, "Where?"



Some of the many F/A-18’s stationed at Williamtown.






Some of 76 Sqn’s Hawk 127 aircraft.



The BAE Systems Hawk is a British made single-engine, jet-powered advanced trainer aircraft. It was first flown in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk and subsequently produced by its successor companies, British Aerospace and finally BAE Systems. It has been used in a training capacity and as a low-cost combat aircraft. It is the RAAF’s lead-in fighter and prepares qualified Air Force pilots for operational conversion to F/A-18A/B Hornets and F/A-18F Super Hornets. It is operated by 76 Squadron at Williamtown and 79 Squadron at Pearce. Pilots complete a 14 week Introductory Fighter Course at Pearce with the Hawk, which includes general flying, instrument flying, formation flying, night flying and navigation.


Graduates then progress to a 20 week course at Williamtown for instruction in air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons training with the Hawk. Only then, can pilots progress to operational conversion to either the F/A-18A/B Hornet or the F/A-18F Super Hornet. The Hawk has been designed with through-life support programs to allow for system upgrades to reflect evolving training requirements. Students attend major exercises such as Exercise Pitch Black in the Northern Territory as part of their training.


The aircraft is a low-wing, all-metal aircraft, fitted with an integrated navigation and attack systems and powered by a single Adour Mk 871 turbofan engine. Each cockpit has hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) controls. The Head-Up Display (HUD) in the front cockpit and Multi-Function Displays (MFD) in each cockpit present a range of flight information, ranging from aircraft performance and attitude through to equipment status reports. Mission-specific data can be pre-programmed by the pilot and downloaded into the system. Equipment performance, aircraft fatigue and engine life data is monitored and recorded by a Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS).


The Hawk 127 armament system provides for the carriage, aiming and release or firing of both practice weapons and conventional and laser-guided bombs, as well as AIM-9M “Sidewinder” missiles and a 30mm cannon. The stores are carried on two wingtip missile stations or pylon-mounted on four underwing and one centreline hardpoints.


Click the pic below to see the Hawk taxying back to its revetment.




There was plenty of food available with Squadron social clubs and civvy concessionaires providing everything from the mandatory sausage sizzle to pizza slices. The food marquees were set up outside the 381 Squadron hangar.



381 Squadron is an Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (ECSS) which was formed at Williamtown in May 1998. It is a fully deployable airbase operations unit that provides airbase-specific operations support and common 'close' combat support functions to one or more flying units at a forward operating base. Effectively an ECSS runs the base support to ensure flying units are able to concentrate on the projection of the required air power to support directed RAAF missions.


381ECSS has assisted in Operations Warden/Stabilize (East Timor), Gold (Sydney Olympics), Relex (bare base activation to support maritime interdiction operations), Gaberdine (Immigration Support), Guardian (CHOGM Support), Slipper (Global War on Terrorism) and Bastille and Falconer (Iraq War). These activities have included aid to the civilian community, activation of bare bases, support to the UN peacekeeping missions, support to border protection, coalition force activities in the Fight Against Terrorism and the War in Iraq.


381ECSS airbase operations and combat support functions include:


Airbase operations.

Air traffic control (supported by 44 Wing)

Airfield Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF)

Security, Policing and Investigative services



Ground defence

Explosive ordnance disposal operations




Personnel support

Travel management




Welfare support

Postal operations









Air Terminal Services (supported by 1AOSS),

Fuel operations





Airfield Engineering.

Civil Maintenance and Engineering


Mechanical Maintenance and Engineering


Health Support (supported by HSW).

Airfield Emergency Response





Environmental Health

Physical Training



Base Radio Maintenance

Base Communications Centre



Information Systems

381ECSS's in-garrison role is to provide specialist military airbase operations at Williamtown in concert with other airbase service providers such as Defence Support Group and Joint Logistics Command. At its 'home' base 381ECSS does not provide all base support services, but when deployed it has the capability to support a bare base, a greenfield airfield or to augment operations on an existing main base as required, providing all the services to make it a fully operational base.



The Fireys were there too, to show off their $1.5M Austrian built Rosenbauer Panther Fire truck.



These huge machines weigh 36 tonnes, are powered by a six cylinder air cooled turbo diesel engine and have a top speed of 105 km/h. They can hold 8,500 litres of water and 1,300 litres of foam as well as 225 kg of dry chemical powder. That large monitor on the roof can pump water at a rate of 5000l/min a distance of 70 metres.


There are two currently at Williamtown with another two on order.


Fire trucks have certainly come a long way since 1938 when this one (right) was on duty at Point Cook.



One little machine that seems to be immortal is the mighty Clarktor. These little machines used to be yellow so they would stand out on the tarmac and nearly everyone has driven one. They had fantastic acceleration, they would go from rest to 10 mph in the blink of an eye - but that was it.




The merchandising corridor.




And what would be an Australian “do” be without a sausage sizzle and a jumping castle.



Fighter World volunteers John Hannan, Roger Foster and John Stephens have been constructing a full sized Sopwith Camel replica from the original drawings. Their workmanship is nothing short of extraordinary and the finished aircraft will be on display later in the year. The Sopwith Camel was fitted with a Gnome engine which was a bit different to normal radials. The entire assembly would spin with the propeller creating some interesting torque handling issues and like the old A model Herc, it was either flat out or off. Pilots had to 'blip' the magneto switches to maintain a constant speed.


The Camel was a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter aircraft introduced on the Western Front in 1917. Manufactured by the Sopwith Aviation Company, it used a rotary engine, and had twin synchronized machine guns that shot through the propeller. Though difficult to handle it offered very good manoeuvrability to an experienced pilot. Camel pilots were credited with shooting down 1,294 enemy aircraft, more than any other Allied fighter of the conflict. It also served as a ground-attack aircraft, especially towards the end of the war when it had become outclassed in the air-to-air role. The main variant was the F.1 but dedicated variants were built for a variety of roles including the 2F.1 Ship's Camel for carrier operations, the Comic night fighter, the T.F.1 trench fighter armoured ground attack aircraft and as a two-seat trainer.



The aircraft was on display in the 4 Squadron hangar and looking around we found that the Squadron’s brew room is still called the “Smoko Room”, though you can’t smoke in there anymore.



Another thing we did notice was the aluminium pocket screwed onto the back of the door on each of the toilets - to hold the magazines.


How smart's that??




25 years ago, back in 1991, Dave Pietsch, who, at the time, was the CO of 3 Squadron, instigated the completion and burial of a time capsule. At about 2.00pm on the day of the Centenary, it was dug up again and Dave Pietsch, one of the few people to have flown the Sabre, Mirage and Hornet, was there to open it. Click the pic below to see the contents.




L-R:  Air Commodore Dave Pietsch (Ret’d) and current 3 Squadron CO, Wing Commander John Haly, open the 25 year time-capsule in front of past and present members of 3 Squadron.



Then - at about 3.00pm, it was time to go, the RAAF had many little buses which couriered people back to their cars, the emu squad came out to pick up all the FOD and the Base started to get back to normal.


It was a great day, thanks to Sqn Ldr Lia Ross for organising everything and for inviting us along.



As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest. After a moment or two, the vet shook his head and sadly said, "I'm sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away." The distressed woman wailed, "Are you sure?" "Yes, I am sure. Your duck is dead," replied the vet.


"How can you be so sure?" she protested. "I mean you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something."  The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head. The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room. A few minutes later he returned with a cat. The cat jumped on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room


The vet looked at the woman and said, "I'm sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck." The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman.. The duck's owner, still in shock, took the bill.  "$150!" she cried, "$150!!!!! just to tell me my duck is dead!"


The vet shrugged, "I'm sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it's now $150.



This was our second trip to Newcastle in about a month and apart from last trip, we’ve never had a good look around. This time we were staying with John Broughton, a native of Newcastle, so we asked for, and got, a further look at this remarkable city.


We didn’t have a lot of time and as we were limited in what we could see, John insisted our first port of call should be the Beach hotel which is right on Merewether Beach. After we extracted ourselves from “The Beaches”, we headed for the memorial walkway. This was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli in 1915 and the commencement of steel making in Newcastle, it acts as a magnificent memorial to the men and women of the Hunter who served their community and their country.


The structure cost $4.5m to build and is a 450 metre long cliff top walkway that links Newcastle’s Strzelecki Lookout to Bar Beach. Built with 64 tonnes of stainless steel, the walkway winds its way around the cliff edge and offers unsurpassed views of the coastline, city and up into the Hunter Valley.







The walk features a 160 metre cliff top bridge adorned with steel silhouettes of soldiers inscribed with close to 4,000 family names of almost 11,000 known Hunter Valley men and women who enlisted during World War I as well as stories on the various military units involved in the war.


It also links to Council's Bathers Way promenade development, a six kilometre coastal walk linking Newcastle’s beaches and stretching from Merewether Ocean Baths to Nobbys Beach.




The second place of interest was the site of the fatal Sabre crash that occurred at The Junction, 50 years ago on the 17th August, 1966.


Remarkably, only one person died in the accident, the 20-year-old Pilot Officer Warren Goddard. A woman whose house was destroyed in the accident avoided injury because she was down the road at the shops. Her neighbour, whose front yard was also razed, was in her backyard.



The main section of the plane crushed a car in a backyard between Glebe Road and Kenrick Street. A crowd gathered, gazing in shock at the jet’s smouldering remains. Some mystery remains around the cause and details of the crash. A Paul Bennett told the Newcastle Herald he witnessed the crash when he was 15. “We were in a car in Darby Street at the time, it was very bright and very loud and it looked like a giant skyrocket going off. “It came screaming down.”


The Junction today.


The aircraft exploded about 100 metres above Union Street at 6pm on August 16, 1966. Because of noise abatement, the jets were not supposed to fly over Newcastle, so it was unclear how the trainee pilot ended up there. Somehow, he struck trouble. Retired Squadron Leader Jim Treadwell said in 2006 the “trainee pilot was doing his first night flight and in no time at all found himself over Newcastle and very confused”. “He went for a barrel roll to get out of trouble but basically ripped the wings off,” he said.


A coroner found nobody was to blame for the crash.


On the 16th August 2007, a Plaque was dedicated to the memory of Warren Goddard. If you’re in the area, you can see the plaque out the front of Coles in Glebe St, near the junction of Union St.


The inscription on the plaque says:  


This plaque is dedicated to RAAF Pilot Officer Warren William Goddard who lost his life when the Sabre jet fighter he piloted crashed at The Junction,   6pm 16 August 1966. Pilot Officer Goddard, age 20, manoeuvred the jet away from homes to prevent further loss of life. This area represents the main crash site.


This plaque was dedicated by The Lord Mayor of Newcastle on Thursday 16 August 2007




A blonde bought two horses and could never remember which was which. A neighbour suggested that she cut off the tail of one horse, which worked great until the other horse got his tail caught in a bush. The second horse's tail tore in the same place and looked exactly like the other horse's tail. Our blonde friend was stuck again. The neighbour then suggested that she notch the ear of one horse, which worked fine until the other horse caught his ear on a barbed wire fence. Once again, our blonde couldn't tell the two horses apart. The neighbour then suggested that she measure the horses for height. When she did that, the blonde was very pleased to find that the white horse was 2 inches taller than the black one.






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