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A call to arms.   During World War II thousands of Australians, most of them barely out of their teens, joined the Royal Australian Air Force in various capacities to defend the nation. Arthur Gately was one such young man who was thrown into the battles that raged over the South-West Pacific Islands.     Arthur Gately.

A duty done.   A summary of Operations of the Royal Australian Regiment in the Vietnam War (1965-1972)     Fred Fairhead.

Against the Odds.  Escapes and Evasions by Allied Airmen, World War II. Most of the escapes were made possible by the unselfish efforts of helpers; from the skilled men in POW camps who made civilian clothes and forged travel documents to those patriots, both men and women, in the occupied countries of Europe who gave shelter and guidance to hundreds of airmen ‘on the loose’. They gave this help unselfishly and in the knowledge that if betrayed, or caught in the act, they would face either a firing squad or torture and a one way ticket to a concentration camp. Every escaper or evader was conscious of a tremendous debt to these modest civilians, whose courage was no less than that displayed by highly decorated servicemen trained in the profession of arms.   Murray Adams.


Aircraft Technical Trade Development.  When the Technical Trade Restructure (TTR) was first conceived in the late 1980s, it was merely another step in the evolution of the Royal Australian Air Force's aircraft technical workforce. But, by the time TTR was actually implemented in 1992 it had grown into a revolution encompassing virtually every aspect of technical life, from recruiting to training to employment. The sphere of influence of the TTR eventually became enormous, affecting virtually every structural aspect of every technical and non-technical trade. To identify all the issues and ramifications of this restructure would require a great deal more research than was possible for this paper. It is therefore with regret that the author is forced, in some cases, to gloss over issues and leave several completely untouched. There should be a good deal more research conducted in this topic as there are many questions left unanswered, and much to be learned and recorded.         Wayne Jones.


Alfresco Flight.  Australia and her inhabitants have long historical links with the Antarctic continent and the sub-Antarctic islands, dating back to the days of Captain James Cook.  Aviation has also been linked with Antarctic exploration. Scott used a hot air balloon for observation purposes. But the vision of the men and the technical development of aircraft did not coincide for some two decades. It is significant that when they did, the RAAF was in the forefront of the deployment of an aerial presence over the southern continent.   David Wilson.


Always there.  A history of Air Force Combat Support.    The formation of Combat Support Group (CSG) in May 1998 did not signal a new role for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). To the contrary, combat support in one form or another has always sustained Australia’s air power. Landing grounds have always had to be maintained and defended against threats, just as aircraft spares have had to be managed and aircrews fed and kept healthy, since 1921 when the Air Force was formed and before, in the Australian Flying Corps (AFC). Although fewer in number and the systems more rudimentary—and no doubt the technology and expectations of today have increased the demand on support services and reduced their margin for error—the need for what the RAAF now calls combat support has always been present, through two world wars and numerous other conflicts in all parts of the world.  Graham O'Brien.

An Interesting Point.   A History of Military Aviation at Point Cook 1914 - 2014.   Steve Campbell-Wright.  


(An updated hard copy version of this book 2014 - 2019 is being printed now [Nov 2019] and will be available in book stores in the near future).  Look out for it.

A Navigator's tale.   Roy Shallcross enlisted in the RAAF in January 1942, volunteering for training as an Air Observer. He graduated at Nhill, with further training in Canada, Northern Ireland and Scotland and was finally transferred to No 512 S

A Soldier returns.  Terry Burstall has worked as a horsebreaker, drover, farmhand, rodeo rider and builder's labourer. In July 1965 he enlisted in the army and was posted to Vietnam eleven months later, taking part in the critical Battle of Long Tan. Burstall completed his tour of duty in 1967 and then spent three years in New Guinea managing a plantation. In 1984 he graduated with a BA from the University of Queensland and his best-selling account of a soldier's war in Vietnam, The Soldiers' Story, was published in 1986. Terry Burstall now lives in Brisbane where he has undertaken postgraduate study at Griffith University.     Terry Burstall.  

Beaufighters over New Guinea.   Beaufighters Over New Guinea, No 30 Squadron, RAAF. 1942-1943.     George Turnbull Dick.

Defeat to Victory.   Defeat to Victory is the history of No.453 Squadron. It is a comprehensive and detailed record of the Squadron’s operations in both Malaya and Europe and will evoke telling memories and feelings for all who read it, particularly for those who served in the Squadron.

John Bennett

Dicing with Death.   During the six years of World War II, thousands of Australian airmen, most of them barely on the threshold of adulthood, went dicing with death as almost a daily duty.    Arthur Sandell.

Down to Earth.    David Evans’ 42-year career in the Royal Australian Air Force began during the closing stages of World War II, then saw him flying regularly to Japan in support of occupation forces. It took him to Germany during the Berlin Airlift and to Vietnam in command of the only bomber unit which the RAAF contributed to that conflict.     David Evans.

Dreadful lady over the Mekong Delta.   Dreadful Lady over the Mekong Delta looks at the men of No 2 Squadron and the operations they flew in the Vietnam War in their Canberra bombers. From April 1967, the squadron spent four years attacking enemy targets, many of them in the Mekong Delta region and contending with the politics, weather and ‘fog’ of war. The riverine operations supported by No 2 Squadron were but a small part of an Allied effort to disrupt the enemy’s movement of troops and supplies to locations in South Vietnam. It was, according to one commentator, ‘a kind of guerrilla warfare conducted in a navy environment’.     Bob Howe.

Ex-Lutwaffe.   Squadron Leader Frank Korbl (Retd) was born in Vienna, Austria. His colourful career included wartime service with the German Air Force and post-war employment with the British NAAFI in Germany and Austria. He migrated to Australia in 1956 and joined the RAAF in 1956, being commissioned into the Equipment Branch. He served at a number of RAAF units including No.9 (Helicopter) Squadron in Vietnam. He was awarded the MBE in 1977 for his services as Senior Barracks Officer at RAAF Richmond NSW.     Frank Korbl.

From Controversy to cutting edge.   The F-111 graced Australian skies since 1973. While its introduction into service was controversial, it quickly found its way into the hearts and minds of Australians, and none more so than the men and women of Boeing.

From the Ground up.   For 45 years, from 1948 until 1993, the RAAF conducted an apprentice training scheme to provide skilled tradesmen for its engineering and radio musterings. For such a technical service as the RAAF, apprentice training was a key element in providing a solid foundation for supporting and maintaining an increasingly complex range of aircraft and other equipment systems.     C.D. Coulthard-Clark.

From Waif to RAAF.  Ted Ilton's story of his RAAF career, of his rise from a raw Teleg recruit to Wing Commander.     Ted Ilton.

Gallipoli - the first day.  Our soldiers were paddling ashore in small boats in the early morning darkness. There was a loud noise and a bright light and the soldiers guarding the beaches woke up and started shooting at our men in the boats. There was a lot of noise. Men were dying everywhere. Many soldiers got ashore and started fighting back. They must have won the fight because I saw some of them marching on Anzac Day when I was little.    Peter Condon.

How not to run an Air Force.     This account of the higher command of the RAAF during the Second World War has been written by a military professional primarily for his fellow professionals so that they might see some of the mistakes that were made by their predecessors from times past.     Norman Ashworth.

Katakana Man.   The story of the most secret of all Allied Operations in World War II in the pacific.     A. Jack Brown.

Lost without a trace.   In September 1944 a Beaufighter from No 31 Squadron, RAAF, crashed in the Northern Territory following a strike mission over Japanese-occupied Timor. Although evidence was discovered some time later that the two-man crew of the aircraft had survived the crash, no trace was ever discovered of what became of them.   Leon Kane-Maquire.

McNamara VC, a Hero's dilemma.     In March 1917 aircraft of No.1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, carried out a bombing mission against a Turkish railway in Palestine. During the attack 23-year-old Lieutenant Frank McNamara, although himself badly wounded, landed to pick up a fellow pilot who had been downed near a force of enemy cavalry.     C.D. Coulthard-Clark.

Not to be shot at or Exported.     Les Sullivan was 18 when, after one week as a primary school teacher, he enlisted in the RAAF as a technical trainee. From 1942-45 he served as a flight rigger and airframe fitter at various training and operational units in Australia. He was discharged in September 1945 and resumed his teaching career. In 1950 he graduated from University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts Degree after three years as an evening student.


February 1952 saw him back in the RAAF as an Education Officer in which category he served in a wide variety of appointments, including two years on exchange duty with the Royal Air Force.

Operation Pelican.     The RAAF in the Berlin airlift.     C.D. Coulthard-Clark.


RAAF Amberley - A History.  RAAF Base Amberley is perhaps one of the examples of our changing air force. In February 1939, the Air Board decided to establish an air base west of Ipswich, to serve the needs of the expanding RAAF. Although unappreciated at the time, it was a decision of great foresight and enduring influence.       Laraine Nelson and Joanne McAuley.


RAAF College and Academy.    The early leaders of the RAAF chose to develop the institution for training the officers of this new force as a separate college rather than an annexe to either of the existing Service colleges. In particular they sought by this means to produce an esprit de corps in welding the components of the new force into a single entity. This history records the beginning of that College and the subsequent problems and assessments which accompanied its progress. (1947 - 1986)     R.E. Frost

Radio Girl  ‘Florence Violet McKenzie should be a household name! This comprehensive retelling of her incredible and inspiring life is helping to make that so. This new biography captures her unwavering dedication in the face of adversity and the sheer force and scope of her determination. Florence Violet McKenzie is one of my Australian touchstones, and I hope through this book she will be yours too!’
Secrets Revealed75 proud years of history of 3 Squadron, 1916 - 1991.    Peter Muller and John Hutchison

Seek and Strike, 75 Sqn RAAF 1942 - 2002  This is the story of a fighter squadron in war and peace, covering a period of 60 years, from the Kittyhawks of 1942 to the F/A-18s of 2002. David Wilson has captured the capability and spirit of the Australian airman at war and in peace - their improvisation, hard work often in appalling and dangerous conditions, their larrikinism, and a healthy capacity to smell bullexcreta at a range of at least 100 nautical miles. This is much more than an account of fighter pilots and missions flown; it incorporates recollections from a wide range of members and ex-members to give a broad perspective of fighter squadron life.    David Wilson


Skylarks.   The lighter side of life in the RAAF in World War II.     Eric Brown.

Song of the Beauforts.   From the darkest days in 1941 to the last bombing raid of the war in the Pacific, Australian-made Beaufort bombers were taking the fight to the enemy. Over 700 of these aircraft were built, for reconnaissance, torpedo strike and bombing missions from bases in Australia and the South-West Pacific islands.   Colin M King.

Strategy and Red Ink.   A History of the RAAF Staff College 1949 - 1999. 

The Aerospace Centre, formerly the Air Power Studies Centre (APSC), was established by the Royal Australian Air Force at its Fairbaim Base in August 1989 at the direction of the then Chief of the Air Staff (now the Chief of Air Force).    Doug Hurst.

Swift to Destroy.  An illustrated history of 77 Squadron, RAAF.

Wayne Brown,  Andrew Cork,  Colin Foggo.


(This is a very large file and will take a little while to download)

Tactical Aircraft.     Tactical Airlift - Caribou Operations:  The End of an Era.    Robert "Chuck" Connor.

The Bushranger Story.  This story describes the development and introduction to operational service of the Royal Australian Air Force ‘Bushranger’ Iroquois helicopter gunship during the Vietnam War, a derivative of the Bell UH-1H that was unique in the world. The story graphically depicts several action events to demonstrate the need for the gunship capability and the effectiveness of the Bushranger concept, also the operational discipline and intimate teamwork necessary in very close quarters engagements with the enemy. Australian and New Zealand Air Force, Navy and Army personnel involved in these actions are also mentioned. The tale reflects appreciable credit upon the Air Force.    Brian Dirou


The History of No 2 Squadron.  The development of air power over this century has probably been the most notable technological advance in history. Australia has been part of this development as the air age shrank the world. In 1914, soon after the outbreak of war, Australian military aircraft were deployed for overseas operations. At that stage, flying units were formed as part of the army in the Australian Flying Corps. No 2 Squadron was born in Egypt in 1916, and manned by members of the Light Horse and from the first squadron of the Flying Corps that had been sent to the Middle East.       John Bennett.


The Joys and Dangers of an Aviation Pilot.  The Joys and Dangers of an Aviation Pilot is a personal account of Leigh Oxley Hindley’s experiences as a RAAF and commercial pilot. Every effort has been made to ensure the correct spelling of names and placenames, as well as the accuracy of times, dates, measurements and figures; however, given the time passed since many of these events occurred, and the sourcing of information from personal recollection, it has not been possible to completely guarantee the accuracy of every statement contained herein.


Leigh "Laddie" Hindley


The Last Shilling - more than!   This is the story of Australia’s repatriation scheme which was initiated in response to the First World War and has provided for returning service men and women for over a century. In the last quarter of that century, the repatriation system in Australia has undergone rapid and dynamic change. By 1994, the divestment of the old ‘Repat’ hospitals was already well advanced, most being absorbed into the individual state healthcare systems, with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) in consequence becoming a major purchaser (rather than provider) of healthcare for the nation’s veterans.    Professor Philip Payton


The Migrant Caper.  European migrant flights to Australia by Charter Operators 1947 - 1949.   Geoff Goodall.

The RAAF at Long Tan.    Chris Clark

The RAAF in the war in Vietnam.    The Proceedings of the 1998 RAAF History Conference.    John Mordike.

The RAAF Mirage Story.    The Marcel Dassault Mirage III came into service with the French Air Force in the late 1950's. Thirty years later variants still fly in France and places like Israel, South Africa and The Argentine; other countries seek refurbished aircraft. The Mirage has been distinguished in war service, claiming somewhere between 600 and 1 000 kills, perhaps more.     Wing Commander M. R. Susans

Two Air Forces.  Cunningham "Jock" Cassels joined the RAF in Edinburgh in September 1941, a few weeks after his 18th birthday. He was trained as a pilot and ended up in Egypt flying the Spitfire. After the war ended  he was posted to a Sunderland squadron and flew that aircraft from the base in Wales. He retired from the RAF in 1966 and still wanting to fly, joined the RAAF and was posted to 38 Sqn at Richmond, flying the Caribou. He did a tour of Vietnam with 35 Sqn and finally retired from the RAAF in January 1979.       Jock Cassels


Training Units of the RAAF.   In November 1992 it was proposed that, as part of the RAAF 75th Anniversary celebrations to be held in 1996, a complete history of each unit of the RAAF should be prepared. The concept was to produce a concise history of each unit which would also serve as a basic reference for further research, and the realisation of that concept has resulted in a unique work. Other air forces have produced a history of all operational units, but no other air force has attempted to give a concise history of every unit which was an integral part of its organisation. This booklet describes all the Training Units of the RAAF.  

RAAF Historical Section


Units of the RAAF  Operational Bases.  (1921 - 1996)  Vol 1 of 10.  This volume contains detail on the operational bases of the RAAF and the World War II Operational Base Units which undertook a vital role in maintaining Allied aircraft operating from remote localities. It describes the activities of organisations which had not previously been recognised, including the Volunteer Air Observers Corps and RAAF Maritime Sections, Wireless Units and Signals Units. Operations in support of United Nations peacekeeping tasks are also included.

Units of the RAAF  Fighter Arm. (1921 - 1996)  Vol 2 of 10.  This volume traces the development of the fighter arm (operations undertaken included Army co-operation duties, interdiction, night fighting and bomber escort duties) and the heroism of the men who inspired a nation.

Units of the RAAF  Logistics Units. (1921 - 1996)  Vol 6 of 10. This edition demonstrates the importance of efficient logistic support to the successful operation of the Air Force. It tells the story of those dedicated and professional airmen and airwomen who, sometimes under enemy fire, supplied the personal and operational necessities to enable the Air Force to meet its obligations both in war and in peace.

Units of the RAAF  Training Units. Vol 8 of 10.   In November 1992 it was proposed that as part of the RAAF 75th Anniversary celebrations to be held in 1996, a complete History of each unit of the RAAF should be prepared. The concept was. to produce a concise history of each unit which would also serve as a basic reference for further research, and the realisation of that concept has resulted in a unique work. Other air forces have produced a history of all operational units, but no other air force has attempted to give a concise history of every unit which was an integral part of its organisation. An early decision was to produce 10 'generic' volumes, each pertinent to a given function of the RAAF. Every effort has been made to remain true to this concept, although it is conceded that some arbitrary decisions have been made as to which volume a unit would best fit into.   RAAF Historical Section


Units of the RAAF  Logistics Units (1921 - 1996)  Vol 9 of 10. This volume, Ancillary Units, is designed to acknowledge the role and functions of units which could not be categorised in one or other of the functional areas. They are of no less importance, and many units had, or have, a proud record of service. The inclusion of so many units which perform such different functions demonstrates, as no other volume in this collection, the breadth and variety of RAAF activity. The expertise of the Airfield Construction Squadrons was essential for flying units to advance in the Pacific; 201 Flight explored the (then) technological frontiers of aerial electronic surveillance; and the humanitarian efforts of medical staff are valued by all members of the RAAF.

Up and Away.     When John Jacobs enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force as a 22 year-old trainee pilot in 1950, the organisation was just emerging from a period of confusion and frustration. The RAAF's remarkable expansion and inspirational triumphs of the wartime years had been immediately followed by massive demobilisation and uncertainty, as from 1946 to 1949 the Air Force was officially placed on an 'Interim' footing while the government decided what kind of defence capability it would need in a vastly changed world.     John Jacobs.

Wallaby Airlines.   Have you ever woken from a deep sleep in strange surroundings, somewhat disorientated, wondering where you are and how you got there? You shake your head and look around, fixating on some piece of furniture which looks somehow unfamiliar, analysing the position of the bed with respect to doors and windows, trying to recall the picture you went to sleep with. This is a little bit how I felt on my first day in Vietnam, transported from family and a comfortable way of life into a controversial, confusing war.    Jeff Pedrina.

Wombats - 50 Years onIn 1948 the Royal Australian Air Force instituted an apprentice training scheme for 15 to 17 year-olds to provide skilled tradesmen who could keep the Service flying. During the 45 years that the scheme operated, around 6000 young Australians graduated into the engineering and radio trade groups after three years of training, followed by two years of on-the-job training at aircraft depots and squadrons, to meet this crucial need for ground support.    Mac Weller and Ken Stone.