Vol 61

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In Memory of:




John Carruthers.


Mick Lawson advises the sad news that John Carruthers passed away on the 17th December. John’s funeral, which was a poppy service provided by the RSL, was held on Friday the 22nd December 2017 at Traditional Funerals 17 Anzac Avenue, Redcliffe, Qld.





Eve Hayes.


Geoff Reddish, who lives down in Launceston, advises his wife of 56 years passed away last May and left him devastated. Eve was on No 100 WRAAF rookies course and they met at Ballarat in 1960 when Geoff was on 5 Radtech and Eve was on a Telsop course.





Stanley Rackham.


Peter Lehman advises the passing of Stanley Rackham. Stan was a regular at the RMIT lunches, he died on the 17 November, aged 94.


Sorry, no further details.





Kevin Kirk.


Colin Hingston advises that WGCDR (Ret’d) Kevin Kirk had been battling several cancer ailments over the last 18 months or so. Colin says:  “He was re-admitted to the Canberra Hospital and I am saddened to advise that he passed away on the 3rd Jan 2018. He was 76 years old.



Kevin was a well known, competent, respected and experienced Engineer. He will be sadly missed. His career began as an apprentice Airframe Fitter on 14 Jan 1957 and he was Commissioned as a Pilot Officer ENGRAERO on the 14th May 65. He worked through the ranks in a variety of postings as listed HERE until he retired on 22 Jan 1985. He subsequently joined the APS and, amongst other things, was heavily involved with the Pavetack project.”


Kevin’s funeral was held on the 12th January, 2018 at Norwood Park, Mitchell in the ACT.





Terry Corbell.


John Stewart, the Secretary of 3 Telecommunication Unit Association (Inc) has reported the passing of ex-3TU member, Terry Corbell. Terry was at 3TU in the early 60s and it is understood that he died at home in Melbourne on the 2nd January, 2018. He was 80 years old.


Off Watch 540.





Wing Commander Reg Reynolds.


AVM (Retired) Bob Richardson sent us this, and although Reg was RAF and not an RAAF airman, he was involved with the RAAF during WW2 and his passing is definitely worthy of a mention here:


Wing Commander Reg Reynolds, who has died aged 98, was one of the RAF’s outstanding low-level attack pilots; he flew 89 bombing operations and was decorated for gallantry four times.


Wing Commander Reg W Reynolds (right) with his navigator, Flight Lieutenant Ted Sismore,

and a Mosquito at Marham, Norfolk, at the time of the Jena raid, 1943.


In a remarkable career, one of his most effective raids was the bombing of Berlin during the morning of January 30 1943, just as Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, was due to address a mass rally as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of Hitler’s coming to power. Goering’s speech was to be broadcast to the nation.


Early that day, three Mosquitos of No 105 Squadron, led by Reynolds and his long-serving and brilliant navigator Ted Sismore, took off from their base in Norfolk on the RAF’s first daylight bombing attack on Berlin, a round trip of 1,150 miles. Their explicit task was to drop bombs on the capital at exactly 11 am, the time at which Goering was to begin his address.


After take-off the three aircraft remained at low level and headed across the North Sea. They flew north of the Frisian Islands before turning due east. As they crossed the River Elbe they commenced a climb to 25,000 ft and headed for Berlin. The attack was delivered exactly on time, with the bombs falling near the broadcast station. The explosions could be heard over the radio.


It was reported that Goering was “boiling with rage and humiliation”, and had to postpone his speech for an hour. A few years earlier Goering had famously boasted that no enemy aircraft would ever bomb the German Reich.


The raid succeeded, despite the loss of one mosquito later in the day, and was a significant propaganda coup. It was covered extensively in the press and on the BBC news. Sismore later related: “After our return, we were able to listen to a recording of the broadcast, the announcement, an explosion, loud voices and then just martial music.” All the crews were decorated and Reynolds received an immediate DSO for his “calm courage, resolution and endurance”.


Reginald Wilfred Reynolds was born on the 6th January, 1919 at Cheltenham and educated at Clifton College. He was eight years old when a Gypsy Moth landed in a pasture near his home at Winchcombe, an event that stimulated his passion for flying. After a year working at the Gloster Aircraft Company, he joined the RAF on a short service commission in August 1937 and trained as a pilot. The following August he joined No 144 Squadron, flying the Hampden bomber. During the Phoney War he flew on shipping sweeps and after the German invasion of the Low Countries and France in May 1940 he dropped mines in the Baltic and bombed targets in Germany.


During the summer of 1940 he attacked the German invasion barges gathering in French ports. After 30 operations he was awarded the DFC and rested, spending six months instructing on a bomber operational training unit (OTU). He returned to operational flying in April 1941 to fly the Manchester, which was plagued with engine problems, on a number of bombing operations over France and Germany. Three months later he was sent as a flight commander to form the nucleus of No 455 Squadron, the first Royal Australian Air Force bomber squadron.

This involved returning to fly the out-dated Hampden on 12 more operations over Germany and to lay mines in the waters around the Netherlands and north Germany. During a further tour as a flight commander on an OTU, he flew one of the unit’s Whitleys on a bombing raid to Düsseldorf on the 31st July, 1942. Bomber Command had required a maximum effort, so experienced instructors were tasked for the operation.


Later in the year he converted to the Mosquito before joining the first squadron to be equipped with the aircraft, No 105, teaming up with Ted Sismore. Over the next nine months, Reynolds led many daylight attacks against targets in France, the Low Countries and Germany. These included railway workshops, power stations, steel plants and armament works.


On the 27th May, 1943 he led a formation of 14 aircraft to attack the Schott Glass Works and the Zeiss Optical Instruments Works at Jena, deep in the heart of Germany. It was the longest low-level daylight raid mounted by the RAF. The weather and visibility deteriorated as they approached the target surrounded by cloud-covered hills. Balloon defences protected the target and the Mosquitos encountered heavy anti-aircraft fire. As Reynolds released the bombs, his aircraft was hit by flak and one engine was damaged. He was wounded in the hand and leg and a piece of shrapnel ripped the collar of his jacket. The long journey home was spent monitoring the damaged engine and avoiding enemy defences. Reynolds was awarded an immediate Bar to his DSO and Sismore received the DSO.


In January 1944 Reynolds became a wing commander, flying operations in No 140 Wing of the Second Tactical Air Force. He continued to fly on operations and on the 31st October 1944, again flying with Sismore, he led a force of 24 Mosquitos to bomb the Gestapo HQ located in one of the buildings of Aarhus University in Denmark. The surprise attack in misty weather was delivered from low level and was a complete success. The head of the local SS was killed and one of his officers wrote: “A terrible disaster happened when our HQ was shot up by English airmen.” As the formation crossed Denmark at treetop height, many Danes waved and a farmer stopped ploughing, stood at attention and saluted as the Mosquitos swept past.


For their outstanding leadership, both Reynolds and Sismore received a Bar to their DFCs, making Reynolds one of only 30 airmen to receive two DSOs and two DFCs.


After attending the RAF Staff College, Reynolds left for Canada in September 1945. He was based at Dorval near Montreal, where he served as the wing commander in charge of operations at HQ 45 Group, responsible for ferrying aircraft across the Atlantic.


He left the RAF in January 1946 and a year later joined the Dutch airline KLM to fly Constellations on the North Atlantic route. In 1951 he returned to Canada and began a long and very varied flying career. He flew executive aircraft, charter flights to remote areas across Canada, and he also spent time as a flying instructor.


He retired to Toronto in 1983 after accumulating 22,000 hours of flying in 60 types of aircraft. In 1997 he discovered he had a half-sister. They and their families remained close and made regular trips to visit him in Canada.


Reg Reynolds married his Canadian wife Mary in 1946 and she died in 2010. Their two daughters survive him.


Reg Reynolds, born on the 6th January, 1919, died on the 25th November 2017.




Kevin Anfruns.


Noel Hatfield advises, with much sadness, the passing of Kevin Anfruns on the 6th January, 2018, after a long illness. Kevin lived in Tasmania with his partner Patti and was a member of the South Arm RSL (Near Hobart). He was on 1 Radio Appy back in 1951.


He was 87 years old.


No funeral details known.




Alan Jones


Peter Robinson advises:  “It is with regret I have to advise that our fellow 14th Intake Tulip mate, Alan (AA) Jones passed away in Adelaide on 09 Dec 17.  Alan transferred from the Navy to the RAAF late in 1960 as an apprentice.  I was unaware of his passing and it has just been confirmed.  Alan was an ElecFitter on his early discharge.  He later re-joined as a Barracks Electrician and completed over 20 years’ service. He had lived in Adelaide for a number of years.


Condolences go out to his family.


RIP Jonesy”.




Kev Beer.


Kev Maddox advises the passing of Kev Beer on the 15 Feb. He was 77 years old.


“Kev was a member of no 10 Radio Apprentice course that arrived at Frognall in 1956. He served with 10 and 11 Squadrons as well as other postings before retiring.


He will be missed by many - especially by me as he was a good mate”.


Richard Orr says:  “Kev and I joined, with about 30 others, as RAAF radio apprentices back in 1956 as members of 10 Radio Apprentice course at Frognall. We both came from the same town in Northam WA. Kev will be missed by his friends and colleagues. At this sad time, we pass our heartfelt condolences to Erin and family.


Kev was one of the youngest airmen to be appointed Warrant Officer (age 31) and was later commissioned as Radio Officer.  He Retired as a Sqn Ldr. He was married to Erin nee Murphy for 58 years, they had 2 Children Leanne and Tony who is a WOE - 33 years service and still serving.


Kev had been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in early December 2017. He had his family around him, and was peaceful in the end.


The celebration of Kevin's life was held on Thursday 22 February 2018 at Traditional Funerals, 636 Morayfield Road, Burpengary, just north of Brisbane.







Kevin Charles Paton Beer





Erle Reed.


John Stewart advises the sad news that Erle Reed recently passed away, after a long battle with a brain tumour. Erle's funeral was held on the 7th March.


Sorry – no further details.




John Richard Smythe.


Noel Hadfield advises that John passed away on Monday 5th March 2018.  Known affectionately to some as “Prof”, John joined the RAAF in 1956 as a radio apprentice on No 10 intake.  Whilst at Frognall, he followed the diploma stream but unfortunately dropped one maths subject in his final year.  The system showed no mercy in those years and thus he was removed from the diploma course and graduated as an airman, a well educated airman. He later passed his higher level Maths subject and thus had completed all of the subjects for an Associate Diploma Of Communication Engineering .   He was commissioned and retired as a Wing Commander.


Laurie Lindsay says: John was nicknamed ‘Prof’ because when he was an apprentice, he was the font of all knowledge.  When I was instructing at Radschool, if I ever got a question that I could not answer (and there were many), I would call a break and hurry over to John’s office to get the answer.  He never failed me!




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