Vol 64

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In Memory of:







Ian Johnston.


After a long illness, (Acute myeloid leukaemia), Ian Raymond Johnston died on Sunday 25th November at the Opal Gracedale nursing home in Ringwood North, Victoria. During his illness he was supported by his partner Alison Topp and sister Pam. He was 79 years old.


Ian was a CPL RadTechA and was in the first group of RTFV, arriving in Vietnam on the 29th September, 1964 and stayed until returning to Australia on the 23rd April 1965. On the 22nd October 1965, he was posted back to RTFV in Vung Tau, which became 35 Sqn on the 1st June 1966, this time returning to Australia on the 8th June 1966.


He was quietly proud of his service in Vietnam and often talked about his memories of flying as an assistant loadie whenever the opportunity arose, particularly during attachments to Nah Trang and Danang.


When the book "Suggy's Men" was being compiled, Ian was an enthusiastic contributor. He had many photographs of people and events and also had a collection of propaganda leaflets which he hoped would get published one day.


Ian had an enduring interest in radio and electronics.  As a training aid he assembled the gear used in the Caribou.  The gear he so lovingly restored is now preserved in A4-231 which is on permanent display at the Vietnam Veterans Museum at Phillip Island, Victoria.


A quiet, sincere, fun loving man who will be missed by all those who served with him.


The service to Celebrate the Life of Ian Johnston was held in the Lilydale Memorial Park Federations Chapel on Monday 3rd December, 2018


Cpl Ian Johnston and LAC John McDougall, try out their newly acquired Vietnamese on two young school girls on the beach front near the villa where the RAAF men lived back in Oct 1964.





Don Melvin.


Noel Hadfield advises the death on the 17th Sept of CPCAPT Don Melvin who was a member of No 6 Appy course and who had retired to Nambucca Heads in northern NSW. He was 82 years old.


Don passed away in the Bellinger River District Hospital at about 10.30pm on the 17th after a long battle with a series of aggressive cancers. He was one of Nature’s Gentlemen, and our condolences and thoughts go to Jacqueline at this time.




Don Long.


The Djinnang Assoc advises the passing of Don Long on the 27th September, Don was a few weeks short of his 86th birthday.


Sorry, we have no further details.




Ray Minter.


Ted Washbrook advises the sudden passing of Ray Minter who died on the 4th September. Ray was 87 years old and lived in Newcastle. His funeral was held at Pettigrew’s Newcastle Chapel on the 9th September.




Frank Rusconi.


Neil Hunter advises the passing of Frank Rusconi (2 PMGTTyMaint/53), aged 98. Unfortunately we have no further details.




Kev Taylor.


John Stewart advises the passing of Kev Taylor on the 11th November after a long illness. Kev was a member of the 3 TU Association and lived in WA. His family held a private funeral.




Joe White.


Neil Hunter advises the passing of Joe White on the 20th October.   Sorry, no further details.




Kerin ' Kerry' Charles Williams.


Peter Nelms advises the death of Kerin ' Kerry' Charles WILLIAMS, on the 3rd November, 2018 as the result of a long term, military related illness.  Kerry was a well-known and respected Mirage Engine Fitter and No 9 Sqn Vietnam Veteran Iroquois Crewman/Gunner and Engine Fitter. He was 81 years old.


L-R:  Kerin Charles Williams,  Rodney “Rodars” Adam,  Bob Kendall,  Anthony (Tony) Hill.




Bob Gardiner.


The Brisbane Courier Mail advises:  Bob Gardiner had a zest for life. While at St Joseph’s College in Gregory Terrace (Brisbane), he joined the college’s Australian Air Force Cadet programme then after school it was off to Uni to learn Dentistry, but while there he decided becoming a dentist was not for him. He joined the RAAF instead and headed off to Sale to become an Air Traffic Controller.


While in the RAAF, he rose through the ranks quickly and became a specialist air traffic controller. He served at several bases from Amberley to Penang in Malaysia, Williamtown to Darwin. In 1987, he took up the post of chief instructor and CO of the RAAF’s Air Traffic Control School in Sale. His final posting in the RAAF was in 1991 when he began working directly for Admiral Alan Beaumont, AC, who was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy, and later Chief of the Defence Force from 1993 to 1995.


After leaving the Air Force, Bob put his years of aviation experience to good use in assisting emerging nations in the Pacific and South-East Asian regions including Fiji, Vanuatu and Indonesia. He was welcomed there for his realistic teaching methods, and the design and compilation of procedure manuals. He was recognised for his friendly disposition in achieving goals that were based on good governance and world’s best practice in the aviation sphere.


Bob also undertook a special assignment given to him in this regard by the UN. He was acknowledged for his ability to build rapport with people of all ages and nationalities and was always busy throughout the year helping other people, though he also endeavoured to join old school mates for an annual fishing escape in August to Fraser Island for the annual taylor run.


Bob died of a heart attack on the 13th October, while he and wife Kay were vi siting their youngest son Daniel and his wife Natalie in Singapore to celebrate their granddaughter Mia’s first birthday. He is survived by his wife Kay and three sans Robert, Michael and Daniel. He was 74 years old.





Bert Gregory.


Neil Hunter advises the passing of Bert Gregory from a Heart Attack on Wednesday 12th December. Bert's Memorial Service was held at The Lakeside Memorial Park, Kanahooka (neat Port Kembla) in NSW on Wednesday 19 December at 2PM.


Sorry, no further details.




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