Vale Au Revoirs

Edward Arundel (Ted) Radford


Died 16 Aug 2023 Aged 87

It is with sad hearts that we advise our exceptional friend and colleague, Ted Radford passed away last Wednesday, 16th August, to finally escape the long burden of Parkinsons Disease. May he rest in peace. 

Edward Arundel Radford "Ted", in a group of 32 successful entrants, joined No 6 RAAF College Course on 26th January 1953. They undertook a four year course formed to provide initial and postgraduate officer training for the RAAF. The new cadet training course had the character of a modern university education, lasting four years and aiming to provide graduates with a thorough grounding in the principles of air power and the art of leadership, as well as theoretical and practical flying training. 

Ted sailed through the four years to the point that, at graduation in December 1956, Ted topped the course and won the three major trophy prizes, namely the Queen's Medal, the Sword of Honour and the Flying Trophy. 
The following is Ted's own treatise, prepared for a No 6 Course Reunion. 

Ted Radford 
During 37 and a half very enjoyable and satisfying years, I flew 28 aircraft types and a total of 4,300 hours - not many but the vast majority were pure ‘prong time’. Surprisingly, I also found my ground jobs interesting, enjoyable, and requiring patience and perseverance to achieve desired RAAF outcomes. 

My first posting ex-College was to 22 Squadron, Richmond, flying Wirraways, Vampires and Meteors. There I had a potentially career terminating event, a Meteor prang in the ditch off the Windsor end of the runway. The note in my log book says: “Inexperience, too hot, nil wind, brakes out of adjustment and low brake pressure”. The result was a compression fracture of my spine (and a more fractured aircraft) and three months off flying. However, thanks to a compassionate hierarchy, January 1958 saw me on posting to the fighter Mecca at Williamtown to undergo OTU on single Vamps, Sabre conversion, and posting to the Fast Flying Fighting Third. Later that year the squadron deployed to Butterworth — 6,000 miles via Townsville, Darwin, Biak, Guiuan and Labuan, because of an unfriendly Indonesia. 

The tour was an outstanding experience; my catch phrase being, “I can’t believe I’m being paid for doing something so enjoyable”. I was therefore unimpressed when posted to be PA to AOC Operational Command, first to Sir Valston Hancock and then Frank Headlam. Fortunately, Sir Valston was a very keen flyer and we flew two Meteors to most base inspections with me barking round his heels — but night formation VDF letdowns I could have done without.

The one big advantage was that I could choose my next two postings: RAAF Academy to finish a BSc, followed by QFI course and BFTS, with the last 15 months as CFI. There I was a member of and then led the Winjeel flying circus of two fours, which we called “The Yellow Streaks” because we ensured all the manoeuvres, while very spectacular, were designed to be ultra safe. In March 67, I was back to CFS for a jet refresher and A1 rating with Benny Raffin, the then CFI, before a Mirage conversion and a return to 3 Sqadron as flight commander and then CO - probably the best tour of my career. A great highlight was our deployment in February 69 to Butterworth, but this time more directly via Indonesia. 

In 197l, I endured Staff College —just like boarding school except we were allowed to drink and smoke! I remember Frank Quinn told me that one exercise deserved an A but this was not College policy! Three staff jobs followed: Central Studies Establishment on force structure studies, Director Joint Plans and Director Air Force Operations. 1977 saw me back to flying on F111s before Canada to their National Defence College for an absolutely marvellous year. It certainly sets the tone of a course when the Commandant in his welcome says, “This is going to be the best year of your life”. 

In 1980/81, as DG Tactical Fighter Project, I led large teams to France and the USA to evaluate the Mirage 2000, the F16 and F18, resulting in the Government’s decision to buy the F18, certainly the best choice for the RAAF. Two staff jobs, DG Manpower and Chief of Air Force Personnel then preceded an appointment as AOC Operational Command, re-titled in 1986 Air Commander Australia. The highlight was visiting all units and flying all the Command’s aircraft. 

After four plus years, it was back to Canberra to be DCAS. I would have loved to be CAS, but when the Government refused to make a decision on who was to follow Ray, I resigned to accept an offer “too good to refuse” to become Deputy Chief Executive Operations at Qantas. This was really a job very similar to that of Air Commander, except for control of a $1.7 billion budget and 17 unions to deal with. I was later a consultant for two years, visiting all Chinese airlines, securing many pilot and cabin crew training and maintenance contracts. 

In 1999, I was talked into accepting the position of Race Director for the London to Sydney Air Race, which took place over a month in March/April 2001 as an official event of Australia’s Centenary of Federation. The race itself, with 36 competitors and six support aircraft transiting 22 countries, involved long hours and little sleep, but was to all involved “the aviation experience of a lifetime”. 

I then fully retired to enjoy golf and, inter alia, running our self-managed super fund.. 

26 JAN 53 - RAAF College 
28 JAN 57 - No. 22 Squadron 
21 JAN 58 - No. 2 Operational Training Unit  
21 APR 58 - No. 78 Wing Headquarters  
17 FEB 59 - Moved Butterworth, Malaysia 
11 NOV 59 - Base Squadron Richmond  
16 NOV 59 - Headquarters Operational Command 
12 FEB 61 - RAAF Academy 
27 NOV 63 - Central Flying School 
13 JUL 64 - No. 1 Basic Flying Training School 
13 MAR 67 - No. 2 (Fighter) Operational Conversion Unit 
22 MAY 67 - No. 3 Squadron 
17 FEB 69 - Moved Butterworth, Malaya 
07 DEC 70 - RAAF Staff College 
13 DEC 71 - RAAF Support Unit Canberra 
11 JAN 77 - Headquarters Amberley 
17 AUG 78 - RAAF Attaché Washington 
20 AUG 79 - RAAF Support Unit Canberra 
15 NOV 85 - RAAF Support Unit Glenbrook 
03 FEB 90 - RAAF Support Unit Canberra 
01 AUG 90 - RAAF Support Unit Canberra (for Discharge) 

Honours and Awards: 
Officer of The Order of Australia 
Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with Clasp ‘MALAYA’ 
General Service Medal 1918-62 with Clasp ‘MALAYA’  
Australian Service Medal 1945-75 with Clasp ‘SE ASIA’ 
Defence Force Service Medal with First, Second, Third and Fourth Clasp 
National Medal with First Clasp 
Australian Defence Medal  
Pingat Jasa Malaysia  
Queen's Commendation For Valuable Service In Air (Squadron Leader) 29 June 1967 
Returned from Active Service Badge 


Died 08 Jun 2023 Aged 92



O37600 Wing Commander 
 psc an we 
19 July 1931 - 08 June 2023 
92 Years

The President and Members of the Fighter Squadrons Branch sincerely and sadly advise the passing of our good friend and colleague, Jim Treadwell (J the T).
Jim was the most recognised, friendly, competent, helpful, determined, jovial and socially adept beyond reproach among his fellow members. He is and will be sadly missed. 

A typical indication of Jim's practicality appears in this notice where Jim had already prepared it's content ahead of the inevitable day. Thus, in accordance with his wishes, we have his favourite photo above and publication of his 'Karkit Data' which follows.

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The RAAF Life and Times of Jimmy the Tread — Moth Eaten Old Fart 

Jim Treadwell (J the T) entered the RAAF as a Trainee Signaller, No 8 Flight Training (FTS) Course, on 1 October 1951. 

After successfully completing air gunnery training on Lincoln aircraft at East Sale, in December 1952, he was awarded a Signaller's Brevet graduating "Proficient with Special Distinction". 

Following graduation J the T was posted to No 11 Squadron at Pearce as a Sergeant Signaller on P2V-5 Neptune Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft. At Pearce, with the help of the local Post Master, he pressed on with Morse code from, the RAAF 22 words per minute requirement, to reach competency at a speed of 30 words per minute to qualify for a Civilian Aircraft Operator's Certificate of Proficiency. In March 1953 he was a member of the first a Neptune crew to attend the Australian Joint Anti-Submarine course at NAS Nowra. 

But as always the difficult sod, he wanted to be a pilot. After the RAAF knocked back an application to re-muster to Pilot he sold the small car he had driven across the Nulubour, with Frank Howie, and paid to learn to fly at the West Australian and NSW Aero Clubs eventually obtaining a Commercial Pilots license with an Instructor's rating. 

When the offer of a job as a Flying Instructor came along he resigned from the RAAF. His resignation was knocked back. But in April 1955 he had the good fortune to be selected for pilot training. Winning the Goble Trophy he graduated from No 21 Pilots Course "Proficient with Special Distinction" in March 1956. 

Following a three month Fighter OTU course (No 23) on Vampire Mk 30 aircraft J the T was posted to 75 Squadron flying Meteors. In January 1957 he was posted to No 77 Squadron to complete the third Avon Sabre conversion course conducted at Williamtown. 

In September 1958 he was posted to 3 Squadron and took part in operation Sabre Ferry to RAAF Butterworth. At Butterworth he served as a squadron pilot in 3, and then No 77 Squadron, during the Malayan Emergency. 

In October 1958 he married Elizabeth who produced five beautiful children. Over the period of his RAAF service she provided solid support during protracted periods associated with unaccompanied, Darwin and Ubon Detachments, a six month stint in the UK, three months in Switzerland and six months at East Sale. 

In January 1960, on return from Malaya, J the T was posted to No 2 Aircraft Depot RAAF Richmond as a Test Pilot. The job was associated with the Flight Testing of Mk 35 Vampire aircraft to confirm RAAF performance and technical standards of aircraft then being constructed by De Havilland's at Bankstown, and test flying aircraft after major maintenance at the Aircraft Depot. In July 1961, at the end of the MK 35 program, J the T qualified as an Advanced Navigator on No 16 Advanced Navigation Course at SAN. 

From Sale he was posted to No I Applied Training School RAAF Pearce as a Navigation Instructor. In addition to instructional duties over the period he shared the SAR callout duties with Bull Pratt as Navigator of the Dakota based at Pearce. 

In April 1963 J the T returned to Malaya as the No 78 Wing Navigation Officer. He served in No 78 Wing during "Confrontation" firstly on the Headquarters Staff and later in 3 Squadron. During the period he did a tour in 79 Squadron at Ubon. 

At Butterworth during Confrontation, at a time when J the T was away at Ubon, Elizabeth was told to pack ready to evacuate with her three young kids. A confronting and trying experience for her and for all concerned. {Sadly Elizabeth died early 2021 - Ed}. 

On return to Australia, in March 1965, he was posted to 76 Squadron, Williamtown, as a Squadron Pilot. 

In August 1965 J the T attended the RAF College of Air Warfare in the United Kingdom for six months training as a GD Weapons Officer. After completing the course he was posted to No 81 Wing RAAF Williamtown as the Wing Operations Officer. He completed Mirage conversion training in December 1966. 

In August 1968 he was posted to No 76 Squadron as a Squadron Pilot taking over command of the Squadron in December of that year. In June 1969 he was posted to No 77 Squadron as CO at the start of the squadron Mirage re-equipment program. In July 1970 he set up the Mirage Photo Reconnaissance arrangement within No 77 Squadron as "C" Flight Commander. 

J the T completed No 26 RAAF Staff College Course in 1972. In January 1973 he took up an appointment, within the Directorate of Aircraft Requirements Air Office Canberra, as Aircraft Requirements (Weapons). The position entailed the identification, initiation, and subsequent project management of RAAF weapon related projects within the Defence five year rolling program. He was promoted to Wing Commander in 1972 and awarded the Air Force Cross. 

After a stint as Base Operations Officer at Williamtown in January 1977 J the T resigned from the RAAF to become a farmer and later the Executive Co-ordinator of the 1985 Bicentennial Air Show. However, he re-entered the service on 1 July 1981, at the RAAFs request, to form No 26 (City Of Newcastle) Active Reserve Squadron as the founding Commanding Officer. 

In June 2007 J the T was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for Services to Veterans and their Families. 

Aviation Experience 

(a)   RAAF Observer's, Air Gunner's and W/T Operators Flying Log Book - 
   Total —1183.50hrs. 
(b)   Department of Civil Aviation Pilot's Log Book - Total — 235.25hrs. 
0   RAAF Pilots Log Book -Total — 3425.95hrs. 


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16 JUL 56 No. 75 Squadron 
18 JAN 60 No. 2 Air Depot  
18 JAN 60 Base Squadron Richmond 
10 JUL 61 No. 1 Applied Flying Training School 
08 MAR 63 No. 78 Wing 
09 MAR 65 Base Squadron Richmond 
12 APR 65 No. 81 Wing 
01 DEC 66 Headquarters Williamtown 
09 SEP 63 No. 76 Squadron 
30 JUN 69 No. 77 Squadron  
10 JAN 72 RAAF Staff College 
11 DEC 72 RAAF Support Unit Canberra 
12 JAN 76 Headquarters Williamtown 
09 DEC 76 Base Squadron Williamtown 
01 JUL 81No. 26 Squadron 

Honours and Awards: 
Air Force Cross 
Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with Clasps ‘MALAYA’ ‘MALAYSIA’ 
General Service Medal 1918-62 with Clasp ‘MALAYA’  
General Service Medal 1962 with Clasp ‘MALAY PENINSULA’  
Australian Service Medal 1945-75 with Clasp ‘THIALAND’ 
Defence Force Service Medal 
National Medal with First Clasp 
Australian Defence Medal  
Pingat Jasa Malaysia 
Returned from Active Service Badge 

Few people know that Jimmy the Tread was the originator of the well known formation advisory term: 

Mustard, Mud, Sh.. or Blood, Grit Your Teeth And Stay There!’




Died 03 Jun 2023 Aged 84



O55481 Group Captain 
 psc qfi 
08 Oct 1938 - 03 Jun 2023 
84 Years

Kevin Newton Pyke enlisted in the Air Force on 3rd January 1958 commencing an outstanding career of 30 years comprising some 5,500 flying hours in both propellor and jet aircraft - made up of some 1,500hrs instructional and some 4,000hrs in command.  

His airborne skills took him far and wide beyond the shores of Oz and on to foreign countries comprising South East Asia. 

His administrative skills placed him in postings of management; as was recognised by his posting with the responsibility of training new pilot candidates, his post as Aide-de-Camp to the Governor General and Defence Adviser, Australian High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. 

Jan 58 to Sep 58 - 1 BFTS RAAF Uranquinty NSW : : 32 Pilots Course 
Sep 58 to Apr 59 - 1 AFTS RAAF Pearce WA : : 32 Pilots Course 
Apr 59 to Dec 59 - 23 Squadron RAAF Amberley QLD 
01 May 60 - Appointed to a Commission -  
Dec 59 to Jan 61 - 76 Squadron RAAF Williamtown NSW 
Jan 61 to May 61 - 2 FOCU RAAF Williamtown NSW : : No 5 Sabre Course 
Jun 61 to May 62 - 77 Squadron RAAF Butterworth Malaysia 
Jun 62 to Jul 62 - 79 Squadron RAAF Ubon Thailand 
July 62 to Jan 63 - 77 Squadron RAAF Butterworth Malaysia 
Jan 63 to Mar 63 - 79 Squadron RAAF Ubon Thailand 
Mar 63 to Jul 63 - 77 Squadron RAAF Butterworth Malaysia 
Jul 63 to Sep 63 - 79 Squadron RAAF Ubon Thailand 
Sep 63 to Jan 64 - 77 Squadron RAAF Butterworth Malaysia 
Jan 64 to Dec 64 - 1 BFTS RAAF Pt Cook VIC 
Jan 65 to Jun 65 - CFS RAAF East Sale VIC : :  No 33 Flying Instructors Course 
Jun 65 to Dec 67 - 1 AFTS RAAF Pearce WA 
Jan 68 to Jun 69 - 2 FOCU RAAF Williamtown NSW : : No 13 Mirage Course 
Jun 69 to Nov 71 - 75 Squadron RAAF Butterworth Malaysia 
Nov 71 to Jan 74 - 2 FTS RAAF Pearce WA 
Jan 74 to Dec 74 - RAAF Staff College ACT 
Jan 75 to Dec 76 - Department of Defence ACT : : Aide De Camp to the Governor- General 
Jan 77 to Dec 78 - 2 FTS RAAF Pearce WA 
Jan 79 to Jun 79 - Joint Services Staff College ACT 
Jun 79 to Dec 80 - Department of Defence ACT 
Jan 81 to Jun 81 - RAAF Language School Pt Cook VIC 
Jun 81 to Jun 84 - Australian High Commission Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 
Jul 84 to Sep 86 - Base Squadron RAAF Williamtown NSW 
Sep 86 to Feb 88 - Department of Defence ACT 
02 Mar 88 - Appointment Terminated 

Honours and Awards: 
Air Force Cross 
Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with Clasp ‘THAILAND’ 
Australian Service Medal 1945-75 with Clasp ‘THAILAND’ ‘SE ASIA’ 
Defence Force Service Medal with First, Second and Third Clasp 
National Medal  
Australian Defence Medal  
Pingat Jasa Malaysia  
Returned from Active Service Badge 


Good and True Australian


Bill  (William Henry) Simmonds


Died 19 Jan 2023 Aged 92

Air Vice Marshal 
25 Oct 1930 - 19 Jan 2023 
Age 92yrs

Bill was born and educated in Perth and began his RAAF career as a cadet on the first course at RAAF College Point Cook on 21 Apr 1948. His first flight was in a Tiger Moth June 1950. 

On College graduation 12 Dec 1951 he was appointed to a Commission and the presentation of Wings from PM Robert Menzies.  

He was posted to 77 Squadron in Korea in April 1952. After less than a two week jet operational conversion to the Meteor at the Squadron’s base in Iwakuni, Japan, he began operations, mainly in the ground attack role. While the squadron was very successful in this role its vulnerability to intense ground fire was very high, and 42 pilots and nearly 60 aircraft were lost overall in the war. 

Operating from Kimpo with a large number of allied fighters on 8 May, Bill engaged a MIG over the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, and shot it down; the last Australian to do so in combat. For this he was awarded an MID. He was also awarded a USA Air Medal, the citation reading: 

  • ‘Pilot Officer William H. Simmonds distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial combat as the pilot of a Meteor aircraft, flying missions against the enemy in Korea from 24 April to 10 May 1952. Despite intense enemy ground fire and adverse weather conditions these attacks, at dangerously low levels, were pressed home with vigor. His superior flying ability aided greatly in the successful completion of these assigned missions. As a result of his valor, proficiency and devotion to duty on these occasions, he has reflected great credit upon himself, his comrades in arms of the United Nations and the Royal Australian Air Force.’

On his return to Australia Bill flew Mustangs and Vampires with 25 SQN in Pearce for a short period, and was then selected for exchange duty with the RAF. He served with 20 Squadron for two years flying the Canadair Sabre Mk4 at Oldenburg in Germany, returning to Australia as our most experienced Sabre pilot. 

He then spent periods in RAAF Training Command, a posting to No. 78 Wing to fly Avon Sabres at Butterworth in 1959 for three years followed by a posting as a weapons pilot at Aircraft Research and Development Unit. 

After completing RAAF Staff College No 18 Course in 1964, Bill was posted to the staff of the USAF Academy, followed by a joint intelligence staff appointment in Canberra. 

He returned to 77 squadron in June 1969 as commanding officer following his conversion to the Mirage. For the RAAF Golden Jubilee displays, the squadron formed the first Mirage Aerobatic team, named the Deltas. The team leader was Bruce Grayson, and Bill flew one of the two solos at displays around Australia. 

After staff postings at Headquarters Williamtown, RAAF Academy and Air Force office in 1979, he was appointed to command RAAF Williamtown, where he served until his promotion to AVM in October 1981 when he moved to Butterworth as the Commander of the Integrated Air Defence System in Malaysia/Singapore. 

He returned to Canberra in 1985 to be appointed Chief of Air Force Operations and Plans, where he served until his retirement in May 1987. 

Postings - (Defence Records
21-Apr-48 RAAF College 
14-Jan-52 No. 78 Wing Headquarters 
4-Apr-52 Emplaned Mascot 
6-Apr-52 Deplaned Iwakuni, Japan 
6-Apr-52 No. 77 Squadron, Korea 
23-Oct-52 Emplaned Iwakuni, Japan 
25-Oct-52 Deplaned Darwin 
26-Oct-52 Base Squadron Pearce 
15-Jan-53 Overseas Headquarters, London 
23-Feb-53 Headquarters 2 nd Tactical Air Force 
12-Apr-55 Base Squadron Pearce 
26-Apr-55 Air Armament School 
6-Feb-56 RAAF College 
3-Feb-58 Headquarters Training Command 
14-Sep-59 Headquarters Support Command 
3-Dec-59 No. 78 Wing Headquarters, Butterworth Malaya 
13-Feb-62 Base Squadron Richmond 
20-Feb-62 Aircraft Research and Development Unit 
20-Jan-64 RAAF Staff College No 18 Course 
25-Jan-65 RAAF Attaché Washington 
22-Jul-67 RAAF Support Unit Canberra 
9-Jun-69 No. 77 Squadron 
10-Jan-72 Headquarters Williamtown 
13-Jan-75 RAAF Academy 
24-Jan-77 RAAF Support Unit Canberra 
9-Jan-79 Headquarters Williamtown 
6-Oct-81 Headquarters Butterworth, Malaysia 
20-Dec-84 RAAF Support Unit Canberra 
13-May-87 Base Squadron Fairbairn (for Discharge) 

Honours and Awards: 
Officer of The Order of Australia 
Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with Clasps ‘MALAYA’ ‘KOREA’ 
General Service Medal 1918-62 with Clasp ‘MALAYA’ 
Korea Medal 
United Nations Service Medal – Korea 
Defence Force Service Medal with First, Second, Third and Fourth Clasp 
National Medal with First Clasp 
United States of America Air Medal 
Mention in Dispatches 
Returned from Active Service Badge 





John (Jake) Newham


Died 27 Dec 2022 Aged 92

Air Marshal John William "Jake" NewhamAC (born 30 November 1930), a retired Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He served as Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) from 1985 until 1987. Joining the RAAF in 1951, he flew Gloster Meteor jets with No. 77 Squadron in the Korean War in 1953, and subsequently de Havilland Vampires with No. 78 Wing on garrison duty in Malta. From 1958 to 1960, he served with No. 3 Squadron, operating CAC Sabres during the Malayan Emergency. He took charge of No. 3 Squadron in 1967, when it re-equipped with the Dassault Mirage III supersonic fighter. His commands in the early 1970s included the Aircraft Research and Development UnitRAAF Base Laverton, and No. 82 Wing, the last-mentioned during its first years operating the long-delayed General Dynamics F-111C swing-wing bomber. He was appointed Deputy Chief of the Air Staff in March 1984, and CAS in May the following year. His tenure as CAS coincided with the release of the Dibb Report on Australia's defence capabilities, and the controversial transfer of the RAAF's battlefield helicopters to the Australian Army. Jake retired from the Air Force in July 1987 and became a company director.

RAAF GD Pilot 77 Sqn

Died 13 Mar 2020 Aged 92

06356 John Alex Seaton MBE 
21 Apr 1927 - 13 Mar 2020 
Age 92 years

It is with great sorrow and respect but with pride and fondness that we salute our good friend and colleague, John Seaton who passed away peacefully. John was just eight (8) Days short of his 93rd year. 

John Alex Seaton, born 1927 in Launceston, Tasmania. Applied to join RAAF at the start of the Korean War, 1950, whilst working for Shell in Territory of Papua New Guinea, but was not accepted until his Shell contract was completed in early 1951. 

Commenced flying training with No 8 Pilots Course in January 1952 at Archerfield Queensland (No. 1 ITS) and then onto Uranquinty, NSW (No 1 BFTS) then Point Cook (No 1 AFTS). Graduated December 1952. 

On graduation John was posted to No 2 (F) OTU, Williamtown. Operated on P51 Mustang and Mark 30 Vampire before posting to No 77 Squadron, to Iwakuni, Japan and then on to Korea on Mk 8 Meteors. 

Completed 49 missions before Armistice on July 27, 1953. Remained in Korea until October 21, 1953, then posted to Iwakuni to assist Gus Goy at Conversion Unit. 

Posted back to Australia on November 7, 1953. Long leave until February 10, 1954 then to No. 11 FIC at East Sale. Graduated QFI June 7 of that year and posted to No. 1 BFTS, Uranquinty as instructor on DH82, Tiger Moth and Wirraway. 

After 18 months at ‘Quinty’ John was posted to Antarctic Flight on November 14, 1955. Six weeks at Pt. Cook on Beavers and Austers (wheels, skis and floats) then down to Antarctica December 26, 1955. 

He spent 15 months away from Australia, 12 months at Mawson doing wide range of flying duties like photographic, transport of personnel, exploration, depot laying, etc. Whilst on an exploratory photographic flight on November 28 1956 he had the amazing good fortune to find the Lambert Glacier, the largest glacier in the world. 

Three months leave on return from Antarctica, then posting to 75 Squadron, Williamtown June 18, 1957. 

Joined Qantas at end of 1957. Six years employment including two and a half years in TPNG, followed by three and a half years on B707 out of Sydney. 

To General Aviation in 1964 operating out of Sydney, then to Solomon Islands in October 1966 as Chief Pilot and General Manager until 1977. 

Flew part-time with Aquatic Airways at Palm Beach until June 1985. 

Last flight in command June 16 1985 in a Cessna 150 at Warnervale, NSW thus ending the profession of flying having flown 27 different types of aircraft over 34 years.  

After the career in aviation he was employed in the building industry and in small business management, retiring finally aged 72. 

In addition to his MBE, he was also awarded the Polar Medal and the Air Medal (US). 

No 8 Pilots Course                       RAAF Base Mawson

Rest In Peace John Seaton 
Good and True Australian





Died 24 Feb 2020 Aged 96

A celebration of Laddie's life will be held on Thursday 12 March in the Activity Room of the Independent Living Centre (opposite the cafe) at Goodwin Retirement Village,  35 Bonney Street, Ainslie from 2:30 pm.

Leigh “Laddie” Hindley grew up in the 1930s in Goulburn, NSW. Finishing school in 1941, Laddie decided to join the Australian Imperial Force and was sent to Victoria to start aircrew training.

He was then posted to the Elementary Flying School base at Temora where he learned to fly on the DeHavilland Tigermoth. He then went to Uranquinty for further pilot training, where he began flying the Wirraway trainer. Four months later in 1943 he passed the training course and was given his pilot wings and the rank of Sergeant.

He then went to Mildura for the Operational Training Unit (OTU) where he learnt to fly his first fighter – the P-40 Kittyhawk. He gained skills such as dive bombing, strafing and dogfighting. After he was qualified on the P-40 Kittyhawk he was assigned to 80 Sqn at Townsville.

In February 1944 the squadron was deployed to the Pacific Campaign in Papua New Guinea. Laddie came face to face with the horrors of war and losing friends.  He participated in many bombing missions and combat air patrols which inflicted damage to the well entrenched Japanese military.  In November 1944 his posting to the squadron ended and he was transferred to RAAF Point Cook to be trained as an instructor.

Post war, he was sent to RAAF base Richmond to join the Test and Ferry flight unit. New NAA P-51 Mustangs were being sent to RAAF units in Horn Island and Borneo. Laddie flew these some of the Mustangs to their new units.  He then joined a fighter affiliation unit at RAAF base Tocumwal until the wars end in September 1945.  Post war he did a 5 year electrical trades course.

In 1951 the RAAF advertised for aircrew and Laddie again leapt at this opportunity to return to the skies. He was given refresher training and posted to 87 Sqn Photo Reconnaissance RAAF base Fairbairn, Canberra. He flew missions taking photos for mapping and surveys in NSW and WA.

In 1951 he was posted to an exchange RAF unit in Singapore where he undertook more command training.

He returned to WA after finishing the exchange and did more Mosquito photo work, including around PNG. In 1953 the squadron was decommissioned and Laddie returned to RAAF base East Sale for more flying instructor work. He was reposted to his former airfield of Uranquinty to train new pilots. By 1956 he had done further administration work as Officer in Charge of aircrew training in Victoria and had also completed some more flying at Tocumwal.

In late 1961, Laddie took up training on the new UH-1B Iroquois/Huey helicopter then being introduced into RAAF service.  He was posted to RAAF Amberley for initial training and went to the USA to learn how to fly the Huey. In 1962 he returned to Australia to 9 Sqn at RAAF Fairbairn. Training was conducted for aircrews on the new helicopters and they soon proved their worth in rescuing people from flooded towns and helping with civil repairs.

By 1964 the war in Vietnam was heating up and Laddie submitted a plan to train RAAF aircrew in case they were to be sent to the warzone.  Hueys and their crews went to PNG and Malaysia for tropical training. He was then posted to 5 Sqn at RAAF Butterworth On returning home he was again back to 9 Sqn.

With the war escalation in Vietnam, the Hueys went to provide support for the Army. Laddie was sent to South Vietnam in 1966.

The most common role was moving of troops around the province and assisting the SAS on insertions and extractions. He was present at the Battle of Long Tan and was part of the RAAF air support to D Company, 6 RAR who were fighting the Viet Cong. He and other pilots dropped off supplies and ammunition to ground troops. He completed his tour of South Vietnam and retuned to RAAF Fairbairn as flight commander. In December 1967 he was tasked to search for then Prime Minister Harold Holt, missing in the ocean off Victoria.

Laddie retired from the RAAF in February 1968 and did his CPL licenses. He was much in demand due to his extensive helicopter flying experience and went to fly in PNG. For the next 9years he flew in PNG as a contracted pilot moving geologists/mine staff around for mine surveys, ferrying parts and supplies around in helicopters such as the Bell 47, Bell 206 and Lama.

In 1978 he returned to Australia flying around NSW and WA doing varied missions in Hughes 500. In one task he flew to Witternoon, WA where he landed, unknowingly in an asbestos dust cloud stirred up by the rotor downwash. He finished flying in Australia in 1981 and again went to fly in PNG for the Police Dept where had dangerous and tough missions.  He left the PNG Police work and was back into mining support from 1986 until 1989 when he finally ended his flying career, at age 66. The end saw over 18,000 hours plus many varied aircraft and helicopter types in his log books.

Laddie’s book “The Joys and Dangerous of an Aviation Pilot” was written at nearly 90 years of age and is extremely candid and powerful with very interesting insights into how dangerous and intense wartime and civil flying can be. The book published by the Office of Air Force History, was a winner of the 2012 RAAF Heritage Award. This is an amazing outcome, for when it is considered that at a younger age Laddie never had an ambition to ever become a pilot.


Died 24 Jan 2020 Aged 93


O2774 Squadron Leader 
18 Jun 1926 - 24 Jan 2020 
Age 93 years

It is with great sorrow that we report the passing of our good friend and colleague 'Dinny' O'Brien who passed away last Friday after an extended period of health and medical challenges which he unabatedly addressed with determination and purpose. 

Brief Service Timeline 
1944 - Joined RAAF July 
1945 - Served at 8OTU Parkes NSW to Dec 45, 
1946 - Crew Conversion Unit & 75 Sqn WLM, 
1947 - Fitter 2A (Airframe Fitter) Course 
1948 - 81 Wing BCOF Japan to Dec 48, 
1950 - 77Sqn Japan/Korea Jul 50 - Oct 51, 
1951 - 2OCU & 481Sqn WLM 
1954 - Promoted SGT, 78 Wing and 2 OTU 
1957 - OTS Rathmines  
ARDU & CAC to Dec 60, 
Mirage Project Paris Jan 61 to May 64, 
2OCU/75/481 Sqns WLM - Aug 69, 
75 Sqn Butterworth - Sep 70 
1977 WLM - Sep77 Resigned 

Vincent Joseph O’Brien, known to the world as “Dinny”, a nickname he was given when he first arrived at Williamtown in 1946, was born in 1926 at Cowra, New South Wales. 

After leaving school he joined the local Air Training Corps in 1942 and remained a cadet until joining the RAAF at Sydney on 18 July 1944 Basic (Rookie) Training, initial Engineering & Trade Training (Flight Rigger) was completed at Cootamundra, Adelaide and Ascot Vale. 

First Operational posting was to No 8 OTU, Parkes, NSW, working on Spitfires until the end of WWII. After a brief period at No 5 SFTS, Uranquinty, was posted for discharge to Bradfield Park, Sydney. Signed a two year contract to serve in the Interim Air Force then posted to 31 Squadron, Williamtown which was abandoned and he was transferred to Crew Conversion Unit (CCU) to work on Mosquito, Wirraway & Mustang aircraft in March 1946. Remained at Williamtown until May 1947 then completed Fitter 2A (Airframe Fitter) course at Wagga. 

Shortly after returning to Williamtown was posted to 481 (M) Squadron at Bofu and Iwakuni, Japan, as a member of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) where he remained until December, 1948. Whilst in Japan Interim Air Force contract expired and was “conned” into joining Permanent Air Force (PAF) for twelve years. Returned to Williamtown and remained with No 78 Wing until posted to No 77 Squadron at Iwakuni, arriving on 7 July 1950. Dinny’s tour of duty was fifteen months after which he was posted back to Williamtown in November 1951. 

Went over on the Westralia, landed at Labuan, Iwakuni and Bofu for 3 months. They went to Tokyo month around doing guard duty, which was great fun, the Yanks taught them how to march. It was the 65th Infantry Battalion of the USA Army. 

While with 77 Squadron he served at Pohang, Hamhung, Pusan and Kimpo in both North and South Korea, working on Mustang, Meteor and DC 3s. Promoted to corporal in November 1950 while at Hamhung. Returned to Williamtown, per the Kanimbla which was like a cattle truck – absolutely terrible, to 78 Wing and 2 OTU, 
and promoted to sergeant in November 1954 and remained there until posted to Officer Training School, at Rathmines in September 1957. 

Postings after being commissioned included ARDU and 21 Squadron at Laverton then RESENG CAC, Fishermans Bend, Melbourne. In January 1961 he was posted to the staff of the Mirage Project and remained with the project in Paris until returning to Williamtown in July 1964. The remainder of Dinny’s service with the exception of a tour as SENGO 75 Squadron, Butterworth, Malaysia in 1969/70, was spent at Williamtown at various Units including 2OCU, 75 and 481 Squadrons. Dinny took early retirement in September 1977 , having served for thirty three years. 

Dinny married in April 1950 ten weeks before going to Korea. His son Craig was born at Newcastle in November 1952 and daughter Jane was born in July 1962 at Paris, France. He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1974 and awarded the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977.  

One of Dinny’s claims to fame is that he was one of the few ENGOs not to be posted to HQSUPCOM, HQOPCOM or Air Office but he did enjoy many attachments to Darwin, Townsville, Bali, Sale, Wagga, Learmonth etc. and rounded off his Air Force career with two years in the RAAFAR at Williamtown 1981/1983 as DCO during the formation of No 26 Reserve Squadron. 

Interview by Dr Chris Clark - Corporal Airframe Fitter No 77 Squadron RAAF, Korea 1950-1951 

Rest In Peace Dinny O'Brien 
Good and True Australian


Died 27 Nov 2019 Aged 78

Jan Staal was born in Holland and his family immigrated to Australia when he was 10 years old.

After completing his education, he joined Qantas in 1959 but then transferred to the Air Force in 1961 and graduated from No. 41 pilot’s course in 1962.

John was in the initial Caribou contingent to Vietnam which was then RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam and later become 35 Squadron RAAF.

John, along with his aircrew mates, was awarded the United States Air Medal for conspicuous flying achievements during the war.

In 1969 he graduated with Distinction from the Advanced Navigation Course and in 1979 was promoted to Squadron Leader and appointed CO of TSF Butterworth which carried out  support operations including the evacuation of the Australian Embassy during the fall of South Vietnam.

John was then posted to Pont Cook and lectured at the RAAF Academy before being promoted to Wing Commander and appointed CO of 35 Squadron based in Townsville flying both the Caribou and UH-1H in support of Army Operational Deployment.

He was then posted to Canberra as Senior Air Force Planner for Joint Policy and promoted to Group Captain in 1982 and was posted to Williamtown as Commandant of the Joint Warfare Establishment developing policies and training for Navy, Army and Air Force operations.

John retired in 1984 and commenced a business career in Bathurst  and in 1995 joined Rockwell as General Manager of Avionics and Communications and later appointed General Manager of that Division and then appointed Managing Director of Rockwell Aerospace and Defence, Australia.

He retired in 2001 and became very active in supporting the veteran community and was President of the Air Force Association (NSW) from 2012-2014.

John viewed command as an honour and a privilege to be of service to Australia and mates regardless of rank.




RAAF GD Pilot 77 Sqn, 9 Sqn, 5 Sqn

Died 03 Sep 2019 Aged 90

FROM RAAF pilot in three wars to a flying religious minister in the Australian bush, Bob MacIntosh became widely known and respected across many communities.

He flew Meteor fighter planes in South Korea and Iroquois helicopters in the Malaya and Vietnam conflicts, and was also involved in many peacetime emergencies.

Bob grew up in the Sydney suburb of Northmead, where his father was a public works engineer. He won a scholarship to Kings College before starting an engineering degree.

However, Bob had been bitten by the flying bug and because of the prohibitive cost of private lessons decided to join the RAAF in October 1951.

Helped by his aptitude for maths, he quickly progressed through pilot training, flew Vampires and Mustangs, and within 18 months was training in Meteors in Japan.

Bob arrived in South Korea in May 1953 and the war was “called off” in July. But in two months he flew many sorties with 77 Squadron.

He said North Korea’s MiG-15s were superior to the Meteors, especially at altitude. This meant the Meteors were mainly used for their accuracy against ground targets.

Back in Australia, he married Jenny, whom he had met before going to South Korea. He then trained in Iroquois helicopters in the US and saw action in counter-insurgency operations in Malaya.

He was among pilots who went straight on to Vietnam where he was involved in two key engagements among his many sorties.

At the Battle of Long Tan in 1966, he was kept grounded as the “dust off” helicopter, despite the desperate need to resupply our troops.

One of his fellow pilots dropped ammunition at the 11th hour, saving them from annihilation.

Instead, he flew in that night under pitch black conditions guided by the light of a single pencil torch to pick up the most badly wounded.

In Operation Bribie the following year, Australian troops landed unaware on a hornets’ nest of Viet Cong and were badly outnumbered.

Bob’s Iroquois was among the “racetrack” of helicopters which flew in under heavy fire to evacuate the surviving soldiers, including 27 wounded.

At one stage a sitting duck on the ground, Bob said it helped that the Viet Cong had been trained to aim in front of helicopters. His is now at the Australian War Memorial.

Bob returned to Australia to train helicopter pilots. Previously, they had been sent to the US so Bob had to write the syllabus from scratch, have it certified, and train pilots all at the same time. He was awarded an Air Force Cross in 1969 for this work, one of his 16 war and peacetime decorations.

Bob used his Vietnam experience plucking wounded soldiers from the jungle by cable and winch to rescue survivors from the roofs of houses.

He had started out in South Korea as an agnostic, but the constant ground fire and tracer bullets was a factor in his reading the Bible from cover to cover, and having often fiery arguments with the padres.

By the end of that war he had adopted non-denominational religious beliefs. Jenny was a practising Anglican but that church’s refusal to give him communion led him to adopt the Uniting Church.

When he reached 50, the mandatory retirement age for flying wing commanders, Bob studied at theology college. His first posting at Bordertown did not start well. His lesson on Jonah and the whale was met with outrage from the conservative parish which believed in the tale’s literal truth. Over the next three years they were reconciled and eventually came to admire their preacher.

When the church sought a minister/pilot for Meekatharra, an enormous parish in WA that had its own plane, Bob and Jenny took up the challenge.

They spent 10 years serving the needs of small towns, stations, mines and Aboriginal communities across the northwest of Australia.

After his second retirement, Bob became deeply involved in the veterans community, was vice-president of the RAAF Association in SA and president of its Mitcham branch.

He received a medal of the Order of Australia in 2015 for his work in the community.

He is survived by Jenny, four children, 15 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

RAAF 417912 Aircrew

Died 03 Nov 2018 Aged 95

From His son Gary:
Sad to report that Dad died at 10.20am Sat 03Nov aged 95 and a week short of 5 months. He will never get his much anticipated letter from the Queen for his 100th.
Allan had an AMAZING life. Lacrosse player at International Level; promoter and supporter of Women’s Lacrosse (in the late 1950’s); RAAF hero (although he wouldn’t advertise that) who completed 64 operations with the Path Finder Force when most managed less than 5; awarded DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross), Order of Australia Medal (OAM), Member of Legion of Honour and two Polish medals - Officers Cross Order of Polonia Restituta and Gold Cross of Merit with Swords; Pioneer Aerial Survey operator who mapped most of South Australia and was regarded internationally as one of the best in the field; his expertise helped Reg Sprigg in the establishment of SANTOS, a major gas and oil producer in Australia; champion of the aboriginal culture (he was given an aboriginal name by the Pitjantjatjara - garyku ); print and TV model and actor; character on the ground-breaking soapy TV program ’Number 96’; international aircraft salesman; diplomat (he pioneered relations between the German Fighter Aces Adolph Galland and Wolfgang Falk and the Bomber Command Community) and as a result was awarded Lifetime Membership of the German Nightfighter Force Association; he helped establish Path Finder Force Association Clubs in Adelaide (first outside the UK), Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland (President for Life) and for his efforts was awarded his OAM; established the Young Pathfinder Award for the most outstanding crew member at RAAF Amberley, now in its 28th year, and was a major donor to the Queensland Air Museum (QAM) at Caloundra for new display facilities. He retired at 55, but at the time was an operations manager for a helicopter company and by himself navigated to and cut undergrowth in Far North Queensland for chopper pads. Toowoomba-born Don Bennett established the Path Finder Force of Bomber Command in WWII and on his death the mantle of ‘guru’ about the force passed to Allan. His encyclopaedic memory coupled with an extensive library made him the ‘go-to’ for any Pathfinder questions. Don and his wife Ly, were great personal friends and subsequent to both of their deaths, most of their Air Force memorabilia passed to Allan and is now stored in the QAM. He was selfless with his time and expertise and mentored many. His like will not pass this way again …
Always interested in other people, he has donated his body to Science at the University of Adelaide.  Consequently there will be no funeral. However, with respect to his long life, diverse interests and being the city of his birth, there WILL be a Memorial Service to be held in Adelaide within the next 4-6 weeks. We are working out the details and will advise in due course.
But his spiritual home is assuredly with the RAAF and Young Pathfinders at Amberley Air Base, and we hope to have another Ceremony there in due course, but that we suspect will be much further in the future.
His RAAF Record/History
In December 1941 Allan enlisted in the RAAF as Aircrew Reserve. Six months later he was in Uniform and in Training at the RAAF’s No.30 Course Aircrew Intake at Victor Harbor.
• In May, 1943, a month before his 20th birthday, his overseas service commenced when he sailed on the troop ship USS Vernon to San Francisco – then train across America to Camp Miles Standish, a huge military training camp in the state of Rhode Island.
• Two weeks later they boarded the HMT Queen Elizabeth to cross the Atlantic heading to the UK. It was a dangerous crossing for any allied ship during those years.
• Nearly 11 months of training in the UK followed - many lives were lost in aircrew training before they even commenced their wartime operations – one such casualty was Allan’s best mate from his 30 Course days, fellow South Australian Jackie Thomas. Also during this time, his fiancé Pat’s brother Mervyn Smart, a Wellington bomber pilot, was killed on one of his very first Operations. The reality of the so called ‘adventure’ was hitting home.
• Finally he was posted to Operations in May 1944 – to 35 PFF Squadron at Graveley, England. He was nearly 21 and now a Flight Sergeant with the Path Finders of RAF Bomber Command. His crew was known as ‘R for Roberts’ named in honour of their 30 year old pilot, Victorian Roy Roberts, whose skills and strength enabled them to get home safely after receiving extensive damage to their Lancaster bomber – not once, but many times.
• Memorable amongst these incidents were the Night Operations over Hamburg in July 1944 where their Lanc was continually attacked by fighters and flak for one and half hours whilst on three engines. And in August 1944, as Deputy Master Bomber on a raid over the French target of Prouville’s V-1 Rocket site, they eventually came home on two engines after being hit repeatedly and in these conditions they had to hold accurately over the target for many minutes several times.
• Allan flew 64 Operations over the next 7 months – as an Observer (Navigator), ending his operational service as a Flying Officer.
• He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1945 for “complete disregard of personal safety and .... determination to hit the exact aiming point”
• Postwar he helped establish the first Pathfinder Association outside the UK in South Australia and subsequently Queensland.
• As a result he became great friends with his 'ex-boss' Air Vice Marshal Donald Clifford Tyndall Bennett, CB, CBE, DSO and his wife

GD Pilot 77 Squadron

Died 05 Sep 2018

Vale Hartley Vivian Shearn  DFC  AFC

Viv Shearn enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force on 18 July 1940 in Perth.  He embarked for Canada to complete training as a pilot on 27 November 1940. 

After gaining his Pilot’s Wings he was sent to the United Kingdom arriving in May 1941.

After completing operational training he was posted to 457 Squadron flying Mk1 and later Mk 5B Spitfire aircraft.  He left 457 when the Federal Government recalled a group of pilots, headed by ‘Bluey Truscott, to form 75, 76 and 77 Squadrons.  This was in March 1942 after the Japanese had attacked mainland Australia by bombing Darwin.

On his return to Australia Viv Shearn became an original member of 77 Squadron in Perth.  The Squadron initially operated from what had been part of a local golf course and is now Perth Airport.

In July 1942 he moved north, initially to Darwin, and then on to Milne Bay and Goodenough Island with 77 Squadron. 

In 1944 he returned to Australia and was posted as a Test and Ferry Pilot to No 1 Aircraft Depot at Laverton.

in November 1952, after the outbreak of the Korean War, Viv was posted to Iwakuni and Korea.  After an operational tour in Korea he returned to Australia in July 1953.

Over the next five years Viv was associated with the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) at Laverton and the Air Trials Units at Edinburgh and Woomera. 

In the 1960 period he became involved with the Maritime World as a P2V5 Neptune skipper with No 11 Squadron at Richmond.

Viv Shearn left the RAAF after a distinguished flying career in October 1970.  His Honours and Awards include:  Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Force Cross, 1939-45 Star, Air Crew Europe Star, Pacific Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45, Australian Service Medal 1939-45, Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with Clasp Korea, Korea Medal, Australian Defence Medal, Air Efficiency Award and Returned from Active Service Badge.

Viv’s DFC citation is as follows:
Flight Lieutenant Shearn joined 77 squadron on 19 December 1952 and since that date has flown 157 missions. For the greatest part of his tour, his appointment has been that of Flight Commander. This officer has planned and led many successful attacks against the enemy. The thorough manner in which he has assessed every detail of the impending raid has enabled his formations to hit heavily defended targets with the minimum of loss. On the 5th June 1953, this officer planned and led an attack by 16 aircraft against an anti-aircraft training battalion, far into enemy territory. The target consisted of nine 76mm anti-aircraft guns, three heavy machine guns, and a considerable quantity of small arm weapons and 32 buildings. Flight Lieutenant Shearn personally selected as his target the anti-aircraft pits and attacked them first with such success that the remaining 15 aircraft attacked the target and evaded without any aircraft receiving damage. The final assessment revealed that 30 buildings and several gun emplacements had been destroyed. Flight Lieutenant Shearn’s eagerness to fly on operations has been a fine example and inspiration to his fellow pilots and reflects great credit on himself and the Royal Australian Air Force.

Vale Viv Shearn 
Good and True Australian



Died 05 Aug 2018 Aged 93



Fred was a liked and well-respected man, a great pilot and officer. A brief summary of his career: 

Fred joined the RAAF 1943, served in 77 Sqn 1945; 

British Commonwealth Occupation Force (77 Sqn) 1946-49; 
77 Sqn Korea 1950-51 (awarded US Air Medal 1950); 

Aircraft Research &Development Unit, Woomera, SA, 1951-54 (test pilot flying Pika for Jindivik Project); 

On exchange with USAF 1954-55, served with 479 Fighter Wing flying F-86F and F-100A; 

Commanding Officer 3 Squadron (Sabres) 1956-57; 

Attended RAAF Staff College 1958; 
Personnel staff 1959, then involved on Mirage Project 1962; 

Commanding Officer 20CU 1963-65; 

Deputy Director of Operational Requirements 1965-66; 

Air Attache Paris 1966-67; 

Air Staff Officer, Butterworth 1968-71; 

Attended Royal College of Defence Studies, London, 1972; 

Director General Personnel Air Force 1973-76; 

Officer Commanding RAAF Williamtown, NSW, 1976-77; 

Air Officer Commanding Support Command 1977-79; 

AVM Barnes was Deputy Chief of the Air Staff from 1979-1981. 



Vale Frederick William Barnes 

Good and True Australian



Click here for profile 

O22222 Pilot

Died 01 May 2018 Aged 91

With deep gravity we mourn the passing of our wonderful friend and colleague, Milt Cottee. 
Milt died this morning, 1st May 2018, in Claire Holland Hospice Canberra, after a long battle with liver cancer. 

Milt spent a brief period in the RAAF from 1944, but was discharged as the War ended. While at Sydney University he rejoined for pilot training, receiving his wings at East Sale in 1949. On posting to ARDU the perplexed CO Gel Cuming sent him and fellow pilot Ray Trebilco to a series of operational units to 'gain enough experience for test pilot training'. 

Following 18 hours of Mustang conversion at 21 Squadron, Milt was posted to 77 Squadron at Iwakuni Japan. It was planned to soon return to Australia, but when war broke out in Korea, Milt was on the first Mustang mission in South Korea. 

After 50 Mustang missions he moved back to Sale for QFI training, and then to 22 Squadron Sydney, where he instructed on Wirraways and Mustangs, and later flew the Vampire 30 and 35. In 1954 he was a CFS instructor on Tiger Moths, Wirraways, Dakotas, both Lincoln and Vampire Mks. 

But in late 1954 he went to ARDU for two flights in the prototype Sabre 901, and then by RAF Hastings from Mallala to UK for ETPS training in 1955. He spent several years at Boscombe Down on development testing, including the RAF Comet 2C, Valiant, Victor and Vulcan, including RAF hot weather trials in Libya and later trials at Edinburgh and Woomera while he was at Air Trials Unit in 1960-61, before he was posted back to ARDU. 

Milt completed RAAF Staff College in 1965 as new wing commander, and then took command of 36 Squadron flying C130As, followed by a posting as F111 Project Manager in Washington in 1969. 

Later Milt worked in Air Force Headquarters Operational Requirements Division, before moving to the Reserve to take up a managerial role in the French OFEMA defence company, before moving to General Dynamics Corporation where he actively marketed the F16A to Australia, as well as many other important products such as Phalanx. 

In his latter years Milt was an active supporter of the Australian Flight Test Society, especially the history of test pilots since WW2.

Vale GPCPT Milt Cottee

Good and True Australian

RAAF Eng Aero

Died 24 Apr 2018 Aged 92

Sadly we advise the passing of our good friend and colleague Max Bevan. 

In 1943, Max Bevan joined the RAAF and qualified as an Aircraft Technician in the days when flying machines were held together with fabric and glue. 

In 1945 he saw service in South East Asia and the Pacific islands until the end of hostilities when he left the service, but not long after, owing to shortage of work, he rejoined by passing an entry trade test, thus avoiding repeat Rookie courses. 

In 1949 he was sent to Japan as member of No 481 (Maintenance) Squadron, 81 Wing (Occupational Forces). Following this he was posted to 77 Squadron in Korea. 

Max was later commissioned and began service in the Engineering Branch as a qualified ENG AERO. 

His career included postings at Richmond (Neptune Aircraft), Staff positions at Support Command and CO Maintenance Squadron East Sale. He resigned as a Wing Commander in 1973. 

Max was a well liked, very well respected individual and competent operator as an Engineer Officer. 

Vale WGCDR Max Bevan 
Good and True Australian


Died 17 Aug 2017 Aged 82

Bob was one of the founding members of the RAAFA Albury-Wodonga Branch over 25 years ago and held the president's position for many years. At the time of his death Bob was the treasurer and an administrator.

Also, Bob played a large part in establishing No 412 Squadron Australian Air Force Cadets. He was the unit's first commanding officer.

Army / RAAF 80455 / O5920 Engine Fitter / Engineer Aeronautical

Died 01 Aug 2017 Aged 94

Category of Service: Citizen Military Forces
Date of Enlistment: 25 September 1941
Commenced Full Time Duty: 15 December 1941
Date of Discharge: 4 May 1942
Reason for Discharge: Required for enlistment in the Royal Australian Air Force
Rank on Discharge: Private
Postings/Attachments: Western Command Supply Column 25 September 1941
5 Australian Motor Ambulance Convoy 10 March 1942

Royal Australian Air Force
Date of Enlistment: 5 May 1942 to 26 March 1946 (1st Period)
12 September 1949 to 4 July 1977 (2nd Period)
Employment: Engine Fitter (1st Period)
Engineer Aeronautical (2nd Period)
Rank on Discharge: Leading Aircraftman (1st Period)
Wing Commander (2nd Period)
4 RAAF Recruit Depot 05-05-1942
5 School of Technical Training 01-06-1942
1 Engineering School 27-07-1942
4 Service Flying Training School 15-12-1942
1 Engineering School 26-05-1943
2 Air Navigation School 28-08-1943
1 Service Flying Training School 09-12-1943
7 Aircraft Depot 04-04-1944
Care and Maintenance Unit 14-02-1946
5 Personnel Depot 26-03-1946
RAAF Station Pearce (on re-enlistment) 12-09-1949
25 Squadron 12-10-1949
1 Aircraft Depot (Detachment B) 13-11-1950
1 Aircraft Depot 05-04-1954
1 Applied Flying Training School 19-05-1958
Department of Air 12-09-1960
Headquarters Support Command 24-10-1960
Officers Training School 28-04-1961
Headquarters Support Command 02-10-1961
38 Squadron 24-01-1966
RAAF School of Technical Training 13-05-1968
Department of Air 25-01-1971
482 Squadron 14-01-1975
Base Squadron Amberley 01-07-1977
Objective ID: AC1954216
34 Squadron 21-08-1950 to 12-11-1950
Maintenance Squadron East Sale 19-05-1958 to 17-06-1958
RAAF School of Technical Training 28-08-1961 to 29-09-1961
38 Squadron 01-04-1965 to 18-04-1965
Transport Flight Vietnam 19-04-1965 to 20-12-1965
Headquarters Support Command 24-01-1966 to 18-02-1966
Headquarters Support Command 09-09-1968 to 06-10-1968
Headquarters Support Command 07-10-1968 to 11-10-1968
Headquarters Support Command 07-09-1969 to 10-10-1969
Department of Air 30-07-1973 to 03-08-1973
482 Squadron 10-05-1975 to 18-05-1975
482 Squadron 27-02-1976 to 08-03-1976

RAAF 421207 Navigator 460 Squadron

Died 10 Apr 2017 Aged 98

RAAF O35959 (401068) Pilot 460 Sqn. RAAF, 156 Sqn. RAF

Died 07 Apr 2017 Aged 96

Flight Lieutentant Peter Isaacson DFC AFC DFM 1943.jpg

Flight Lieutenant Isaacson with Lancaster Q - for - Queenie 1943

Peter Stuart Isaacson, AM DFC AFC DFM (31 July 1920 – 7 April 2017) was an Australian publisher and decorated military pilot.

He was owner of Peter Isaacson Publications, the publisher of various trade publications and suburban newspapers including the Southern Cross and the Sunday Observer in Melbourne.

During World War II, he served in the Royal Australian Air Force as a pilot with RAF Bomber Command and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Force Cross and the Distinguished Flying Medal

Isaacson grew up in Melbourne and started working for a newspaper when he was sixteen. He joined the RAAF in 1940. Following his stint in Bomber Command, he became well known in Australia for his tours in the Avro Lancaster Q-for-Queenie to promote the sale of war loans and, in particular, for flying his plane under the Sydney harbour Bridge in 1943.

He transferred to the RAAF Reserve after the war, retiring as a Wing Commander in 1969.

From 1956 he served as a Trustee, Chairman, and finally Life Governor of the Victorian Shrine of Rememberance.

In 1991 he was appointed a Member of the order of Australia for his publishing and community work.

RAAF O219178 General Duties Pilot 76SQN, 9SQN & CO 5SQN.

Died 14 Mar 2017 Aged 77

O219178 Wing Commander Hedley Robert Thomas AM MID 

24 Jan 1940 - 14 Mar 2017 
Aged 77 years

It is with the deepest regret that we have to pass on the following information: 


We all lost Hedley Thomas this morning. After a heroic 7 week battle with multiple medical complications, following his initial abdominal aneurism, he was unable to overcome them all and passed away at 1010 Qld time in Gold Coast Private Hospital. A steadfast companion, staunch friend, patriot, mentor and gentleman has gone. 

We express our sincere sympathies to Donna and the family. 

Hedley Thomas was a 76 Squadron pilot on Vampires in the early sixties. He spent two years with the USAF as an exchange instructor on helicopters, one year in Vietnam with 9 SQN and seven months in Ismailia with UNEF II. From 1974 to 1976 he was CO 5 SQN.

Hedley left the RAAF in 1979 and flew commercially in Australia and PNG before working in Riyadh for the RSAF between 1990 - 1995 as a PC-9 flight simulator instructor.  

He went to Singapore in 1997 for two years as a UH-1H Flight Simulator instructor with the RSAF. 

Hedley retired in 1999. 

A simple celebration of his life will be held at 2 Wildash St, Southport (daughter, Rebecca) next Saturday, 18th Mar, at 1130. All welcome. 

There will be a cremation, but no funeral, per se. Attire for the celebration is muted casual: no jackets, ties or gongs. It’s a strictly informal occasion.

Bon Voyage Hedley Robert Thomas 
Good and True Australian


RAAF O25951 General Duties Pilot 36 SQN

Died 08 Dec 2016 Aged 85


Died 04 Dec 2016 Aged 91

RAAF 434659 Air Gunner Bomber Command

Died 21 Nov 2016 Aged 92

RAAF 68145 Wireless Air Gunner 43 Squadron

Died 16 Nov 2016 Aged 93

The funeral service for Tom Cheong will be at Rookwood on 24th November 2016.

Tom received an OAM in 2006 for commemorating Chinese Australian War Veterans.  Tom planned, supervised and inspired the monument built in Darling Harbour in memory of all Chinese Australian servicemen and servicewomen.

RAAF 428232, A6143 Armament Fitter, Air Gunner 463/467 Sqn, 1 Sqn

Died 11 Oct 2016 Aged 92

WW2 Service 30/07/1943 to 20/02/1946  Air Gunner

Post WW2 September 1949 to September 1961, Armament Fitter and Air Gunner