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Winter, 2012



Winter, 2012

Vol. 67, No. 2

From the President It is just on a month since I was elected to the State Presidents position of RAAFA, I am both very proud and honoured to accept the responsibility that comes with the position, whilst at the same time even more humbled to be considered . My plan is to build on the strong foundations laid by previous State Presidents and to continue to forge strong links with the Royal Australian Air Force and its various operating elements here in Victoria. Although the last few years have seen an ever dwindling number of Air Force “Blue Suiters” within the State of Victoria, there remains a number of units that we as an organisation can and will present ourselves to in order to expose the Association and its Aims. This is seen as vital, by the Board, to secure the future of the Association. The last twelve months have seen lot of changes take place within the Board itself and it would be remiss of me not to take time to mention those changes as they all have significant impact on the way the Association is run. Both Moyna Sands (10 years) and Rob Pollock(19 years) decided not to renominate for a position on the Board this year , due to health issues and they will both be missed as both have made very significant contributions to the way the Association has been run. I and all the other Board Members applaud Moyna and Rob for their stalwartness in pursuing the running of the Association. We wish them both good health and comfortable retirement into the future. This year also has seen the standing down of Peter Colliver from the President’s position, a position he has occupied for the last eight years. The Association has done nothing but benefit from Peters Leadership and Management skills and he will be sorely missed, however we are lucky

enough to have Peter remain as “Immediate Past President” for a period of two years during which I will have Peter to mentor me in the u n d er st a nd in g of how t h e Association functions. With these retirements from the Board have come some new faces; SQNLDR Ron Ledingham, RAAF Specialist Reserve and a Governor of The Shrine of Remembrance. Ron has also taken up the position o f Vi c e Pr e si d en t of t h e Association. Mr Bob Brackin, a retired SQNLDR Engineer, Vietnam Veteran. Bob was a career engineer with experience across the broad spectrum of RAAF aircraft types. Following a posting to the USA on the F18 Hornet project Bob resigned to take up a civilian career and is currently involved with Air Shows Downunder, Bob is also a keen golfer. Mr Alan White, Alan was an RAAF Airfield Defence Guard (ADG) during his Service life and was attached to No 1 Operational Support Unit Vung Tau and Nui Dat South Vietnam during his 12 month tour. Alan is now a trained Counsellor in psychotherapy and

nutrition, a Committee Member of the RAAF Vietnam Veterans Association and the RAAFA delegate to the “Weary Dunlop “Foundation. These Gentlemen bring a wealth of Service and Civilian experience and expertise to the Board to assist in moving the Association forward. Last year the Association became a member of an Alliance group of Ex Service Organisations in order to strengthen the Groups position in the fight for fair indexation of Service Men and Women’s pensions, this fight as you most likely are aware is gathering momentum under the Campaign banner of “A Fair Go “and your Association is committed to the fight on your behalf. I am committed to promoting a continuous improvement culture within the Board that will develop and build trust amongst the Members of the Association, have the Royal Australian Air Force recognise who we are and what we are about. I look forward to meeting with as many of you, the Members, as I can and providing you with a meaningful experience as members

RAAF ASSOCIATION VIC DIV, 24 Camberwell Road, East Hawthorn 3123 Tel: (03) 9813 4600 Facsimile: (03) 9813 4966 Email:

Winter, 2012

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Bob Brackin

Alan White

Ron Ledingham


BOARD OF MANAGEMENT J.F. (John) McCrystal: State President P.W. (Peter) Colliver Immediate Past President/National Vice President G. (Gordon) Caley: Executive Director/State Secretary N. (Nick) Leray-Meyer AM; R.A.K (Ron) Ledingham Vice-Presidents R. T. (Richard) Orr: State Treasurer Directors: T. A. (Tony) Pilli; A.R. (Alan) White; R.J. (Bob) Brackin P. (Peter) Finkelstein: Honorary Solicitor P. W. (Peter) Colliver; G. (Gordon) Caley: Welfare W. J. (Bill) Belton AM: Chairman RAAFA Foundation

BRANCH SECRETARIES Catalina Ronald Kirk (98193527); Air Training Corps Hugh Tank (9877 3424); Ballarat Stan White (5339 2003) Bendigo Glenis Gordon (54369293); Fighter Squadrons John Gauntlett (9878 1541); Geelong Jim Heyward (5278 1296) Gippsland John Power (5174 3231); Melbourne WAAAF Gloria Welch (9727 3651); Motor Transport Margaret Stone (9842 1553); North Metropolitan Elayne Whatman (93021048); RAAF Vietnam & Associated Veterans Rick Holmes (9317 7304; Sunderland Squadrons Ricky Hattam (5241 3431); Williams Ted Ruddle (97482271)

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BALLARAT BRANCH Well our Autumn weather of lovely mild, sunny days has gone and we now have the early start of Winter. Bring out the woollies please! We have been able to replace our Chaplain with Rev. John Furness; we have had previous services with him and look forward to a long association. What has happened here in Ballarat since our last ‘Contact’ newsletter? March was great, our Guest Speaker M/s E McClennan the CEO of the UFS Group, spoke about the history of UFS in Ballarat and how they have grown from one pharmacy to 17 pharmacies, including four in Melbourne plus Medical Centres. The total sales of the Group now exceed $65 million per year. M/s McClennan was a very professional speaker and it was a delight to listen to her. Our President, Tom Roberts, has been in Hospital for an eye operation, which is taking some time to get back to good vision. Treasurer Max Beaumont has also been in Hospital. Some other members had also bee unwell. Must be the Winter Bug on the prowl! Our April meeting was just prior to Easter and it had a real Army outlook. We had Lieutenant Colonel Duckworth, CO of the local Army Battalion as our Guest Speaker who spoke about his service in the Solomon Islands in the Peacekeeping Force. This was illustrated with slides he had taken on the conditions encountered. Being an Army day we have two visiting Majors and on Captain present. We have decided to hold our Battle of Britain Commemorations on Sunday 16th September, being one day after the Battle of Britain Day. You will hear more about this over the next few months. Department of Planning held a Forum in Ararat on the 15th May for Western District veterans. Then it was Easter and that was followed by ANZAC Day, with very cold and wet conditions preceding it. The day in Ballarat was ideal, cold and dry and a huge crowd at the 6 a.m. service, all ages from little tots to elderly veterans. After laying the Wreath at the Cenotaph, we then marched to show the spectators that RAAFA was still present! Our Guest Speaker was Major Kaylene Baird, a nursing specialist, who has served in Iraq and other postings. A very competent speaker, ideal for the mixed audience. Ballarat Branch visited Hamilton RAAFA member on the 24th May and attended a wreath laying at the Memorial Gates that Hamilton RAAFA donated to the City Council. Our May meeting was on the 1st May and Rev. Bryan Nicholls spoke about his recent tour of South East Asia, with coloured photos of the ‘places of interest’. In closing, a happy and safe Winter to our RAAFA colleagues and may it be nice and wet for our gardens! Farewell from Ballarat RAAFA. VALE

Contact Copy closing 2012/13

WAAAF Branch mourns the passing of Muriel Stockdale, March 2012

Spring Edition 7 Sep 2012

Ballarat Branch mourns the passing of Bud Foley, April 2012 Headquarters Branch mourns the passing of Roy Ackland, April 2012

Summer Edition 3 Dec 2012

Geelong Branch mourns the passing of Vernon Hollingworth, April 2012

Autumn Edition 4 Feb 2013

North Metropolitan Branch mourn the passing of Ron Hornblow, May 2012

See page 7 for more detail

Catalina Branch mourns the passing Mark Whitty, May 2012 and Frank Warren, June 2012

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Winter, 2012

ATC BRANCH Our Branch is pleased to announce and welcome as our two newest members, Alida Soemawinata and John Murphy.

position of needing several items of necessary equipment such as glass display cabinets, mannequins, etc.

Alida retired from the AAFC as a CWOFF with No 401 Squadron, Surrey Hills and during her time with 401 was one of the two recipients who shared recognition in the same year as being joint winners of the coveted Most Outstanding Cadet of the Year Award for which the ATC Branch’s Stan Tayler Trophy is presented. Alida has since been undergoing training for her helicopter pilot’s licence and we believe that she may soon return to Service with the AAFC as a Staff member with No 408 Squadron, Ringwood.

r eq ue s t i n g an y a vai l ab l e assistance with regards to the purchase of these items and whilst we are considering how best to help, any further forthcoming thoughts, offers or suggestions directed to our committee would be greatly appreciated, as this display, when completed, will be of the only presently known existing and remaining ATC memorabilia in our State.

John comes to us after a long association with both the ATC and AAFC as well as other areas of the ADF.


In the months since I wrote my last report we have had a day out at Woop Woop and Skydancers Butterfly Sanctuary (Harcourt) and of course we celebrated the 91st birthday of RAAF Our Branch has received an with a delicious luncheon at Bendigo appeal from the Museum District RSL. Some of our members volunteered to sell ANZAC Badges, probably sitting for 48 hours for $1,800 in sales. Others were involved in the conducting of ANZAC Services at Aged Care Facilities in and around Bendigo.

On ANZAC Day members were involved at the Huntly Memorial Service, a dawn service at St Killian’s Church where Father Mike Pullar ex-RAAF took the service. President, Jack Fay, laid a wreath on behalf of We are reliably informed that the RAAF Association Bendigo Branch at No 4 Wing Annual Drill Parade the main service. We would like to is intended to be held at Point acknowledge the Air Force Cadets who Cook on Sunday, 23rd September, carried out banner and ensigns and 2012, or as it was also described marched ahead of the RAAF men and by a person of authority down at women. What a proud bunch they 4 Wing HQ, “the Sunday before were!

We wish them both well and hope the AFL Grand Final”. (As if they find their time with RAAFA that probably means anything to as our branch members, rewarding anybody.) and enjoyable. The National Servicemen’s No 4 Wing has a new AFLO (Air Association RAAF Nashos’ Force Liaison Officer) in WGCDR Memorial Day Service is in the Kevin Murray. We wish Kevin all planning process to be held at the best in his new position. Point Cook this year on Sunday, 4th November, commencing at On the progress of the setting up 1100 hrs at the AFC Memorial. the ATC display at Benalla Air Museum, our member, Doug Laurie Bell Williams reports that all is going well but they are now in the

Now down to serious business. Alex Culvenor, a log time Bendigo delegate, made the decision to step down after approximately 26 years of rising at dawn to catch the early train. Alex has been replaced by Richard Henson – good luck Richard, I’m sure you will do quite well. Alex has also recently been awarded Life Membership of the Association, unfortunately Alex could not attend the State Conference to accept his award. Richard Henson accepted his award from John McCrystal at the State Conference on 17 May 2012 (picture to the left). Finally, the boys who went to Darwin for the 70th Commemorations had a wonderful time. They were feted by the most important people in the land. They will not forget the trip either, which was a lot different to the experiences in 1942. Until next time, keep your chin up. Glenis Gordon Secretary/Treasurer Bendigo Branch.

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NORTH METROPLITAN BRANCH are now living in the RAAFA North Metropolitan has been very Village at Meadow Springs, quiet in recent times. Not that that is some 70 kilometres south of any surprise in view of the weather Perth. of late. Alan and I attended the Dawn Our last Guest Speaker was Service at Maygar Barracks on ex-Sergeant of Police, Stuart April 25 as representatives of Tompsett. Stuart told of his time in the North Metropolitan Branch. the Police Force and at times had the members laughing quite heartily. North Metropolitan Branch One such story was when caught by members have decided not to the Inspector getting an offender out take anymore trips until the of the boot of a car. Stuart enjoyed days are warmer and longer as lunch with the members before re- the cold keeps them inside. turning north to the border. Our Secretary Elayne was Our July Guest Speaker will be awarded a State Presidential RAAF Warrant Officer Ray Bolton. award at this years State This will be a very interesting time as Conference by the President Ray will no doubt have some won- John McCrystal ; derful stories to tell of his overseas deployment, to say nothing of his 30 “For outstanding contribution to odd years in the Air Force. the welfare and well-being of the members of North MetroThe Guest Speaker for August will politan Branch of the Royal be representatives from DVA. Australian Air Force Association�. Ray Kennedy (NMB) praised the 416 S q u a d r o n C a d e t s f o r t h e i r As you can see Elayne was very participation in carrying the 9RSU surprised to receive this award. Banner again this year in the AN- Congratulations Elayne ZAC March. Alan Whatman The 65 year Attendance Certificate President sent to Ken Williams had to journey via NSW before reaching Ken in Western Australia. Ken and his wife


ANZAC DAY 2012, a cold and wet day did not deter RAAFVVA members from attending. Some 45 members marched in the drizzle with others being transported by vehicle. A great roll up despite the conditions, a lot of me mb er s attend ed their lo cal ceremonies. 45 attended lunch at Citro, which, due to its location on St Kilda Road and the efforts of host Massimo, has now become our favoured spot for lunch on ANZAC Day and Vietnam Veterans Day on the 18th of August. Membership is static with some members still unaware that they are unfinancial due to non payment of subscriptions for 2012. Membership Officer has written to delinquent members to correct this anomaly. Monthly lunches continue with June lunch being held on Tuesday the 19th to allow those members who have prior standing commitments for a Wednesday to attend this function. 13 members attended, a reasonable number on par with normal Wednesday numbers. Get well soon wishes for President Lee Scully who has been hobbling around on crutches for a few weeks after a full ankle reconstruction. We wish him a speedy recovery. National Vietnam Veterans Museum (NVVM) at Phillip Island receives its Iroquois (Huey) Helicopter, A2-110, on Friday the 22nd of June after some considerable time. A sterling effort by David Streatfield, Restorations Manager, on behalf of the NVVM. Rick Holmes Secretary

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The Shrine of Remembrance was created to meet the needs of a grieving community after the extensive loss of lives in the First World War (1914-18). 114,000 Victorians enlisted in the First World War. Of the 89,000 of them who sewed abroad 19,000 were killed. They were buried in distant graves far from home at a time when most Australians did not travel abroad. The Shrine provided a place where Victorians could grieve as individuals, as families or as a community and where they could honour and preserve the memories of those they had lost. The Shrine was not only built to commemorate those who had served in the First World War. It also honoured the courage of the men, women and children who remained at home. Original designs for the Shrine of Remembrance considered the enduring human qualities of Love, Peace, Courage, Integrity, Strength, Faith, Honour and Brotherhood and the value placed on these by the community and those who had fought bravely for their country. The Shrine of Remembrance - would unmistakably convey to future generations the desire of the people of Victoria to commemorate the service of its soldiers in the Great War and would be sufficient to form a strong reminder of those services to a generation which will not have the practical experience of the Great War. (Letter from the Returned and Services League of Australia (Victorian Branch) to the Executive Committee for the creation of the Shrine of Remembrance, 9 August 1926) These words express the aims of the Shrine today as much as they did in 1926 and while direct experience and knowledge of the events of the First World War and subsequent conflicts fade, interest in them is growing.

GIPPSLAND We hope all are well and in good spirits. It was good to see our Patron, Group Captain Peter Cleary, at the AGM and we thank him sincerely for fitting it in to his busy schedule. AGM Acting President John Henderson chaired the meeting and welcomed all. Before reciting the Ode, Secretary John mentioned the loss of President Tom and Geoff Jenkins during the year. Treasurer, John Schulz, gave the financial report. Secretary John reported that he had attended all but one delegates meeting for the year along with our late President, Tom Lawless, until his death. OFFICE BEARERS FOR 2012

COMING EVENTS AT THE SHRINE OF REMEMBRANCE February - 24 June 2012 - Lieutenant Colonel and Helena Cass - this exhibition tells the stories of Cass' service over two wars. The Boer War (1899-1902) and the First World War (1914-18) at Gallipoli, Kyrthia and later in Fromelles. These events were interwoven with the personal stories of Cass and his wife, Helena, a Canadian war nurse, who married after the Battle of Fromelles in 1916. NEW GUINEA, 1942 - it is 70 years since Australia fought a series of costly battles between July and November 1942 against Japanese forces in Papua and New Guinea. The Kokoda Trail or Track, winding through the Owen Stanley mountain range, was the setting for a campaign which many believe is Australia's defining episode of the Second World War (1939-45).

President : John Henderson Secretary : John Power Treasurer : John Schulz Committee: Jim Joyce, Glenys Schulz Delegates: John Power and Christina Schwerin when available Well a few days have passed since I began this article and in the meantime ANZAC Day has come and gone. At Traralgon a huge crowd attended both the Dawn and Main Services. Given the cold threatening morning the attendance at the Dawn service was amazing. The speaker at the Main Service was Flight Lieutenant Shayne Mann. He spoke of the enormous losses incurred at Gallipoli and how the spirit of ANZAC is still alive today. At Yallourn/Newborough, where our Treasurer John presides over the RSL, our new member, Flying Officer Geoff Adams, was the Guest Speaker. He spoke on how ANZAC Day unites the Country and recited Banjo Paterson’s poem “We are all Australians Now”. We look forward to a good year and wish the same to you all. John Power Secretary

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Veterans' Health Week (VHW) 2012 Veterans’ Health Week will be held on 22–28 October 2012 and provides an opportunity for veterans, war widows, widowers, current and ex-Australian Defence Force members and their families to participate, connect and influence the health and wellbeing of themselves and their friends. RAAFA will be organising some activities during Veterans Health Week more to follow This year’s theme is social inclusion—participate, connect and influence. VHW will help to raise awareness of the benefits of social inclusion and promote DVA programs and other types of activities that veterans can participate in to stay connected, while helping others to connect and participate in veteran life. All members of the veteran and service communities, their friends, carers and families are welcome to participate. This year DVA is hoping that members of the veteran community will make a special effort to come along with friends, family and acquaintances who don’t normally get involved in veteran activities.


Winter, 2012



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Contact: Winter 2012  

AFA Contact Magazine: Winter 2012

Contact: Winter 2012  

AFA Contact Magazine: Winter 2012