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"WHAT'S NEW?" (April 2022)

New Reader Contacts have been added:

Our 'Aircraft' section now has a great new Hawker Hurricane Data Page, authored by our member Paul McGUINESS.  This comprehensive listing discusses the 40 Hurricane aircraft used by 3SQN in the early months of 1941; a "high-scoring" era in which the Squadron had the rare privilege  of operating better-performing aircraft than those fielded by the Axis!  Paul has listed all the key dates, personalities, victories and losses, airfields and engagements, with stirring eyewitness accounts of all 3SQN's major Hurricane battles, plus some interesting photos.

Added a 'Lifetimes' entry for Lyall Klaffer, a 3SQN Mustang pilot in Canberra post-war who went on to a stellar RAAF career, creating several aviation "firsts" and exhibiting great airmanship.

The 'Shot Down' section of our 'Stories' page has had a thrilling new tale added: Nicky BARR's own account of one of his adventurous escapes from German captivity, in the depths of the Italian winter.


In WW2, many Australian Prisoners of War died as slave-labourers on the 415km-long "Death Railway", constructed by the Japanese between Thailand and Burma.

See our illustrated memorial poem: "Northward to Thai".

The Thai-Burma Railway Centre and Museum in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, is in need of urgent financial support due to the COVID pandemic leading to a huge decrease in visitors to the museum.  The TBRC and its staff have done, and are doing, great work.  Rod Beattie, Andrew Snow, Terry Manttan and the wonderful dedicated Thai staff have been a huge help to so many over the years.  The knowledge that TBRC freely shares, and their work in preserving the railway and its story, is truly remarkable.  A generous sum of over $30,000AUD has already been donated to the TBRC up to this point by Veterans' organisations and individuals.   Please add your support for the museum, as we look forward to things getting better with the virus in Thailand and people can starting to visit the museum again.

To make a donation please contact rosemaryfell11@gmail.com of the Malayan Volunteers Group in the UK for  details.  Your caring and support are much appreciated. 
Thank you.

A 1942 "Desert Song" added to our Poems and Songs section - "There'll Always be a Squadron that's known as Number Three!

“Prim” PRIMROSE  was a 3SQN Intelligence Officer in the Middle East in 1940/41, who had been an RAF biplane bomber pilot in WW1.  A biographical interview with Prim has been added to our website Lifetimes section, dealing mostly with his WW1 experiences and his later life in the Australian Outback and the Pacific Islands. 

A fantastic new WW2 diary has been added to our 'Stories' section.  Emotional Journey: The 1942-45 Diary of 3SQN Fitter Corporal Colin FAEHSE.

Colin was one of the notable personalities of the 3SQN groundcrew in North Africa and Italy, often representing the group in discussions with Senior Officers and being chosen for a RAAF WINGS magazine interview describing 3SQN's amazing journey "From Alamein to the Alps".  Colin was also separated from his new bride and baby boy for more than three years and his diary provides a rare insight - explicitly revealing the pressures that most of the 3SQN men were under, but did not mention publicly.

Our Association is very lucky to have knowledgeable members who were "on the spot" when historical events occurred!

Our member Mac COTTRELL has pointed out that a photo used in our Vance DRUMMOND tribute-page "Commanding Officer Down" (supposedly Mirage A3-77 prior to its crash on 17 May 1967) was actually a different aircraft on a date later in 1967.

Mac says: "Taken at RAAF Amberley during the period 13 to 16 October 1967 when I was a member of No.10 Mirage Air Defence Conversion Course.  I am front-row, second from right."

Vance's page has now been updated with a colour picture of the "Lizard" camouflage scheme used on 2OCU Ground-Attack Mirages at the time. 
[And also on later 3SQN Mirages, once the replacement C.O., Jake NEWHAM, started to take delivery of new-
production aircraft.  At the time when Vance was killed, there was essentially no existing 3SQN equipment or personnel establishment - other than a thin manila folder!  All of the prospective aircrew and groundcrew were in training with other units.]

We’re sorry to report that our dear friend Arthur PARDEY has died aged 96.  Arthur was our last-surviving 3SQN Pilot to see combat in World War II.

In addition to his interesting flying experiences, Arthur forged a great career as a self-made businessman.  His fascinating biography is now in our 'Lifetimes' section.

“Comedy of Errors” - An amusing 1950 RAAF crash story by Stan CURRAN [NB. Non-fatal – except to the reputation of the Pilot…] has been added to Stan’s tribute web-page.

2021 was the RAAF's Centennial Year.  We celebrated with a number of spectacular functions, including an excellent address by AVM Joe IERVASI, Air Commander Australia, summarising the highs and lows of the RAAF's century.

Tim ALSOP and Darren CLARE show off their “lockdown art-project”, celebrating the 100th Birthday of our W.A. President and WW2 veteran member Felix SAINSBURY on 14 May 2020. 
[See also other Photos from the RAAF Official set.]

Our Stories page now includes a wonderful account of the unearthing of fragments of shot-down 3SQN Mustangs from 1945 by a Slovenian aviation-archaeologist, "Miha" MIHEV

Three new 'Lifetime' essays:  Former 3SQN 1966 Commanding Officer Keith MARTIN;
Bruce GRAYSON - whose spectacular RAAF career included commanding 3SQN Mirages in Malaysia in the late 1970s;
and a historical tribute to Harry COBBY, top WW1 fighter ace, CO3 1931-32, and the recipient of the George Medal in WW2 for Bravery.

Another great article by Steve MACKENZIE has been added to our 'Aircraft' page, showing rare photos and original drawings of 3SQN’s Hawker Hurricanes.  (The Squadron racked-up big victory totals on this mount, during the first four months of 1941.)

Photos from the 3SQN Association Visit to Williamtown on the 25th of October 2019 have been posted to our "Past Events" page.

A fantastic new magazine photo-spread has been added to our "Operation Thoroughfare" February 2019 Event page.

A heart-warming Air Corps tale from the End of WW1:
 "Dog of War" - the true story of Rin-Tin-Tin.

A dramatic new 1944 combat story told from the German side: "Sunk by 3 Squadron"
This page also includes a letter from Padre McKay describing conditions at Cutella base, the originating point of this raid.

Added to our 'Images' page - our Member Des SHEEHAN has made a fantastic discovery in an old storage box at home.  A “Museum Quality autograph book, in excellent condition, that had been kept by his father, 3AFC RE8 pilot Malcolm SHEEHAN. 

New photos have been added to Brian Weston's story "Mirage Metamorphosis".

 Newcastle  - Monday 10th December, 2018 - A MOMENT IN HISTORY. 

 First Operational F-35s arrive in Australia

A35-009 taking off from Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.

An illustrated poem added about WW2 Prisoners of War: "Northward to Thai."

Two new photo-essays:
Centennial of REMEMBRANCE DAY, added to our 'Past Events' page.
And Gardens of Memory, showing a fascinating selection of 3AFC graves from WW1, in their (now) beautiful settings - both in England and on the Western Front.

Sadly, another two of our few remaining WW2 veterans have passed away: 
A new 'Lifetimes' entry has been created for Instrument Fitter Donny Nicholls;
and we have added new illustrations to the fascinating interview with Engine Fitter Slim Moore MiD.

Further tributes harking back to the Sabre era:
Some excellent "Sabre Aerobatic Team" photos are featured in our 'Lifetime' tribute to former 3SQN Malaya pilot Geoff Jenkins.
 AVM Fred Barnes - who led 3 Squadron into the 'Jet Age' in 1956 - died on Saturday 4th August 2018.  He was a significant figure in 3SQN Post-War History,

A major new World War One feature - "The Battle of Hamel".

And some "off-duty" fun back at the aerodrome:  Decoding "The Side Slipper"  - has insights into a 3AFC "trench-mag" from 1918.


A major article featuring 3SQN's new F35s appeared in several Sunday papers across Australia on 22 July 2018.
 “Our Aussie Top Guns: F-35 Flight to the Future”, has several outstanding photographs of the men and women of the Squadron.
(The work of photographer Nathan EDWARDS.)

We’ve added an excellent, and darkly humorous, story written by Bruce ‘Poodle’ Wood  [3 Squadron’s “Last Mirage C.O.”]:
Mirage Missile Misfire”.

The biography of Merv Beck (a 3SQN WW2 Armourer who became a famous Police Inspector and corruption-fighter) is now on our 'Lifetimes' page.

Pete Scully has submitted a wonderful interview that he personally recorded with Padre Bob DAVIES.  
(One of the “3 Padres” in the Mediterranean in WW2.)

100 years on, about the only topic that will reliably produce disagreement between Australians and Canadians is: "Who shot down the Red Baron?"
Well, 3 Squadron Association's Historian Emeritus, Neil Smith, has now produced a new summary of his father's comments on the case. 
- And James "Lee" Smith DFC was worth listening to, since he was the man who led the 3AFC party into "No Man's Land" on the Western Front to recover the Baron's aeroplane and body.

Thanks to some super satellite-reconnaissance and on-the-ground foot-slogging by our Tasmanian-based friend Graeme Kenderdine, the 1939 Illawarra bushland memorial to No.3 Squadron's first WW2 casualty,
Pilot Officer Jack Ohlmeyer
, has been revealed for all to see!

The first F-35 with 3 Squadron markings arrived at the Squadron's base in Phoenix, Arizona in December 2017...

Jake NEWHAM’S comment on the changeover to 3SQN’s F-35s: “The change has arrived unexpectedly. In a way, it’s sad to quit the established situation.
- Funny reaction, as this has happened thrice in my service lifetime!”

Pete SCULLY’s take on the Squadron's new plane:
“Exciting stuff!  - I wish I was starting again!”

A new 'Event' photo-essay:  3 Squadron's “Named in Battle” Day:  Several 3SQN Assn. members enjoyed an excellent function on January 18, 2018, at Hunters Hill (Sydney),
commemorating 100 years exactly since the number “3” was first officially used by our Squadron. 

A fresh WW1 story from April 1918:  "Convoy to the Somme", by Air Mechanic Harold Edwards.

Stan CURRAN’s story Recruiting Hi-Jinks, 1948” hilariously recounts some rather ill-advised low-flying, that is unlikely to EVER be repeated.

Also a testimonial for Bob Gray, a 3SQN General Hand from 1941 to '43, who died at the ripe old age of 97 and left us some great stories

"Cricketing News" - Keith Kildey was a great 1942 3SQN combat leader, a top shot, and he also got some good reviews in the Sports pages.

Added to our 'Lifetimes' section: Ron Susans, a decorated 3SQN Kittyhawk pilot in WW2, had a most interesting RAAF career post-war, retiring as an Air Vice Marshal.

Fantastic News!  - 3SQN’s World War II Narrative Combat Reports, 1940-45, have been digitised and are displayed on the Australian National Archives website.
These reports were submitted by 3SQN pilots after significant air-combat incidents.  They contain more detail than was typically transferred to the Squadron Operations Record Book. 
(Some of the forms are even in the original pilot’s handwriting!)  There are over 1,200 pages, but they are in date order, so it’s easy to jump to the right era for any particular pilot.  
1940 reports start from page 7; 1941 from p45; 1942 (p700); 1943 (p1200); 1944 (p1264); and 1945 (p1292). 
Air combat incidents fell-off markedly in the latter years of the war, as the skies were swept of Axis aircraft!

Added to our 'Poetry' page, the moving song lyric "Brothers in Arms".

And a classic WW1 poem: "An Irish Airman Foresees his Death"

Several photos and a gripping news-report have been added to our article on 3SQN carrying-out Australia's first-ever free-fall Parachute Jumps, in 1926.

Some valedictions from old 3SQN Newsletters have been added to our 'Lifetimes' page: Jim Jelley, Johnny Taylor, Ken McRae, Jack Hamilton, Al Rawlinson and Ron Caddy.


3 Squadron personnel deployed on Operation OKRA in the Middle East, September 2016.

Photo-essays are now available covering our very enjoyable February 2016 Canberra plaque celebrations;  
our July Point Cook commemorations, those at Richmond (NSW)  in August;
Sydney Anzac Memorial
in September;
and - last but not least - "THE BIG ONE" at Williamtown in October .

Tributes to our deceased members Jeff Love and Mick O'Mullane.

A dramatic new article by Jim Hall: "Mirage Collision" -  A definitive analysis of the loss of  3SQN's "last" operational fatality to date, FLTLT Perry Kelly, in 1976.

"Fights in the Air" - 1916.  - An interesting letter from the Western Front in France, written at the time that the Squadron was being born (back in Australia at Point Cook).

"Good Morning... Syria!" - A modern-day eyewitness account, from a RAAF F18 Pilot, of flying in 'Operation OKRA' - 2016.

An interesting new description of a jolly party thrown for the 3SQN boys in 1925 (after their "disaster-packed" flight from Victoria) has been added to our article "Welcome to Richmond".


In the space of only a few sad weeks in mid-2016, our Association lost four of our esteemed WW2 veterans.  In our 'Lifetimes' section we celebrate their long lives…
  Val St. Leon, Tom Russell, Chas Wannan and Dusty Lane.

An amusing cartoon has been added to our 1942 story of Bobby Gibbes' daring landing next to an enemy-occupied desert airstrip to rescue Rex Bayly, who had been shot down during a 3SQN attack.

The new “Australians at War Film Archivewith its extensive transcripts, videos and photos of many WW2 veterans, is on our 'Links' page: www.australiansatwarfilmarchive.unsw.edu.au

Our latest batch of 3SQN stories from across the years:

"Billy Stutt and the Richmond Flyboys" - 1916 aviation pioneering, mixed explosively with State politics!  A review added to our 'Books' section.

"Australia's First-Ever Combined Operation" -  Army/Navy/Air Force action in Syria in 1941.  And 3SQN was warmly welcomed!

"Mirage Metamorphosis" - Brian Weston recalls the Squadron's "Lizard" colour scheme in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Added to our 'Aircraft' section.

A new Great War story: 3AFC Signaller Bert Billings' amazing: "Gallipoli Start-to-Finish"

A Friend in High Places - Senator Sir George Pearce and the Foundation of the RAAF.

And Christmas at Mileni, 1943 - the hilarious true story of how the South African Colonel commanding 239 Wing was deprived of his Christmas porker.

A new entry in our 'Lifetimes' section: Ted Savage, WW2 Armourer.

New information has been added to the Gladiator page in our 'Aircraft' section.

Two new titles have been added to our 'Book Recommendations': Australia and the (1914-18) War in the Air
and True Story of the (1944) Great Escape 

Sadly, WW2 Kittyhawk Pilot Alan Righetti has died at age 97 on 15/8/2015, after a lengthy period of declining health. 
Alan had been captured in Libya and was one of the last surviving witnesses to the "Great Escape" of 1944.
A short biography has been added to our 'Lifetimes' page.
Or read Alan's amazing story in full, in his own words, in one of our most popular web articles.

Epitaphs of War
A new essay in our 'Poems' section, describing the poignant connection between the famous Empire Poet Rudyard Kipling and the "Missing" soldiers of WW1.

New to our 'Past Events' list, a photo-essay on the festivities at historic Richmond RAAF Base, 75 Years after No.3 Squadron marched out to World War II.

Added pictures of an original WW1 leather Flying Helmet to our 'Mementos' page.

Click Here to see our 'What's New?' Entries from Previous Years

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