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"WHAT'S NEW?" (June 2024)

New Reader Contacts have been added:

A new article on our 'Stories' page describes 3SQN's "World War II Gardens of Memory".
A visit to any of these War Cemeteries, scattered right around the Mediterranean Sea, is sure to be a moving experience.

A tribute to our member Carl DAWSON has been added to our 'Lifetimes' page.

ANZAC Day 2024 was a brilliant day in Sydney, as attested by the photos from our accredited march photographer, Dom O'Donnell.

A new Hornet Tale has been added to our Stories page - “Practical Joke / Chain Reaction” from 1987.

A new review on our Books page: 
F/A-18A/B Hornet Aircraft in Australian Service.

Extract:  A gripping 2016 OKRA Classic Hornet strike-mission in Syria:  "Ex-Cave-ation"

Our member Pete RING has collected a wonderful assortment of pictures and press-clippings of OPERATION EXCALIBUR - 3SQN's very last official Sabre mission in February 1967, when the "Swords" were extracted from Butterworth and returned to Australia.

"Poppies" - a moving modern poem about Remembrance Day, is now on our Poems page.

A tribute to one of 3SQN's most talented Commanding Officers, Ted RADFORD, has been added to our 'Lifetimes' page.
- This article also features Ted's own amusing account of his tribulations during 3SQN's long-distance transfer of 21 Mirages from Williamtown to Butterworth in "Operation Thoroughfare" (1969).

Another sad loss has been Jim "J the T" TREADWELL, a pilot of very diverse experience who flew Sabres with 3SQN in Malaya.  Jim clocked up some surprising RAAF "firsts".

On the 12th of April 2023, we lost the last of our 3SQN WW2 Veterans.  Felix SAINSBURY, OAM, who formerly served as a Sergeant Armourer in Syria and North Africa, passed away in Perth, Western Australia.  His fascinating story has now been added to our 'Lifetimes' section.

Our review of a recent official history publication about Operation OKRA in Iraq and Syria, where 3SQN saw combat in 2016, has been added to our 'Books' page.

The weekend around Anzac Day 2023 had a cavalcade of enjoyable events for the Association in NSW.
A round-up report has been added to our 'Past Events' page.

Jake NEWHAM was an outstanding Commanding Officer of No.3 Squadron in the 1960s, who rose to become Chief of the Australian Air Staff.  His 2023 Obituary has been added to our 'Lifetimes' section.

On 19 September 2022, CO3 WGCDR KIELY, along with the Williamtown Chaplain, Association representatives and serving personnel, attended a wreath-laying in memory of Queen Elizabeth.

Three memorable personalities are the subject of our latest Lifetimes entries:

Gus THOMSON lived to the grand old age of 101 and was one of the last surviving representatives of 3SQN's WW2 Generation.

-  In comparison, Ross FOX had his stellar career cut short in a fatal mid-air collision in 1990.  This tragic episode cost the RAAF one of their very best officers, but paradoxically helped to cement Ross's position in the pantheon of great fighter pilots.

- A nice obituary from “WINGS” magazine for 3SQN’s John LARSEN [who passed away in 2021] has been handed to us by our member, Sabre/Mirage veteran Carl DAWSON.  - Impressively, John Larsen had three separate tours of service with 3SQN in Malaysia.  (Carl also pointed out that despite what a few history textbooks say, 3SQN was definitely the “FIRST” RAAF Operational Sabre Squadron.)

Three new Recommendations have been placed on our 'Books' page: "The Lizards that Flew" (3SQN Mirages 1969); "SABRE Recollections"; and "It's a Fighter World" (3SQN Mirage Cartoons). 

"SABRE Recollections" was launched at Fighterworld on 30/7/22, before an audience that included many of the
veteran contributors to the book.  This excellent compilation was edited and published by our good friend Sandi
NIPPERESS, who also created the spectacular design and layout of the book.  She was ably assisted in story
selection and editing by serving 3SQN AvTech Chris RYAN.  (Working in his own time to select the most evocative
stories from an over-abundance of excellent offerings.)

Also a new F-18 Hornet story, "Diplomatic Immunity", has been extracted from the outrageously funny book of RAAF anecdotes "Fighter Pilot".


 CONGRATULATIONS to Flight Sergeant Damian Andrew GARDINER (pictured above with 3SQN in Arizona in 2018) on the award of his CONSPICUOUS SERVICE MEDAL (CSM) in the 2022 Australia Day Honours List
“For meritorious achievement in F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter maintenance management at No.3 Squadron for the Royal Australian Air Force.  FSGT GARDINER displayed extraordinary technical ability and interpersonal skills in the development and implementation of essential maintenance practices during the introduction of the F-35A Lightning II at No.3 Squadron.  His continuous commitment to improving maintenance effectiveness ensured operational objectives were met, further enhancing F-35A Lightning II capability.  He is an exceptional Senior Non-Commissioned Officer and maintenance practitioner, who demonstrates superior judgement, conspicuous dedication and superb technical expertise.”

A new picture has been added to our RE8 “Aircraft” page, showing the wreckage created by the disastrous 1925 Melbourne fire that destroyed 3 Squadron’s record-breaking WW1 RE8, A4397, and also the German Halberstadt that the Squadron captured in mid-air, plus several other rare planes acquired by the War Memorial.

  Also added to our RE8 page:
Links to WGCDR John BENNETT's comprehensive “ADF Serials” articles on the RE8 Serials and Markings of 3AFC
 WW1 Aerial Reconnaissance article.
(“Serials” table see page 72. 
Reconnaissance article starts page 57. )
Other articles in John's extensive series are:
3AFC Foundation (Page 42);
1918 Summer Offensives (Page 29);
1918 Brisfits and the Hindenberg Line (Page 20).
RE8 Presentation Aircraft (Page 42)

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.

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.]

The new “Australians at War Film Archive” with its extensive transcripts, videos and photos of many WW2 veterans, is on our 'Links' page.

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.

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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