3 Squadron Stories

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  WW1WW2Malaysia 50s-70sHornet Era 1986-2017Present Day.


 Tips for Researching 3 Squadron Personnel and Operational Records
Click the link above to see our recommended sources for online research into 3 Squadron personnel details, photos and stories.  Includes instructions for searching the collections of the National Archives of Australia and the Australian War Memorial.
 ADF Serials
This useful website lists almost every aircraft that has ever served with the Australian Defence Forces. 
To see a list of their many pages referring to 3 Squadron's aircraft, Click Here to search for the string "3 Sqn".  


Current Photo Database: Air Force Images  (Search for example: "F-35".)

Current Air Force News

 Past editions of Air Force News are currently being digitised and progressively added to the National Library TROVE newspaper database, making available a wealth of RAAF historical detail for researchers. 
[Click to search: Historical  3SQN articles in Air Force News
Or to find any other desired topic, simply type alternate keywords into their “Search” box.]

An excellent range of free contemporary RAAF publications is available from the Airpower Development Centre.

 The Official RAAF  Website
News, Current Organisation; Bases; Aircraft; History and many other features.

Air Force Association NSW - Website featuring News and Welfare Advice for RAAF Veterans and Families.
 RAAF Fighter Squadron Associations
Links to all RAAF Fighter Squadron homepages.


 Australian Film and Sound Archive - An interesting web-page with film-clips of 3 Squadron AFC.

 The Red Baron's funeral can be viewed online in an annotated silent film.   (Groundcrew from 3rd Squadron AFC supplied the firing party, as can be seen from the triangular colour-patches on their shoulders.)

 The First World War 1914 - 1918
A clear and interesting overview of World War I by Rene Brouwer.
 Australian Flying Corps
Cam Riley's magnificent site covering all aspects of the
AFC in World War I.  
His 3AFC page features stories and illustrations of the Squadron's time on the Western Front.  Cam's artwork is outstanding. 
(One 3AFC RE8, "A4349", logged more combat hours than any other Allied aircraft on the Front!)  
There are also rare original WW1 colour photos to add to a very interesting package. 
"The RE8 Controversy Revisited" - One of the excellent research articles available online from the
Society of WW1 Aero Historians
(Membership of this Sydney-based - but globally interconnected -
group is strongly recommended to anyone with a WW1 research interest.  Their $30 annual membership fee provides unlimited online access to decades of research embodied in their journal articles. )

Members of the public are also able to freely access their
 Database of Australian Airmen in the Great War,
an invaluable resource for family-history researchers and other WW1 enthusiasts.

 Constructing an RE-8
Colour photos of the various skilled processes required to craft this surprisingly intricate machine. 
- Built for the impressive (in fact world-class!) Omaka WWI Air Museum at Blenheim in New Zealand.

A WWI Flight Simulator for home computers called 'Rise of Flight'  features a detailed map of the Western Front.  There is the option to play as the AFC and the RE8 is available, so there may be scope to re-create some 3SQN operations!   The basic game is free to play, but only includes one Allied and one German aircraft.  Further aircraft and features are available to purchase and download as desired. 

 The OFFICIAL HISTORY of the Australian Flying Corps in WW1,
by Cutlack (published 1923), is available to browse, or as a free download on this page, from the University of Toronto, Canada.  (Searchable 29Mb PDF, or various e-reader formats.)


 "The Third Brother: The Royal Australian Air Force 1921-39".
Available as a free book download from the ADF's Airpower Development Centre.
The fascinating warts-and-all history of the RAAF's chequered development, up to the time of 3SQN's dispatch to Egypt early in WW2 (which seriously drained the resources of the then-tiny Air Force). 



 WW2 Biplane Aces
delightful site - on the unusual topic of biplane combat early in WW2.  Packed with detail.  
3 Squadron's Gauntlet and Gladiator boys get many mentions.  Extensive individual articles on Alan Boyd, Gordon Steege, Peter Turnbull, Alan Rawlinson, Ian MacLachlan, John ("Jock") Perrin,
Alan Gatward, Blake Pelly, Charles Gaden and Wilfred ("Woof") Arthur.  

Also exhaustive lists of the missions that the Squadron flew; and aircraft pages on the Gladiator and Gauntlet.

 Zeno's Warbird Videos
Fascinating contemporary flight-training films are available online for some of the planes flown by 3 Squadron during WW2.  These films are in small-screen format, but the size can be magnified by right-clicking once the video is running, and selecting "double" or "full-screen" size.  The Kittyhawk II film is in colour, and illustrates an aircraft in typical Desert colours with a Rolls Royce engine, as flown by 3 Squadron from Alamein onwards in late 1942. 
The Mustang III  training film is in B&W, but nicely produced.  (They even squeeze in a few corny jokes, such as the scene showing: "Pilots who don't like the P-51" - they're all Luftwaffe pilots!)  The Mustang was flown by 3 Squadron from late 1944.
 Australian Military Aviation Art
Online gallery of dramatic Aussie
aviation artwork, including "Desert Hawks" by Robert Taylor, featuring 3 Squadron's Kittyhawks.

Australians at War Film Archive
ncludes extensive transcripts, videos and photos of many 3SQN veterans.

 Superb Animation - "The Desert Dogfighter"
(On Youtube: Part 1,  Part 2.)
The action-packed story of Nicky Barr, 3 Squadron's top ace. 
Certainly you will want to watch this free 19-minute movie more than once. 
Click the Play " >" button to start.
The digitised Official History of the Air War against Italy and Germany, by John Herrington,
including many stirring 3 Squadron episodes:
1939-43 and 1944-45
 The Great Escape
Rob Davis's interesting site illustrates conditions in the Sagan Prisoner of War (POW) camp in Germany. 
- Well-remembered by several 3 Squadron POWs who were confined there.
 American Aircraft Production
The P-40 and P-51 aircraft that 3 Squadron flew for most of World War II were built in the USA.  Joe Baugher's site provides copious information about the differences between the various Marks and Production Batches of Tomahawks, Kittyhawks (P-40s) and Mustangs (P-51s).
 A fantastic full-colour 1944 documentary film, showing dive-bombing and ground attack in Italy (and life for the men at the landing-ground) in unprecedented detail...
Although an American production, it captures the same situations that 3 Squadron experienced in this theatre of operations.

 "The Office"
A fantastic 360-degree cockpit view of a modern-day Mustang in the livery of "Dakota Kid II" (a P-51D that flew in the European theatre).


 Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham - Biography (23Mb E-book, cost $10.  Free searchable samples.)
He was born in Australia, a successful WW1 Ace and an esteemed leader of the WW2 Desert Air Force.
"Mary" Coningham forged the doctrine of Allied Tactical Airpower while directing the victorious operations of the D.A.F., which included 239 (Fighter-Bomber) Wing, containing 3 Squadron.  This book provides a fascinating description of the "big picture" of Air Warfare in the African and Early Italian Campaigns. 
- Refreshingly frank about Allied mistakes as well as triumphs.
 Shark Squadron
The excellent website of
112 Squadron RAF, who flew their spectacular "shark-mouthed" fighters alongside No.3 Squadron in 239 Wing for three eventful years, in Africa, Sicily and Italy.   112 Squadron was led at one stage by the top Australian ace, Clive Caldwell. 

The "Photos" section is fascinating, including Brian Eaton's specially-painted Mustang IV when he led 239 Wing.

 "The Desert Harassers"
450 Squadron was the "other" Australian squadron sharing the travails of 239 Fighter-Bomber Wing.  There is much of interest in the brilliant official website of 450 Squadron Association.
 250 Squadron
250 Squadron was another of 3 Squadron's "Wing-mates".  Among many achievements, 250 Sqn. had a spectacular success against an entire squadron of German FW190s in Italy.
260 Squadron RAF (239 Wing)
A brief history with illustrations of aircraft. 
Also, James ("Eddie") Edwards was a 260 Squadron pilot whose reminiscences are preserved in detail by Canadian Veterans Affairs.
 A Brief 5 Squadron SAAF History
Another "239 Wing"-mate.

"Onward Postings"

Many 3SQN Personnel went back to the Pacific Theatre for further tours of duty. 
For example, Gordon WHITE, a Tomahawk and Kittyhawk pilot with 3 Squadron in 1941/42, later died in action as a 78 SQN Flight Commander in New Guinea in 1944.
78 Squadron Association.

"The Jet Age" - Malaysia 1950s-1970s

 Fighter World  (Williamtown NSW.)
A great place for getting "up close" to the aircraft flown during 3 Squadron's time in Malaysia
- the Sabre and Mirage, amongst their many other fascinating exhibits.
The RAAF Mirage Story
Excellent free book available for download, by ex-3SQN pilot Marty Susans.
 The RAAF School in Penang
Cynthia Matuschka's
website will bring back many memories for families from the Butterworth days.
 Mick Quinn has several interesting photos of 3 Squadron Mirages and personnel circa 1980.

1986-2017 HORNET ERA

 "3 Squadron - Tip of the Spear" (1.4Mb PDF)
3 Squadron Hornets and several personnel feature in this high-tempo magazine article from
 AUSTRALIAN AVIATION Magazine (April 2010).
Another interesting 2013 blog by Phil Buckley, focusing on the roles of some younger pilots.
"Air Power into the Next Decade" an interesting talk to the Royal United Services Institute
Air Commodore Mel Hupfeld, CO of 81 Wing, RAAF [which includes 3SQN], in May 2010.

  WW1WW2Malaysia 50s-70sHornet Era 1986-2017Present Day.

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3 Squadron Stories

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