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3SQN Centennial Dinner, Colours Parade, Airshow and Family Day.

Thursday/Friday 27/28th October, 2016.  Williamtown RAAF Base.

In World War One, Australia fielded only four combat flying Squadrons, but each of these units contributed with distinction to the overall Allied air effort in their respective theatres of operation. 
All four squadrons (1AFC to 4AFC) were formed in 1916, so the RAAF’s joint celebration of these FOUR CENTENARIES was always anticipated to be a BIG ONE.
– And we certainly weren’t disappointed!   Our photo-essay below tells the story:

“PRACTICE DAY”.  The day before the airshow was (ahem!) clear and fine. 
Our member Kieron BALL captured this world-class image of a 1SQN F18F trailing “ecto” condensation
in a high-g turn, with a dazzling “Buddha’s Ring” of rainbow colours fringing the aircraft’s shadow.


A Wirraway Warbird and a 76 SQN Hawk trainer flew over the Newcastle Beaches on the afternoon of the 27th to welcome attendees.
(This Wirraway also turned on a virtuoso performance of low-level loops on the Airshow Day.)



An incredible line-up of 3SQN luminaries came out for the 3SQN CENTENNIAL DINNER on the 27th. 
Here we see Slim MOORE, WW2 Engine Fitter, and GPCAPT Terry van HAREN enjoy the pre-dinner drinks. 
Slim slaved through the heat and dust of North Africa, from the Battle of Alamein to the Victory in Tunis, and right up the Italian peninsula 
through the snow and mud of two  European winters.  He was shot-at and bombed by the odd German 
(not to mention the odd American - no hard feelings!) and was Mentioned in Dispatches for bravery under fire. 
Terry’s career in the RAAF has already been brilliant and we have a strong premonition that the best is yet to come! 
Terry was CO3 from 2008-2011.  He already has a Distinguished Service Medal for his combat leadership in 75 SQN during Op-FALCONER. 
Terry led the team that arranged this Centennial - a massive job, but with a fantastic outcome! 
[Portrait by Dominic O'Donnell.]


The Centennial Dinner in the Williamtown Officers’ Mess attracted 250 attendees, including the Governor-General and the Chief of Air Force. 
The menu was top-class and the setting sparkled with lovely flower decorations, inventive commemorative placemats, and thoughtful historical displays.  
[Pic by Dom.]

Jake NEWHAM (centre) is a like a walking RAAF history-book. A combat Meteor pilot in the Korean War, Jake flew his 3SQN fighter to Butterworth in the dicey “Sabre Ferry” operation of 1958, introduced the “Lizard” Mirages as Commanding Officer of 3 Squadron in 1967, and rose to Chief of Air Staff.  Here Jake is flanked (as ever) by two of his indispensable Mirage ground-crew, Jim HALL and Wayne BEATTIE.  [Portrait by Dom.]

WW2-veteran Armourer Gus THOMSON feels the love.  [Portrait by Dom.]

11 ‘former’ and one ‘serving’ 3SQN Commanding Officers, plus five WW2 Veterans!  [Pic by Sandy Moore.]

Admittedly, the volume of conversation did compete with the excellent RAAF Jazz Band, whose medley of historic tunes ranged from “Tipperary” to “The Age of Aquarius”.  [Pic by Dom.]


A fine collection of campaign ribbons displayed by some of the Squadron's most experienced NCOs.


WW2 Armourer Felix SAINSBURY (in his best Yacht Club uniform!) got on very well with the Governor General - and with the ADC's of both the G-G and the Chief of Air Force!  [Pics by John Sainsbury.]

Graeme and Ellen Marston’s kind comment was typical of the many that we received:We both had a great time and caught up with friends we had not seen for a long time!”


Our 28th OCTOBER PARADE.   Swords and Supersonicry!
  [Pic by Dom.]


The 3SQN Colours march past - a very stirring moment!
The accompaniment played by the RAAF Band (“Aces High” from the Battle of Britain movie)
happens to be based on the German National Anthem
- And why not, since much of 3 Squadron’s history would never have occurred without the Germans’ keen contributions!
[Pic by Kieron.]


The ‘Minute’s Silence’ was broken rather over-emphatically by some Queensland hoons from 1SQN!  [Pic from the RAAF Official collection.]


“Made of Stainless Steel.”
The rain came down, but the ranks held firm!  Governor-General Cosgrove (left) impressed everyone
with his enthusiastic review of the parade and engagement with the troops. 
[Pic by Dom.]

See also the impressive official RAAF parade video.

“3SQN FAMILY.”  WGCDR Ray “Homer” SIMPSON (centre) flanked by WW2 vets Slim, Donny and Gus.  Ray was X.O. of 3SQN, but has recently been promoted to C.O. of 88 SQN.  At right: Joe IERVASI and young Rhys van HAREN join the happy throng. 
Ray says, “Nothing like a small thunderstorm to cool things down!  It was great to see you all again today.  The boys were in good spirits!”



The Airshow looked great, despite the low cloud-base, with performances from all four "Centennial" squadrons.  3 Squadron's display team - the "Purple Cobras" is shown above.
- The third ship in the formation is the indigenous-tribute F18 "Worimi". 
[Pics by Kieron.]


On the ground, the static displays demonstrated that size does matter! 
[Pic by Dom.]


The TIME CAPSULE.  Over-engineered by Wazza URQUHART (left) 25 years ago - it looks good for another 100! 
C.O. at the time was David PIETSCH, who’d wondered where he left that bottle of 3SQN Port!
Johnny H is flanked by WOFF Russell BECK, holding a historic tech-staff placard;
and Corporal Cory EIME (who had to ‘crack’ the box open in front of a large audience) holding a garden-gnome named ‘ROGER’.
[Pic from the RAAF Official collection.]


Luckiest audience-member was WW2 Mustang pilot Arthur PARDEY, who reclaimed a beautiful silk “1945 Escape Scarf
(with its useful map of Italy and Yugoslavia) – that he had donated back in 1991! 
[Pic by James.]

Jim Hall: “A top few days, and congratulations to all involved for making it so. Trying to work out where our old hangars fitted in the very much-expanded Base was a test of memory, to say the least!”

The Squadron’s 100th Anniversary “Pimped Crate”; Hornet A21-27, resplendent with historical references:
Desert camo; “CV-V” markings; “flame orange” highlights; Southern Cross on blue rudders; “Kittyhawk + bomb” tailfins; and “ESTD. 1916” on flaps. 
[Pic by Dom.]

Terry van Haren has pointed out a top photo-article on the Centenary Airshow and, with an eye to the future, there is also a neat speech by Geoff Brown on the 3SQN Centenary and the F35.

3 Squadron EVENTS

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