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12 to 16 February 1967.

– Mementos from our member Pete RING.

The line-up of six Sabres at Butterworth on 12 February 1967, preparing for the Squadron's last official Sabre flights, returning from Malaysia to Australia.
[NB: The colourful 3SQN heraldry of previous years has been long-erased from the airframes - due to the operational needs of swapping aircraft up to Ubon for 79 SQN
and also detectability concerns during the Indonesian “Confrontation”.  – However the “Sabre 3” logo still gets a run on the long-range tanks!]
The whole operation (Butterworth- Changi - Denpasar -  Darwin - Townsville - Williamtown) is documented in the 3SQN Operations Record Book Page 206.
[Photos from Kev DOYLE, Mick VAUGHAN and Peter RING.]

In days of old, when knights were bold, and RAAF codenames were allowed to have some humour and scholarship injected into them, 3 Squadron’s LAST Sabre operation revelled in the name “Operation Excalibur”.

The favourite RAAF nickname for the Sabre was “The Sword” and this 3SQN mission was ‘withdrawing the Sword’ - remembering the ancient legend of King Arthur.

[…Which itself echoes the days when bronze swords were cast in stone moulds.] 

Our member Pete RING, who was a 3SQN Sabre pilot at the time, has sent in a brilliant collection of photos and press-clippings covering the long-distance return of these jets from Butterworth to Australia:

Pete poses for a publicity photo with his allocated 3SQN Sabre, one day before departure.

Ready to go!

Farewell Formation; 0920hrs, 12/2/67. 
3SQN’s Excalibur Sabres fly over Butterworth for the last time, heading off on their first stage to Changi.

A bit sweat-stained at the end of one of the flight stages.



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