3 Squadron Stories
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John Duigan won the Military Cross on operations with 3 Squadron AFC, but even before World War One broke out, he had claimed fame as an aviation pioneer back in Australia.
- We're also sad to record the death of Nigel's oldest son Jeff, a great contributor to documenting 3AFC's history, who also served as a Mosquito Navigator in WW2.
Vin Smith "Meritorious Service Medal" - The only 3AFC Casualty whose war-grave can be visited in Australia.
COBBY, top WW1 fighter ace, CO3 1931-32, and
the recipient of the George Medal in WW2
The spectacular account of one of 3SQN’s most famous ex-Commanding Officers (1931-36), Bill BOSTOCK, who rose high in the RAAF in WW2.
Jack Ohlmeyer - 3SQN's very first casualty of WW2 was nearly forgotten by posterity. However, dedicated individuals have worked over the decades to revive his memory.
Gordon Steege - a 'Gladiator Ace' from the early WW2 battles in the Egyptian Western Desert in 1940/41.
Jim Jelley - an airframe fitter who completed three tours of duty in combat zones and was awarded the British Empire Medal.
Mick O'Mullane - his wartime experience as an Aircraft Mechanic with the 3SQN "Originals" set his course for a lifetime career.
Alan Boyd - Another dashing Gladiator Ace, claiming several victories in biplane combat against the Italians in 1940.
Al Rawlinson - Ace pilot and a very popular and successful Commanding Officer for the Squadron in the difficult final months of 1941.
Eric Baker was a Radio Operator and one of the Squadron's last surviving 1940 'Originals'. After returning from War he made a wonderful contribution to the Melbourne community.
Marcus "Mac" Macinnes, 3 Squadron's Equipment Officer in the early WW2 battles in Egypt, Libya and Syria.
"Prim" Primrose was 3SQN Intelligence Officer 1940/41. He was older than most of his WW2 comrades and had flown bombers in WW1 for the RAF in France. This transcript comes from a recording that Prim made for his family, with many amusing anecdotes about WW1 and his life between the wars in rural Australia and the Pacific Islands.
One of 3SQN's great characters, Dick Hickson served with the Squadron during the Desert War days and was President of the Association between 1986 and 1988. Dick's life was such an interesting study of fine achievements and personal contributions to Australia's progress. This Eulogy was delivered at Dick's funeral by his daughter, Jill Hickson [wife of former NSW Premier Neville Wran]. Included are some of Dick's WWII pictures.
Val St. Leon. An Engine-Fitter with 3 Squadron in Palestine and North Africa. Val brushed-off the desert dust and rose to a stellar post-war career as a pilot with Qantas.
Robert Glassborow was another 'Original' whose calling was Wireless Telegraphy Operator. He lived to the age of 100.
Jack Hamilton - an Engine Fitter in the Early days in the Desert.
Charlie Caddy - Another of the big contingent of Radio Operators who set out from Australia with 3 Squadron.
Jack Faunt made sterling progress during his time in the Middle East with 3 Squadron as an Aircraft Hand, and then had some VERY interesting experiences once he returned to the Pacific theatre.
Bob Gray, General Hand from 1941 to '43, who left us some great stories
Leo Freeleagus - Popular Mess Steward and batman to some of the Squadron's most famous Commanding Officers.
Merv Beck - 3SQN WW2 Armourer and later a distinguished Police Inspector.
Ken McRae MBE - 3 Squadron's esteemed Engineering Officer from The Battle of Gazala (1942) through to the end of the war in Italy (1945).
Fortunately, Alan survived as a Prisoner of War. - But his adventures had only just begun!
Tom Russell - The last Kittyhawk pilot surviving from the Alamein days, lifelong volunteer-worker for 3SQN Association, Hon. NSW President.
Ted Savage, Armourer on Tomahawk and Kittyhawk aircraft in Syria, Africa and Italy.
Both of their tributes include interesting illustrations and Arthur's has an exciting story of when he evaded capture in Italy.
Robert Sydney "Bobby" Jones. Pilot in Africa in 1942, POW in Italy; successfully escaped to Switzerland.
Doc McLeod was a Kittyhawk pilot whose bizarre fate after being shot down in 1943 has only recently been unravelled.
In late 2010, Brian Eaton's medals were sold for more that $70,000. This extract from the auction catalogue records Brian's outstanding flying achievements, including two stints as Commanding Officer of No.3 Squadron.
Grizz Bear. Engine Fitter 1942-1945. A popular character on the Squadron. His suggestion to put the "Southern Cross" on the Mustang rudders created a 3SQN tradition that endures today.
Geoff later received an MBE for his
daring POW escape
This tribute to Geoff, who was elected as a Queensland MLA 1963-1977, was delivered by Premier Beattie in the chamber of Parliament House, Brisbane.
Flight Sergeant Allen Wand - Airframe Fitter, served with 3 Squadron in WW2: "All the way from Alamein to the Alps."
His amazing achievements attracted press coverage right around the world.
Our tribute recalls Peter's WW2 service as a Flight Sergeant Wireless Mechanic during the Squadron's hard slog from Libya, through Tunisia, to Malta, Sicily, and all the way up the Italian Peninsula to the final Victory in Europe.
He was later Commanding Officer of 450 "Desert Harassers" Squadron.
Coll Callander. A Kittyhawk pilot who flew in the big set-piece battles against the German defensive lines in Italy, 1944.
Bob Gillett. Engine Fitter in Malta, Sicily and Italy.
The desert memories of Instrument Fitter John O'Reilly.
Reg Stevens. Certainly the Squadron's fastest-promoted man, a skilled and much-admired Squadron Leader.
Bill Shoesmith. Sergeant, canteen truck driver and Desert Providore extraordinaire.
The long life of one of our dedicated 3 Squadron WWII ground-crew is described in this Western Australian newspaper article.
Murray Nash. Murray served three separate combat tours in 3 Squadron during World War II - starting in the Desert and then twice as Squadron Leader in Italy. Murray was the man who put the "Southern Cross" on the Squadron's rudders.
Chas Wannan, a popular Kittyhawk and Mustang Flight Leader.
Lew Ranger. A Mustang pilot over the last frantic months of operations in Northern Italy, Lew was an outstanding character and lifelong contributor to 3 Squadron Association. This tribute is by Arthur Pardey.
Alan Clark, a Mustang pilot who had an adventurous time with the Partisans after being shot down over Yugoslavia near the end of the WW2.
Mick "Blue" Glennan - Engine Fitter ...and enthusiastic, unpaid, life-coach to sprog pilots...
The last-surviving 3SQN WW2 veteran in South Australia was Jim Degenhardt, a late-war Mustang Armourer.
John Hobson HOOKE OBE DFC had two
tours with 3 Squadron, finishing as a Flight Commander in
Italy in 1944. His good looks and exceptional handlebar
moustache made him a favourite subject in official
photographs! John's community service in his later life was also
MATES ... Lew Ranger's Eulogy to Bluey White
Jock McAuley was the 'baby' of 3 Squadron WW2 pilots. He flew his Mustang in the closing months of the War in Italy.
Arthur Pardey - the longest surviving of all 3SQN's veteran Mustang Pilots, and an outstanding businessman in civilian life.
'Dusty' Lane - Spitfire and Mustang Pilot, who went on to a nationally-important airline career.
Johnny Taylor, a popular Mustang Flight Leader.
Stan Curran was an Engine Fitter and later Engineering Officer in the RAAF during WW2 and post-war. He had postings with 3SQN in Canberra (Mustangs) and Butterworth (Sabres).
Ron Susans, a decorated 3SQN Kittyhawk pilot in WW2, had a most interesting RAAF career post-war, retiring as an Air Vice Marshal.
"Gus" THOMSON. An Armourer in the Desert Campaign from Syria 1941 across to Tunisia 1943, Gus lived to the grand age of 101 and was a great contributor to 3SQN Association.
The last of our 3SQN WW2 Veterans, Felix SAINSBURY who formerly served as a Sergeant Armourer in Syria and North Africa.
Lyall Klaffer was a 3SQN Mustang pilot in Canberra post-war and went on to a stellar RAAF career, creating several aviation "firsts" and exhibiting great airmanship.
The only 3SQN Commanding Officer lost in peacetime was the highly-decorated Mirage pilot Vance Drummond in 1967.
the T" TREADWELL, a pilot of very diverse experience
who flew Sabres with 3SQN in Malaya.
- Jim clocked up some surprising RAAF "firsts".
Ted Radford - one of 3SQN's most talented Commanding Officers.
Jeff Jenkins - Sabre Aerobatic Display Pilot and Instructor.
John Larsen - a popular Sabre/Mirage "Gunnie" who racked up the impressive total of THREE separate tours of duty with 3SQN in Malaysia.
A tragic accident atop of the highest mountain in Malaysia in 1972 ended the promising flying career of Mirage Pilot Lloyd Smith.
'Gus' Winen - Mirage Airframe Fitter, Butterworth; and friend to all.
Ned Wark - 28 years of Engineering excellence at the dawn of the RAAF's jet age.
Ted Plant OAM - A long-serving Radar specialist technician, who was recognised for his expertise.
AVM Fred Barnes, the man who led 3 Squadron into the Jet Age in 1956.
was a true gentleman who single-handedly rebuilt the Queensland Branch
of 3SQN Association and served as President. He was an
eye-witness to some of the important historical moments in 3SQN's "Jet
Age" with Sabres.
Former 3SQN 1966 Commanding Officer Keith MARTIN, who had a varied and interesting RAAF career, starting with combat in the Pacific in WW2.
Bruce GRAYSON - His spectacular RAAF career included commanding 3SQN Mirages in Malaysia in the late 1970s.
RAAF lost one of its most exceptional pilots in 1990, when Ross FOX was killed in a mid-air
was an outstanding Commanding Officer of No.3 Squadron in the 1960s,
who rose to become Chief of the Australian Air Staff.
3 Squadron Stories
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