3 Squadron HISTORICAL DATES

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RAAF 3 SQUADRON - STORIES

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[Or Jump to WW1 - WW2 - Post-WW2.]

3SQN's Jet Age:  1956 to Present Day.

"Tropical Weather" - Jake Newham's gripping tale of flying his Sabre into the unknown in 1958.


Neil Handsley describes the groundcrew experience of Butterworth and the highly-ambitious Operation Sabre Ferry, 1958.


3 Squadron in Malaysia.  An article embracing the era from 1958 to the present day, by FLGOFF Michael Keightley.


Butterworth Airbase History  3 Squadron's Malaysian home away from home from 1958 until the mid-80s.

1960s


 3SQN Sabre Display Team - 1961.  By Pete Scully


"Flying the RAAF's Avon Sabre" (F-86).  By Barry Weymouth.  - With a focus on Airshow Displays.


Peter Larard's  "Indonesian Confrontation"  - Mid-air encounters in the mid-1960s!


OPERATION EXCALIBUR - 3SQN's very last official Sabre mission in February 1967, when the "Swords" were extracted from Butterworth and returned to Australia.

"Commanding Officer DOWN!"  - The loss of Vance DRUMMOND in a Mirage accident at Williamtown in 1967.

"Flying Operation Thoroughfare"  By CO3 Ted RADFORD.  3SQN's return to deployment Malaysia in 1969, with their new Mirages.

1970s


"Mirage Metamorphosis" - Brian WESTON illustrates the Squadron's "Lizard" colour scheme in the early 1970s.

 

"Pietschy's High-Wire Spectacular"   - A fast-flying Sabre intercepts some powerlines!   1971.


"Highest Mountain" - A tragic story of the loss of Mirage pilot Lloyd SMITH, 1972.


Drew HARRISON's "Jet Age" Paintings.  3SQN from the 1950s to the current day - and beyond!

"Mirage Fun" - Some enjoyable 1970s Butterworth cartoons by the very talented Bill CHAMBERS.

 

"Mirage Collision" - The tragic loss of  3SQN's "last" operational fatality, FLTLT Perry KELLY, in 1976.

1980s

1984 "Mirage Missile Misfire" - Commanding Officer Bruce 'Poodle' WOOD discovers that it's not always lucky to win a lottery!


Mick HICKEY recalls a 1985 Mirage Spin Incident during his Butterworth days.


A Hornet Tale by Martin WATSON - “Practical Joke / Chain Reaction” from Exercise Cope Thunder 1987.

1990s

The tragic loss of Ross FOX- Hornet collision over the Top End of Australia.

2000s


Darryl Luck's beautifully-illustrated report on 3 Squadron’s 2002 Operational Deployment to Diego Garcia in "Operation Slipper"


"Battle of the Forces", 2002.  3 Squadron's Williamtown F18s fly war-games:


2010s


Black Dagger”  2013 Townsville Bombing Exercise. Photo-Essay.


"A Padre's Tale"
Campbell CARROLL, 2010.

 

"From 3 Squadron to Chief of Air Force!"
- A profile of Air Marshal Geoff BROWN, AO.


Centenary of Australian Military Aviation 2014.


2014 Announcement - No.3 Squadron to be the F35 Pioneers.

 

"Good Morning... SYRIA!"  F/A-18A Pilot Interview, 2016.


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


3SQN in Operation OKRA - 2016.

2018 - First Operational F-35s arrive in Australia


Neil Smith's 3SQN Post-WW2 History Summary


2020s

2021 was the RAAF's Centennial Year.  An excellent address by AVM Joe IERVASI, Air Commander Australia, summarises the highs and lows of the RAAF's "Century".

[Jump to Jet Age - WW2 - Post-WW2.]

World War One:



Seven Amazing RE8 Tales  1917/1918

Before the War: 3 Squadron and the "Birth of Aviation"


3AFC Signaller Bert Billings' amazing record: "Gallipoli Start-to-Finish"


"Billy Stutt and the Richmond Flyboys" - 1916 aviation pioneering, mixed explosively with State politics!


"Fights in the Air" - 1916.  - An interesting letter from the Western Front in France, at the time that the Squadron was "being born", back in Australia, at Point Cook.

Complete 3SQN WW1 History Summary By Neil Smith


Early training at Point Cook James Brake’s Point Cook Photo Album is one of the jewels of the Australian War Memorial collection.


Tom Prince
- From Original ANZAC to AFC Observer, 1918.


Australia's First Air Combat - Lawrence Wackett stars in a dashing tale from the Sinai desert.


What's in a Number?   The bizarre story of how 3AFC gained its final identity during WW1.


The Sloane family honoured 2/AM Douglas Sloane with a book about his tragically short service with 3 Squadron AFC.  He died with his pilot (Lt. Shapira) when their RE8 crashed while transiting from England to France in August 1917.



2nd Air Mechanic Harold Edwards made the name-plate for the Red Baron's coffin and was the longest-lived WW1 A.F.C. veteran. Biography by Adrian Hellwig. 



Frank Tarrant's hopeful Letters from the Western Front

 

"Stretcher Bearer!"  Life in the trenches of Gallipoli and the Western Front, diary by Rudy Schulstad.


Nigel Love Rains Destruction on German Artillery on the Western Front.


The Tragic Loss of Best & Lewis 12th April 1918. - Analysis of the family impact, by Michael Molkentin.


World War One in an RE8   Lt. Jack Treacy describes his exciting flying experiences.


"Convoy to the Somme" April 1918.  By Air Mechanic Harold Edwards.

 

The Battle of Hamel, July 1918.  - A key move towards VICTORY in WW1.


August 8th, 1918:   3SQN and the 'Black Day' of the German Army.


Flying with 3 Sqn, Australian Flying Corps  - By Lt. James ("Lee") Smith DFC.

 

"Who shot down the Red Baron?"   By Neil Smith, based on the eyewitness testimony of his father: James "Lee" Smith DFC.

 

A Western Front Photo Saved...  Ray Williams rescues a historic 1918 photo.

 

Decoding "The Side Slipper"  - Insights into a 3AFC "trench-mag" from 1918.


Lt. John Clifford Peel,  AFC.  - A historic 3AFC link to the Foundation of the Flying Doctor Service.

 

[Jump to Jet Age - WW1 - WW2 - Post-WW2.]

Between the Wars:


"Welcome to Richmond!".  3 Squadron inaugurated RAAF operations at Richmond in July 1925 - but many minor disasters ensued on the journey there!


"Dog of War" - the surprising story of Rin-Tin-Tin and the WW1 Air Corps.


Gardens of Memory, an interesting selection of 3AFC war-graves from WW1, in England and on the Western Front.


The RAAF's Friend in High Places - Senator Sir George Pearce and the Foundation of the RAAF.


Sacrifice in the Survey of Canberra (1926).  


Australia's first RAAF Parachute Jumps (1926).


Fatal 3SQN Crash during the Opening of Parliament House (1927).


Tragedy at Richmond RAAF Base (1929).


Pictures of 3 Squadron R.A.A.F. in the 1920s at Richmond NSW


Demon Down!  - In the Devils’ Den (1937).


Disastrous Demonstration - Townsville (1937).


3SQN’s Earliest WW2 Fatality… REVEALED AFTER 73 YEARS!


3SQN 1920s and 30s History Summary by Neil Smith


[Jump to Jet Age - WW1 - Post-WW2.]

 World War Two (Early Years):

Complete 3SQN WW2 History Summary 1939-42 by Neil Smith


Gloster Gauntlets 1940   - Les Fitzpatrick recalls the details. 

1941

Snow Campbell's 1941 POW Diary  - Lumping cargo for Rommel! 
POW


Engine Fitter Val St Leon's  Desert Days, 1941/42.


Roy Fitzgerald - Aerodrome Defence Gunner and Armourer 1940-42.  (3SQN's first WW2 "kill" was a drogue-towing aircraft!)


"Australia's First-Ever Combined Operation"  -  3SQN warmly welcomed in action in Syria in 1941.


The Story of Squadron Leader Hickey.  An Australian lost in Greece, 1941.  SHOT DOWN


"Prangs for the Memories"   Harry Clare's interesting Syria Campaign photos from mid-1941.


3 Squadron "Foils" the Enemy Commander's Escape from Syria...   1941.


George Dumont tells of John Parr's 'Resurrection'  at Tobruk, 1941. 
POW/ESCAPE


The Illustrated 1940-41 Training and Ops Diary of Tomahawk Pilot Hal ("Robbie") Roberts. 

 

Bobby Gibbes Describes:  How he was nearly killed on his first Combat Operation, 1941.


Al Rawlinson's vivid description of the loss of Geoff Hiller on 2 December 1941. 
SHOT DOWN  


Newspaper Propaganda in 1941  "They should all be decorated!"  (We agree!)


1942

Bob Gibbes Examines a Pilot's Fears 

 

Nicky Barr Shot Down - January 1942


(1942) Nicky Barr's Brilliant Career  - Straight out of Arabian Nights!
 
SHOT DOWN/EVADER

Granton Harrison flew Buffalo Fighters in Malaya and later Kittyhawks in Italy.  He describes his remarkable jungle adventures evading capture by the Japanese, early 1942... 
SHOT DOWN  


And we thought training in the RAAF was tough...   - Saburo Sakai describes pilot-training in the Japanese Navy.


Lone Wolf - Bobby Gibbes stalks his enemies, 13/12/1941.
 

Ivor Leaver and the Aerodrome Defence "Bofors Boys", 1940-1942.

 

Bobby Gibbes' extraordinary article: "There's No Glamour in Air Warfare"   - Including an original air-combat report from Bir el Gobi, 25 November 1941.


The High Cost of Victory...  - Peter Turnbull falls in the pivotal Battle of Milne Bay, September 1942, the first-ever defeat of a Japanese invasion landing.
  SHOT DOWN


Bob Ulrich meets Peter Jeffrey  - Bob's heart-warming tribute to this great man when he was running an Operational Training Unit in Mildura, 1942.


War-Service Memoir of Tom WOOD, 3SQN Kittyhawk Pilot 1942 and Prisoner of War.
SHOT DOWN


"Yarns in the Tent"  A study of Mateship in 3 Squadron in North Africa and Italy.


Reg Pfeiffer on the Chaos of Retreat...  - January 1942.

 
Hauptmann Hans-Joachim Marseille  - One of the top Luftwaffe aces who brought down several 3 Squadron pilots during the long desert war. 

SHOT DOWN


The full illustrated story of: Milne Bay 1942 - The RAAF's "Forgotten Finest Hour"


WW2 HISTORY 


[Jump to Jet Age - WW1 - Post-WW2.]

 World War Two (Latter Years):

Complete 3SQN WW2 History Summary 1942-45 by Neil Smith


History Essay: the Pivotal Battle of El Alamein
July to November 1942


Eric Canning in a Mass Escape  - Italy 1942. 
ESCAPE


A Medic's Memory Lane...  In 1942-43, Stuart Morris witnessed and photographed some amazing incidents.


Keith Kildey was a great 3SQN combat leader, a top shot, and he also made the "Cricketing News".  1942.


Reports of Joseph Holder's "Death" were wildly exaggerated!   - Shot down November 1942.
  SHOT DOWN


A graphic description of Living Conditions in the Desert.


"Blackie" and "Blondie's" War  - Ace Pilots Al Rawlinson and Jock Perrin, 1938-1942.


Bobby Gibbes Rescues Rex Bayly  - in a single-seater Kittyhawk!  21 December 1942. 
SHOT DOWN/RESCUE


A Knight Bold and Brave  - How Harry Knight won his BEM.  Tales from 1942 and 1944.

 

Tommy Jones' Daily Diary.  Weather, war news and life's interesting moments of a 3SQN Ground Crew Member  - from 1942 to 1945.  Africa and Italy.


Peter Turnbull "Points the Bone"  - Port Moresby 1942.


Dave Ritchie Wanders the Desert  - New Year 1943. 
SHOT DOWN  


"Jack's War"   - The engrossing story of Jack Lusby, one of the 'Lost Tribe' of 3SQN replacements in Africa.
(NB. Comprising three books:  see also: Book2; Book3;
and Jack's separate Short Story:  "A Flying Fragment".


Norm Caldwell Escapes during the German Retreat.  Tripoli, January 1943
SHOT DOWN


The Illustrated Operations Diary of Flight Sergeant Brian M. Thompson, DFM. 1941-42.



Fred Eggleston's Amazing Escapades.   POW 1941-1943. 
SHOT DOWN/ESCAPER



"The Car" - Tom Russell's story of his 1943 adventure to Algiers with his mates, once the fighting in Africa was over.

John Howell-Price recalls his ride in Tom Russell's "hot" Chevvie


"The" Me109   ... by Ken McRae.  3 Squadron preserves a valuable Messerschmitt, November 1942.

 

Low-Level Raid on Magrun.  Alan Righetti's daredevil story of the time that he "copped some flak" in November 1942.


Alan Righetti shoots down Günther Mielenz  -  30 December 1942.

1943


10 March 1943 - Rescuing the Free French at
 Ksar Rhilane, Tunisia


Major Müncheberg's Two "Kills"
22 January 1943 

SHOT DOWN  


Bill Shoesmith invades Sicily 1943.


'Cliftied' Pork was on the menu for Bill Shoesmith's Christmas at Mileni, 1943.


Jack Raffen's Battlefield Grave.  Poignant pictures.  30 Dec 1943 
SHOT DOWN


Tom Russell describes some of the Squadron's "black days" at the start of 1943 -
"Battles of Attrition"


Sergeant Pilots
Danny Boardman & Keith Kildey in the Desert, 1942-43.


3 Squadron's (Captured!) Italian Air Force



Murray Nash's amazing connection to the Rescue of Mussolini at Mount Sasso in September 1943


 


A bizarre POW story of bad luck and "friendly fire":  "The Four Funerals of Doc McLeod"
SHOT DOWN/POW


"Woof" Arthur, a 3 Squadron veteran who went on to lead the fight against the Japanese in New Guinea, 1943.


A Tribute to 3 Squadron's Ground Crew in the Desert, 1943.  - By Bobby Gibbes  DSO, DFC & Bar. 


Geoff Chinchen's "home run" to Switzerland, 1943:  "Bricked-in to Break Out"
SHOT DOWN/EVADER


Emotional Journey:
The Illustrated 1942-45 Diary of 3SQN Fitter Corporal Colin FAEHSE
.


Ted Hankey's 13 Days to Freedom
- October 1943, Central Italy.
 
SHOT DOWN


The Three Padres
The remarkable trio who did so much for RAAF personnel in Africa and Italy.


Reg Stevens, DFC and Bar.  1943 Valedictions, including a stirring Radio Broadcast
(And an explanation for his Bad Back...)


No.3 Squadron and the "Plot to Kill Hitler" by Kittyhawk Pilot Tom Russell.


Bruce Burchfield - Into the Witches' Cauldron
over the Straits of Messina, August 1943.

 

"3 Squadron Invades Italy"
The boys become the first Allied Squadron to operate from the Italian Mainland.  September 1943.


The Battle of Termoli - Frantic action in October 1943.


Nicky BARR's own account of one of his adventurous escapes from German captivity, in the depths of the Italian winter of 1943/44. 
ESCAPE


3 Squadron in Malta - July 1943 Photo-Essay.

1944

Rev Fred McKay's Letter from Cutella   - Living conditions in February 1944.


Bruce Burchfield's Cutella Diary  1944.


"Kriegies" - Wal Hogg and Ken Watts  1944-45. 
SHOT DOWN/POW/EVADERS


"Sunk by 3SQN" - Feb.1944  - Reports from German crews who were on the receiving end of  the Squadron's anti-shipping attacks, off the Croatian coast.


Dam Busting! - One of 3 Squadron's most exciting missions.  Cutella/Pescara Dam, 1944.


"Blue" Glennan and the Engineering boys, keeping things together in Italy, 1944/45.

 

Service History and Photos of Medical Sgt Lou KEMP.  Africa, Sicily and Italy 1942-44.


The Death of Ray FARIA and the Kindness of Strangers.   Sept. 1944. 
SHOT DOWN


Bob Ulrich’s Dalmatian Dogpaddles   - Shot down over Yugoslavia in 1944, Bob was twice rescued by the same Partisan Patrol Boat. 
SHOT DOWN 


"Barry Finch's Trip to the Seaside"    3 Squadron adds a 3,000-tonne German Destroyer to its list of shipping victories.  5 November 1944.


"Boxing Day"  - 3 Squadron's P-51 Mustang action against Italian Me109Gs at Aviano in Northern Italy, 26 Dec 1944. 




1945


Lew Ranger's viewpoint: "The possible effects dive-bombing may have on the pilot's body."


Arthur Pardey - Training to become a 3SQN Mustang Pilot


Snowy Campbell's 1945 POW "Forced March"


 
POW


A toast to the Reverend Bob Davies


"Slovenian Mustang Muster" - Modern-day Archaeology in former Yugoslav territory is revealing fascinating remnants of some of 3SQN's shot-down Mustangs from 1945!


David Higgins visits the site where  his dad's Mustang was shot down in ItalyApril 1945. 


Rev Fred McKay's Letter to Home Folks  - Summarising the end of the war in 1945.


Alec Richardson, POW from 1942-45, Breaks through the Iron Curtain, May 1945
SHOT DOWN

 

Alan Clark's Lousy Long March   - through Yugoslavia with the Partisans in 1945!  Lavishly Illustrated.
  SHOT DOWN




An exciting RAAF air-sea warfare history:  "Fighting the U-boats"  1940-45.
WW2 HISTORY 


Bluey Beales'  "Italian Finale" - 1945


Lew Ranger pays tribute to his pal:  "Jungle Jim" Edmonds  - 3 Squadron's last combat fatality, April 1945.
 
SHOT DOWN


Memoirs of RAAF Nurse Joan Loutit:  Casualty Air-Evacuation in WW2. 
WW2 HISTORY

3SQN's "World War II Gardens of Memory".
A virtual visit to 3 Squadron's War Cemeteries from 1940-1945, scattered right around the Mediterranean Sea

WW2 REMEMBRANCE


[Jump to Jet Age - WW1 - WW2.]

POST-WW2 / Early 1950's

 Stan CURRAN’s story of ill-advised low-flyingRecruiting Hi-Jinks, 1948”.



3SQN ASSOCIATION ACHIEVEMENTS:

How the 3SQN Association Began (1946).


Peter Jeffrey Correcting 3 Squadron's Official WWII "Victory Tally" in Air-to-Air Combat.


Peter King Gives a Charitable UK View on the Modern Spirit of ANZAC Day.


50 years on, Bob Ulrich receives a call from 'a Fan'...


Father Bill Stevens, nephew of Squadron Leader Reg Stevens, on the Personal Meaning of ANZAC Day


Dedication of 3 Squadron Memorial Plaque in London (2009).


"Are You Dinky Di?" - A humorous look at whether our 2007 'Citizenship Test'  was worth fighting for.



[Jump to Jet Age - WW1 - WW2 - Post-WW2.]

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