Doncaster Squadron in Victoria was recently visited by Mr Charles “Hank” Fargher, a former RAN pilot to discuss his military career.
When WWII began, Hank was an apprentice fitter and turner, this trade meant he was exempt from military service.
However he decided to join the RAAF in 1943 and expected to work as a fitter and turner there.
After basic training, he was told that they required Air Crew more desperately, so he began his training as an Observer. He spent his war time service in Cornwall in the UK. At wars end, he came back to Melbourne and was demobbed from the RAAF as a Flight Sergeant (Observer). Having heard that the RAN was soon to acquire an Aircraft Carrier, he walked across the road to the RAN recruitment office, still in his RAAF uniform.
Hank did his basic training followed an Officer’s course and was attached to 816 Squadron (RAN). Hank served on HMAS Vengeance (on lease from the Royal Navy) until HMAS Melbourne was commissioned.
On the Melbourne, Hank crewed Fairey Fireflys and Fairey Gannets, both Anti-Submarine aircraft. Hank also served on HMAS Sydney, the sister ship to the Melbourne. He spent 12 years in the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm, reaching the rank of Liuetenant and a further six years in the Royal Australian Navy Reserves.
The cadets found his talk very enlightening and we thank Hank for telling the cadets his story.