Sky’s the limit for RAAF graduates

PLTOFF Andrew Cary with the PC-21 trainer
PLTOFF Andrew Cary with the PC-21 trainer

Fourteen student pilots recently received their wings after graduating from 269 Pilots’ Course with 2 FTS at RAAF Base Pearce. Among these graduates was PLTOFF Andrew Cary, a former cadet with Ringwood Squadron of the Australian Air League.

Andrew was awarded the SJ. Goble Memorial Trophy as the most proficient pilot, the G. Scutt/E. Davey Memorial Trophy for most proficient at instrument flying and the Air BP Australia Trophy for the highest aggregate of academic marks. He also took out the Pilatus Aircraft Trophy as course dux – quite an achievement!

We wish Andrew all the best for the future, to learn more visit the Defence Force News here.

RAAF Korean War Pilot Awarded

At a ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, RAAF Flying Officer Phillip Zupp MID was posthumously awarded the United States Air Medal for his actions during the Korean War. This presentation was made by Charge D’Affaires A.I. Mr. James Caruso and accepted by Zupp’s son, Owen Zupp who is himself a Qantas pilot and author.

The Citation for the US Air Medal reads.

“On 6 February 1952 Sergeant Phillip Zupp distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight as a Meteor Mark Eight type aircraft pilot, Number 77 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, near Kimpo, Republic of Korea, on 6 February 1952. On that date, Sergeant Zupp conducted a search for a downed pilot in an area heavily defended by enemy anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant Zupp sighted what he believed to be distress panels and in coming down to a dangerously low altitude to investigate he received an explosive burst of enemy fire which destroyed his canopy and wounded him in the face. Despite shock and low altitude Sergeant Zupp was able to regain control of his aircraft and return safely to base. The professional skill and airmanship displayed by Sergeant Zupp in the dedication of his service to his country reflect great credit upon himself and the Royal Australian Air Force.”

Zupp had previously served during World War Two with the Australian Army in the 2/10 Cavalry Commando Squadron before re-enlisting in the RAAF in 1949, firstly as a mechanic before being selected to undertake flying training. In Korea he flew 201 fighter missions and was “Mentioned in despatches” by the Commonwealth.

Following on from his RAAF service, Phillip became a civilian pilot are accumulated more than 23,000 flying hours in areas as diverse as charter flying, flight instruction, Qantas, scientific research flying in to rain-making and aeromedical sorties for the Aerial Ambulance.

His story is record in the book “Without Precedent” written by his son Owen.


RAAF Pilot and Former Air League Officer visits Gawler Airfield Squadron

Gawler Airfield Squadron in South Australia recently had a visit from Pilot Officer Lachlan Johnston of the Royal Australian Air Force. Lachlan recently was awarded his “Wings” having successfully completed and graduated from RAAF Pilot’s Course. What made the visit even more special is the fact that Lachlan is a former junior officer in the Australian Air League and a member of Gawler Airfield Squadron.


Two years agoLachlan left his home town of Kapunda and joined the RAAF. He completed Officer Training School at RAAF Base East Sale and then was posted to No 1 Basic Flying Training School at Tamworth where flew CT4B. Lachlan was then posted to No 2 Flight Training School at RAAF Base Pearce to fly the PC9/A.

RAAF C-17A Globemaster

Lachlan answered questions from the Gawler Airfield cadets and explained how much enjoyed flying the PC9/A. ‘It was a beautiful plane to fly and very powerful’, he said. Lachlan spoke to the cadets about his life in the Air Force and how much he was enjoying the Air Force life. Lachlan explained that he was thrilled to have been posted to RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland to fly the C-17A Globemaster Transport Aircraft. He spoke to the cadets about the roles of the aircraft and he hoped to see the world flying the C-17A.

Pilot Officer Lachlan Johnston with Group Lieutenant Martin Ball (Left), First Officer Mark Borchard and Squadron Lieutenant Andrew Jacks

Officer Commanding South Australia Wing, Group Lieutenant Martin Ball, thanked Lachlan for visiting Gawler Airfield Squadron and that all the Squadron members were so proud of his achievements and that he was a fantastic role model for the younger cadets showing them what they can achieve if they work hard and are dedicated. Lachlan Johnston remains an Associate Member of the Australian Air League.

RAAF 2021


The Australian community has until 30 April to submit ideas for the Royal Australian Air Force centenary in 2021.

Late last year, Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies launched the first stage of planning for the centenary – the consultation phase.

Warrant Officer of the Air Force (WOFF-AF) Rob Swanwick has encouraged serving personnel, veterans, youth organisations and the Australian public to contribute their ideas.

“This is your chance to shape how we mark the centenary,” WOFF-AF Swanwick said. “As a member of the Air Force 2021 Steering Group, I am keen to see great ideas from across Australia.”

“As we approach the centenary, Air Force is changing rapidly. We must use the 100th as an opportunity to engage the Australian nation, demonstrate the highly capable force we are, and inspire the next generation of Air Force members. I envisage there will be a big focus on engaging and informing youth across the nation.”

“Community engagement will also be an important part of the centenary. It will be an opportunity to further enhance our links with communities around our bases, and reach some places that may not see Air Force very often.”

“This is your chance to shape how we mark the centenary,”

“The centenary will be a time to look back and reflect on the sacrifices of the last 100 years. Since 1921, almost 10,000 Air Force members have lost their lives while serving Australia – 9870 during WWII. We must recognise their legacy of commitment to service and remember that every one of them left behind a family and friends.”

“We will consider submissions against a range of criteria including value for money, safety and the creation of enduring effects. And, of course, everything we do for Air Force 2021 will be balanced with our ongoing operational requirements.”

The consultation period runs until 30 April 2016. Contributions can be made through:

Air League Squadrons visit WW2 crash site


An RAAF Lockheed Hudson, similar to the aircraft that crashed in 1942.

At 2116 hours on the 4th November 1942, Lockheed Hudson Bomber A16-173 dispatched from Camden RAAF Base NSW crashed into the side of Bong Bong Mountain located behind Dapto NSW with the loss of all crew members.

On the 4th November there was a report of an enemy submarine sighted of the coast of Sydney. Two Lockheed Hudson Bombers from 32 Squadron were dispatched from the Camden RAAF Base to investigate the reported sighting and engage the enemy once located. Due to adverse weather conditions the A16-173 lost bearings and found them flying over the Illawarra area. It is alleged that the crew mistook the water mass known as Lake Illawarra for Botany Bay.

The escarpment or mountain area west of Illawarra has an elevation of between 709 metre’s (2,326 ft) to 803 metre’s (2,635 ft). In adverse weather conditions, cloud and fog covered the mountainous and cliff face areas of the Illawarra Escarpment.

A16-173 circled over the Unanderra, Dapto and Albion Park area for a period of time trying to obtain a location bearing. Various AIF Camps including the 6 Aust. Inf. MG Batt, tried to advise the crew by way of aiming search lights towards the Bomber and quickly flicking the search light upwards to indicate for the crew to climb in altitude, but to no avail.

Cadets inspect crash remains of Lockheed Hudson A16-173

Since 2008 The Albion Park Squadron, Australian Air League has held remembrance services for the crew of A16-173. On Sunday 15th June 2014, The Albion Park Squadron accompanied by Cadets from Sutherland Squadron embarked on a trek into the Bong Bong Mountain to visit and undertake a remembrance service for the crew of A16-173. The day started with a debrief and power point presentation outlining the Lockheed Hudson Bomber and the history of how the aircraft was designed from the Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra passenger airliner undertaken at the Dapto RSL Hall. History of how the Hudson Bombers were transported to England and Australia and various Squadrons who flew the aircraft and Squadrons who were also based at the Camden RAAF Base was also discussed.

At 11am the Albion Park Squadrons accompanied by Cadets from Sutherland Squadron embarked on their trek to the crash site. Cadets and Officers, accompanied by some parents hiked into the mountainous area with a stiff, brisk Southerly wind and rain, guided by Scott Fleming from the Illawarra Historical Society. Once we reached the base of the Rain Forest it was nice to be protected from the cold wind and rain, only to be greeted by Stinging Nettles, Stinging Trees and Leeches by the thousands.

Air League visit WW2 crash site

Cadets, Officers and Parents from Albion Park Squadron and Sutherland Squadron undertook a formal remembrance wreath laying service at the crash site, remembering the crew of A16-173 and all Service Men and Women who have served. At the conclusion of our service, we trekked further into the mountain to visualise wreckage that remains at the site which included exhaust manifolds, wheel strut, engine cowling and parts of the fuselage.

Cadets, Officers and Parents from Albion Park Squadron and Sutherland Squadron returned safely and a respectful day was held by all. We remember the crew of Lockheed Hudson Bomber A16-173

• Pilot – Sergeant – Norman Baxter Clark
• Observer / Navigator – Flight Sergeant – Bernard James Hubbard
• Wireless Operator / Air Gunner – Sergeant – Geoffrey Alfred Rich
• Wireless Operator / Air Gunner – Sergeant – Joseph Hall Iredell

The Albion Park Squadron, Australian Air League would like to thank the Committee and Members of the Dapto RSL Sub Branch who allowed us to use their Hall for our debrief and approval to visit the crash site.

Lockheed Hudson crash site

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