Happies

As an excuse to wish you all a happy holiday season, I provide a few shots of the RAAF Edinburgh Air Show, 2019. Neil and I attended as part of the CAF’s 2019 Symposium, conveniently timed to catch the show.

In addition to the show and the old and bolds (us!) telling tall tales, some no doubt with at least a grain of truth, we were treated to briefings on the introduction of the P-8 and the development of the impressive Air Warfare Centre at EDN. I don’t think I’d pass the comprehension test on it all, but you can sense the energy and professionalism alive and well.

I must admit I don’t regularly trek far and wide to attend airshows. How many have we done between us all over the last seventy-odd years? However, the growl of the Spit’s Merlin is usually enough to get the skin tingling, reminding me of growing up near 23 Squadron (Mustangs) at Archerfield, then hearing the Battle of Britain flight come low over the grass airfield in front of our MQ at RAF Cranwell.

Added to this we saw Meteor (Skates at the controls), Hudson, P-40 and all sort of oldies take to the air. The Roulettes with their new PC-21s did their thing well.

I have to say the Catalina was a delight. This old PBY-5 is painted up in the Black Cats colours of the 40-series squadrons, although this particular restored airframe was not actually in RAAF service.

However, I recall that the late revered Flight Lieutenant Bill Minty, WWII Cat pilot with 62 long operational missions under his belt, put together a book on the subject — you can guess the title, Black Cats. He and Sir Richard Kingsland asked me years ago to write an introductory essay on the strategic significance of their operations, which I believe was indeed quite significant but under-rated.

 

Approaching EDN in the C-17, plenty of cross-wind stick and rudder going on.

We happened upon Jack and Shena Hayden at our local coffee stop recently. Recalling our bike rides together first mooted at our Nelson Bay reunion, they and other 14-ers have sent best wishes. (See the Netherlands ride blog here).

Well, enough reminiscences. We enjoyed it all and thought of our various aviation-related experiences with many of you, dear readers, to whom we wish …

Happy Holidays,

Merry Christmas and a

wonderful New Year and 2020.

PS. Send reports of your latest doings or plans for 2020; I’ll post them up here if you desire.

 

Vale Cav

We are all saddened to hear of Mike Cavenagh’s recent passing. Our thoughts go to his family, and to all his 16 Course colleagues who held him in such high regard. What a fine contribution to our lives he made.

Funeral Details for Mike are:

Friday, 23 August 2019 at 3.00 pm:
Federation Chapel,
Centenary Memorial Gardens Cemetery & Crematorium
353 Wacol Station Road, Sumner QLD 4074

CV (courtesy Fighter Squadrons Branch of RAAFA)

1963 to 1966: No 16 Course RAAF Academy (other graduates were Weston, Nixon, Robertson, Sivyer, Johnson, O’Dempsey, Connor, Salmond, Rawlinson, Vink, Dickens and Enders)
Dec 1966: posted to No 1 BFTS for No 63 Pilots’ Course
Feb 1967: posted RAAF Staff London for pilot training with the RAF (with Nixon and Weston)
Mar 1967 to Dec 1967: No 184 Pilots’ Course at No 6 FTS, RAF Acklington, Northumberland (Jet Provost Mk 3 and Mk 4)
Jan 1968 to Aug 1968: No 40 Gnat/Hunter Course at No 4 FTS, RAF Valley, Anglesey (Advanced Flying Course, Hawker Hunter T7 and F6)
Jan 1969 to May 1969: No 33 Sabre Operational Conversion Course, No 2 OCU, RAAF Williamtown
May 1969 to Dec 1969: Sabre Transition Squadron, No 2 OCU, RAAF Williamtown
Jan 1970: promoted Flight Lieutenant; posted to No 15 Mirage Operational Conversion Course, No 2 OCU, RAAF Williamtown
Jun 1970 to Jun 1972: No 3 (Mirage) Squadron, RAAF Butterworth, Malaysia
Jul 1972 to Sep 1972: Flying Instructor Course, Central Flying School, RAAF East Sale
Sep 1972 to Dec 1974: Flying Instructor, No 2 FTS, RAAF Pearce (Macchi MB-326)
Jan 1975: promoted Squadron Leader; posted to Personnel Branch, Air Force Office, Canberra
Jan 1979: promoted Wing Commander; posted as Commanding Officer, No 2 FTS, RAAF Pearce
Jan 1981: posted to Force Analysis Division, Department of Defence, Canberra
1983: Retired then followed a long career with BASI in Brisbane, his hometown.

Memories? Please add comments below. Many shared times at Point Cook and later in squadron and social life. (I savour memories of DPO — and our playing clarinet together!)

Mildura 2019

A score of our group from far and wide gathered in Mildura in Mid-May at the suggestion of Mari and some of her collaborators. An excellent suggestion, supported by her useful research and reconnaissance with Gloria and other early arrivals. So we were in very good hands on visits to selected locations like Orange World orchard, complete with amusing commentary, fancy peeler gadget and fruit samples; and of course the river cruise.

The old paddle-steamer, now powered by a more modern diesel engine, provided a grand view of the reaches of the Murray and various styles of homes and bushland along its banks. The winery tour and lunch at the destination provided more than mere sustenance, and we came away with things that clink in the night.IMG_2934.jpgRelaxed time spent at the Mildura Art Gallery, the Station Homestead and other sites added to our historical awareness and understanding of the region and its commercial, artistic and cultural dimensions.

Some visited the historically important Lake Mungo. Dave discovered a former Air Force friend associated with the RAAF Memorial and Museum. Dan kindly opened the museum in our honour. This revealed an amazing collection of photographs and memorabilia from the days of the 2OTU flying school, also as a memorial to those lost particularly during WWII.IMG_2936.jpg

The whole was held together with the usual progression of sociable meals at interesting watering holes around town. The ‘formal’ dinner of five courses at Stefano’s Cantina, Stefano making an early but brief appearance, was a fine occasion.

Altogether, another successful mission. This is the mere bones of a report, somewhat belated and hardly comprehensive. Add your stories by way of comments below.

Paddler program update

Dave has sleuthed out an excellent connection with Dan at the RAAF Memorial and Museum.  We plan to add that to the Wednesday afternoon program, as shown below:

Tuesday May 14

  • 7.00 Meet for dinner at The Spanish Grill. Casual.

Wednesday May 15

  • 9.00. Drive to Orange World Tour, 0930 to 1030
  • 2:00 pm visit RAAF Memorial and Museum
  • Later perhaps visitingStationHomestead or other activities shown below
  • 7.00 p.m. Formal dinner at Stefano’s Cantina. We have currently booked for 20 persons

Thursday May 16

  • 10:00 or soon after. Paddle-steamer departs from Pier promptly at 10.30. Seniors $65 Includes winery tour and lunch. Returns 3.30.
  • Evening to be decided.

Activities

Holden FC (1958-1960) http://www.classicholdencars.com

Below are a few of the activities in and around Mildura.  Obviously we can’t visit everything, but there is enough to justify staying an extra few days for those who can and want to.
www.mungoguidedtours.com
http://www.orangeworldmildura.com.au
https://www.milduraholdenmuseum.com.au/
http://www.thechaffeytrail.com.au 
www.milduraartscentre.com.au

Mildura Golf Course, Mildura Station Homestead 278 Cureton Av, Homestead Cemetery further along Cureton, Rio Vista homestead including Bolte Art Gallery 198 Cureton Ave.

Further information on Chaffey Trail Brochure.

Vale Don Watson

Hugo advises that Ashley has extended an invitation to all course members.

If you are able to attend, please present good wishes and our great appreciation from all Course members. (A message on behalf of all has already been sent by text.)

A grateful man of integrity, curiosity and humility who showed us how to live an honest life.

— Notice in The Age

Paddler program May 2019

As promised in the previous post, the proposed program for the 2019 Reunion in Mildura from May 14 to May 17:

Tuesday May 14

  • 7.00 Meet for dinner at The Spanish Grill. Casual.

Wednesday May 15

  • 9.00. Drive to Orange World Tour, 0930 to 1030
  • Afternoon at leisure, perhaps visiting Holden Museum or Mildura Regional Art Gallery (which houses a work by Edgar Degas among an excellent range!)
  • Alternative is a day at the Mildura Golf Course.
  • 7.00 p.m. Formal dinner at Stefano’s Cantina. $99 pp for world class five course dinner; excellent wine list $45 up.

Thursday May 16

  • Paddle-steamer departs from Pier promptly at 10.30. Seniors $65 Includes winery tour and lunch. Returns 3.30.
  • Evening to be decided.

Activities

Holden FC (1958-1960) http://www.classicholdencars.com

Below are a few of the activities in and around Mildura.  Obviously we can’t visit everything, but there is enough to justify staying an extra few days for those who can and want to.
www.mungoguidedtours.com
http://www.orangeworldmildura.com.au
https://www.milduraholdenmuseum.com.au/
http://www.thechaffeytrail.com.au 
www.milduraartscentre.com.au

The only thing we have to book in advance is the Cantina dinner as their private dining room, which holds 30; we have currently booked for 24 persons — and looking forward to a very good occasion.

Mari’s accommodation options appear in an earlier post here>>; proceed to make your own arrangements.

Further information on Chaffey Trail Brochure attached.

Paddle again? May 2019!

It’s many years since we all went paddling along southern river systems. Who was your other half in that dreaded canoe, and have you been in contact lately?

Meanwhile, looking forward rather than back, Mari writes:

Seven of us – the Pearson, the MacCarthys, the Porms and Gloria have coordinated diaries and travel wishes for next year.

The plan is to be together in Mildura from Tuesday May 14 to Friday, May 17.  This is a couple of weeks after Easter and the School holidays and before the weather turns cold.  (The weather is fine for those accustomed to a frigid climate, but some of us hot-house flowers want a bit of warmth before heading into southern winter.)

This is the core get-together period, leaving time for people to extend their stay in either direction.

Mari

Further program information will be posted.

Her research has discovered the following suggested accommodation (links go direct to the home page of the hotel/motel, or book via your favourite agency):

Thanks to Mari and her collaborators, and please respond by email to Course Horse and Mari with your intentions, or via the field below: