Radschool Association Magazine - Vol 27

Page 19

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Your Say!



Peter Holmes wrote to say, “I omitted to say the Frank Alley’s  article on his  Chinese experiences was really fantastic and I really enjoyed reading it”.  (Thanks Pete, we did too – tb)



Ian Greenacre wrote, he is hoping to get in touch with Ron Adamson. Ian says he is pretty sure we saw him at the Ballarat Reunion. Does anyone know Ron and if so, would you let us know his address and we’ll put the two of them together.



Greg Black wrote:  “Hi, I was just reading the article by Rick Goyan, about being owed $10, and never getting it back.  It reminded me of my time at Rookies (course 862) in 1967. I was about to turn 18 Phil Witts with his Mini Cooperand had had my driving license for almost a year and really wanted to own a car.  A guy on my course, John Thiele from Rockhampton (I think) wanted to upgrade from his 1964 Mini Cooper. I was salivating at the prospect of owning such a 'cool' vehicle - BUT, the only money I had came each fortnight in a small envelope (a very small envelope!).  We came to an arrangement where I paid him $10 cash and he gave me the car (he had told me it was worth $1,200, and I believed him) and I was to send him $20 each pay-day until it was paid off.  No interest!! 


Phil Witts beside HIS pride and joy in 1967,

a white 1964 Mini Cooper.


He was posted to Tindal, as a welder, and I went to Laverton (Radschool 18RMT), couldn't get much further apart than that.  Anyway, every pay-day I went to the post office on the base and bought a $20 Money Order and then went back to my room and wrote him a note enclosing the MO and posted it. The following week I always received a note back from him, with a receipt, which showed the current payment and the total paid so far, with the remainder showing in the top corner.  This went on for many months and then I started having some problems with the car losing oil (lots of it), so I went to a mechanic in Footscray and asked what the problem was and what it would cost to fix it. He told me the 'rings' were stuffed and it would cost about $700 to repair.


Bloke came home and said to his wife, “What would you do if I won Lotto?”.

She said, “I’d take half and leave you!”

“Great” he said, “I got 3 and a sup and won $22.50 – here’s $11.25 -  see ya!!”.


Well, you can imagine how devastated I was, because it REALLY needed to be fixed before I could continue driving it. So, I sent my next note to John with the news that I was going to have some problems because of the repair bill.  Now, this is the 'killer' - and something that would NEVER happen these days.   He wrote back to me and said that he thought there might have been a problem with the rings when he sold it to me, and said that he felt he should pay half of the repair costs - and there in the letter was my usual receipt, but instead of the $20 I had sent him, it read $370 and reduced the amount owing by that much too. 


WOW!! This was a bloke that I met on rookies and have NEVER seen again (42 years, in a couple of months).  I still think about the tremendous honour he paid me by trusting me in this way - I had the car, and the rego etc had all been changed over to my name, after the $10, so, really he had no leg to stand on if I'd defaulted.  What a guy, I wish I knew where he was now, because he definitely deserves recognition in some way. 


Anyway, I had it fixed and continued my payments until I traded it in on a V8 Falcon (talk about 'chalk and cheese') when I paid him the balance owing.  If my son gave his car to someone he had just met after a paltry payment and a handshake, I'm sure I would have him committed.


(Good story Greg – I don’t think it would happen in Civvy street, but things like that are not unusual amongst service mates. If anyone knows were John Thiele is these day, please get in touch and we’ll put them together again – tb)



A motorcycle copper was rushed to the hospital with an inflamed appendix.  The doctors operated and advised him that all was well, however, the patrolman kept feeling something pulling at the hairs in his crotch.  Worried that it might be a second surgery and the doctors hadn't told him about it, he finally got enough energy to pull his hospital gown up enough so he could look at what was making him so uncomfortable. Taped firmly across his pubic hair were three wide strips of adhesive tape, the kind that doesn't come off easily.  Written in large black letters was the sentence: 


'Get well soon...from the nurse in the Corolla you pulled over last week.'



Graeme Chalmers, National President of the 9 Sqn Association wrote, He says “The No 9 Squadron9 Sqn Chopper Operational History Research and Writing Project Team seeks information on what documents, imagery, photos and memorabilia that you may have stored away that could be invaluable contributions. Further, The Team is particularly interested in written contributions from ex 9 SQN people on some (or an) experience from their tour(s) at anytime between 1962 and 1989 (disbandment) including the anecdotal and humorous. Contributions can be in any format and as short or long as you wish.

After your consideration (maybe searching thru sheds, trunks and cupboards), please respond by e-mail or telephone (07) 5471 6926. To families of deceased ex No 9 Squadron personnel who receive this, I apologise for any discomfort however, you may feel strongly about the History Project and would wish to contribute.

RAAF No 9 SQN was disbanded 20 years ago on 14 February 1989. We are all getting older and our collective memories dimming - we will only get one shot at this!!  Please network actively among current financial 9SA Members and indeed, anyone whom you know has served with the Squadron at some time”.



 John Butler

We heard from John Butler (right) who lives in the UK. He wrote to Frank Alley via us and says: 


Dear Frank, I read with interest your article in the RAM no 24, page 9, about Tony Svensson. Tony was a family friend and when he was young my mother was his nanny. I have not been able to communicate with him for some time as he has Alzheimer’s and is in a care home.  I have Tony's 19-page account of his accident (written in 1993) and there is no mention of a stabiliser that failed. I also have the relevant press cuttings and photos. He said he was in a rolling dive (I assume this is a spin). To quote from his report the instructions he had for spin recovery were: -


"After spin entry centralise all flying controls; pause; if conditions do not stabilise using the aircraft's inherent stability apply full in spin aileron (similar to the Javelin). To quote the translation 'if this does not work DO NOT DESPAIR!” (sic) but maintain the spin recovery action." He says "I memorised these instructions and remember them to this day."


There is also no mention of the boyangs breaking. He says, “The cords were arranged to allow free movement of the legs whilst seated in the cockpit but, on ejection were tightened up………………etc.


Tests with A-31 in Australia found that if the cords were crossed over there was a chance that, at certain positions, the control stick could be restricted by the cords. Due to this possibility it was decided not to cross the cords over. A bad decision as I found out to my cost.”


Another ex test pilot friend is Peter Twiss who I am sure you have heard of. He flew the fabulous looking Fairey Delta FD11 and he said to me that you never put a delta wing aircraft in a spin. 


I had a model made of Tony’s A-31 and would it be possible to purchase a copy of the photo in your article suitable for framing.


Tony Svensson and his son - Sabre in the back ground


The above is a picture of Tony with his son before his accident.


(What a great photo John, I bet his son still has it and will treasure it for ever. You can just imagine how proud of his dad that young fella would be – tb)


We heard from Tony Svensson’s niece only recently, who also lives in the UK, she says:- Sadly, Tony is now very ill and lives in a specialist care home as he is suffering from severe Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, he is now at the stage where he recognises no one in his family and has recently suffered a stroke. (We wish him well – tb)




Ian Champion wrote, "Plans are afoot to stage a combined RADS/RAAFSTT reunion for 26 Apprentice Course. There are no details as yet although a 40th anniversary bash has been suggested. We are currently gathering contacts to gauge interest and to determine whether or not it's worth arranging. So if you were either a Radio, Queer Trade or Blackhander from 26 Appies give me (Ian Champion) a hoy on ichampso1@gmail.com. For information we already have 15 confirmed contacts from the RADS world, all who are interested."




Dave Gaffee, who was on 18 Appy that passed out from Radschool in August 1967, is now living in Port Lincoln South Australia. He says, “I am the secretary of the local RSL and I’m trying to get in touch with blokes that were on our course. If you were on 18 Appy or you know of any other ex-appies from our era please pass them my regards. My email address is dagrasshopper48@yahoo.com.au




Charles Page wrote “many thanks for publishing your article on the proposed renaming of Learmonth airport in Vol 26. Since that story came out, the tourist and hotel people in Exmouth have been very aggressive and now the flak is coming up. The Shire Council will probably take a vote and call for submissions, so it could come down to a mail poll, or some such. I have just written to Min. Peter Garrett and others, and sent a long letter to the Northern Guardian. Fingers crossed.




Mike Haynes, wrote, he says, G’day, I was just wondering if you have anyone from 33 or 34RAC from Laverton 1979-1982 on your books? A lot of us are here in Brisbane and have remained close friends. We are considering having a 30 year reunion next year for 33 and 34 are looking at one this year I believe. There are around 10 of us, mainly from 34, in Brissy and the Gold Coast. 34 Appy started with 54 bods on 18JAN80. 18 graduated in Sep82. (If you want further info on this, get in touch with us and we’ll forward your email onto Mike – tb)




David Shepherdson from 27 Appy (or David Reece as he was known at Appyland) got in touch, he says:-   Dear Sir, It gave me great pleasure to come across your WEB site. As an ex-appie, I, of course, wish to become a full member. I enlisted in 1973 on 27 Radio Apprentice course and my surname at enlistment was REECE. This was the surname by which I was known up to just prior to my marriage in 1978 when I changed my surname to SHEPHERDSON by deed poll in QLD. I was discharged in 1982. So, there will be ex-RAAFies who will only identify with me as David REECE and those who only know me as  David SHEPHERDSON.

I browsed over some of your magazines and was surprised to see a photo of Dave Ruschle, a person that I currently work with. He confirmed that the photo was in fact a Christmas card and he has a copy at home (Vol 24 page 17 - Ron Faux article.)


Also, in one article I read, someone (that was Laurie Lindsay – tb) was talking about how the CAA closed down the flight inspection program and effectively "got rid" of a lot of experienced people. Well, that may have been true at the time (around 1995) but I can happily report that the RAAF still has a look-in in this regard as I am currently filling the role of one of only 6 Flight Inspectors in Aust. and there are 4 ex RAAF personnel, one ex Navy tech, and one ex RAF person all deeply involved in today’s Australian flight checking program. So the RAAF still is one of the sources of know-how in this regard.




Dave Bell got in touch, he says:  Great to get the RAM and keep up to date with some of the happenings of the RadTech folk that I do know, the pic of the very young Arnie Vereschildt was great.  Haven't caught up with him for ages! I have just returned from a trip to Penang/KL/Singapore.  How those places have changed!  Had a great time and hope to head that way again in the not too distant future. Keep up the great work with the RAM.  Look forward to the next edition.




Dee Gibbon got in touch, she said,  “Hello there, I am doing some study on the history of women in the RAAF and am having a lot of trouble trying to work out who and when the first female went through Radschool (either as an Appy or adult trainee). Any information that you have would be most gratefully received!


Well, we didn’t know, but we knew someone who would – so we got in touch with Allan George and he told us “The best I can do at this stage is as follows, all from the book - ‘From the Ground Up’ by Chris Coulthard-Clarke on the RAAF Apprentice scheme. 1st Technology Apprentice at Radschool was in the 1984 intake where there were 2 (names not known and they were about 19 years old) and the 1st trade apprentice was in 1885 again names unknown and she was about 17. I do not think there were any female apprentices at RSTT (RAAF School of Technical Training - Wagga). The 1st female WOFF apprentice was Wendy Jensen she would have joined in about 1988 as part of 7th Intake of Radio technologist Apprentice Course graduating in Dec 1990 and was promoted W/OFF App in April 1990.




Tony Smith wrote, G’day Mate, thanks for the E Mail re the newsletter. I read with interest the newsletters you have on the web and they bring back a lot of memories.  I was a teleg but the venues are all the same and I can relate to a lot of the quoted experiences.  Did any of the appies ever go over the side fences and swim in the pools the hoi poli sported? I know some telegs who did.  Sadly, a lot of our haunts no longer exist. Who said it is progress.  I spent some years at Werribee receivers {The Country Club} and a bit of time at Radschool at Laverton while I was on AFEF.  The Newsletter is a beaut and keep up the good work.




Nev Williams got in touch, he said, have just finished reading your latest masterpiece, terrific. I even knew a few names.  Considering it is 42 years since I departed the RAAF, that’s pretty good I reckon.




Ken Hunt says the photo of their 'Model A' that we had in Vol26 is of a roadster while the one he and his mates had was a tourer. He says, on one occasion, the only time we got a few WRAAFs into the car, it held eight of us on the way back from a BBQ. It was bloody hard to drive then too.


Ken Hunt with his model A Ford at Ballarat


The photo (above) is of our car, obviously taken near the 'pine trees'.




David Thompson got in touch, he says, “Hi, could you possibly give me the email address of Peter Munzenberger.  I would like to catch up with him.  We spent a lot of time together in the Apprentice ham shack (VK3APP) back in 1971.  Peter was on 24 RAC and I was on 25. By the way, 25 RAC are organising a reunion, see www.25frogs.com.


(We let Peter know that David was looking for him – and they have made contact – tb)



Bevan Greenwood got in touch, he said “With reference to Volume: 26, Page: 6, I read with interest the information under the heading "RAAF Maintenance Crews in Landmark Victory"! and C130 Tank Problems. For further information of all ex RAAF`ies I have enclosed a copy of a portion of my submission to every pertinent Minister (including the Defence Minister and Veterans` Affairs Minister) which I submitted on Friday 11th January 2008. (the full submission consisted of 9 pages and an additional 3 pages of certification including a Sworn Statutory Declaration by myself!) This extract is from Page 2:


"I was posted to 10(MR) Sqdn Townsville and worked in the Maintenance Hangar performing Airframe Duties on Lincoln Bombers and Dakota aircraft.

 C130A at Laverton RAAF Museum

I suffered a few Asthma attacks involving short periods of stay in the Base Hospital. Part of my duties were paint-stripping, painting, dye-checking and re-painting of aircraft parts. When the Lincoln aircraft were grounded and the "selection" team was despatched to the USA for obtaining possession of the new SP2H Neptune Bombers, ...myself and many other tradesman from 10 Sqdn were attached to 2AD ARS Richmond for the initial Hercules C130A Wing Tank Modification Project (Corrosion removal and resealing project). This was from 26JUN61 until 18AUG61.


During this attachment we were organised into two teams of workers, each team working 12 hour shifts round the clock inside the fuel tanks of the aircraft, which were an integral part of the mainplane proper. Our job was to remove the old "goop" with plastic scrapers, grind away the visible corrosion with use of air grinders, clean the area with Methyl Ethyl Ketone, treat the area with Alodine, cover with a blue chemical treatment, which I think from memory was Buna-N and when that was dry then re-"goop" the treated area,...hopefully creating a restored fuel resistant surface within the fuel tank!


NOTE: All activities were carried out wearing only shorts and sandshoes. There was NO protective equipment provided and the only comfort was provided by an air-hose tapped from a fuel powered hot-air blower positioned centrally between the aircraft. I personally often had to leave the fuel tank for fear of passing-out due to the constant ingestion of chemical fumes and on numerous occasions had witnessed other workers collapse after leaving the confines of the fuel tanks. This was all treated as a big joke and some comments were made that it was a cheap way to "get a buzz"!


Other members that worked on that project at that time, their names that I can recollect were: LAC D M Ellacott (Eng Fitter) LAC I R Lauritzen (Airframe Fitter) LAC K P Smith ( Armament Fitter) LAC J Frost (Engine Fitter) and the NCO I/C was a Flt SGT Hines or Hind?
FLT LT J S "Taffy" Salvage 10 Sqdn`s SENGO was involved at the inception. There were many other ancillary tradesmen involved from both 10 Sqdn and 2AD ARS, however their names escape me at this late juncture!"
  ....  End of Extract


My submission goes on to detail many other "allergic" reactions to the continuing use of chemicals over the years, including my being admitted to Greenslopes Repatriation Hospital suffering from severe Pneumonia and an Abscessed Cyst on the Lung resulting from an "allergic lung", culminating in my being reclassified "MEDCAT FIT CLASS 2" There is no doubt that much of my condition was as a result of my workplace environment in especially those early years, where protective equipment was virtually non-existent!


To date I have had NO written response addressing the issues in my submission (even though I had submitted the Sworn Declaration!) with the exception of a very garbled phone call from someone in Veterans Affairs, suggesting if I had any complaints then I should maybe direct them to the Defence Department itself ! ......(It should be noted that copies of my submission were originally to sent to "Deputy Prime Minister" "Defence Minister" "Health Minister" " Veterans Affairs Minister" and "Defence, Science and Personnel Minister"


This appears to be typical of the way in which the Department of Defence looks after its members, past and present!


I did receive a copy of my Service Documents with quite a few areas "blacked out" (I have been told for "sensitive reasons"!




Ted Washbrook wrote, with reference to Vol 26, Page 7 The CPN-4 when I worked on it consisted of two trailers, the OPS trailer that held the radars and the 3 bays for the ATC gentlemen???  Trailer number twoTed Washbrook consisted of the power trailer and also contained air conditioning. As Ken rightly says the memory is working overtime, there was also an MB-1 generator that was adjusted to 60cps and 115v plus or minus 10 volts to comply with the American requirement. There was one set up with a rotary converter that did all kinds of magical things regarding power but I never had contact with it, I believe it was installed at Amberley. 


On another point, re the story in Vol26, page 5 where Rick Goyan told of lending Russ Osborne $10 while at Radschool, I can't offer any proof and I do commiserate with the loss of $10, but Tom McIntyre advised me some time ago that Russ Osborne had in fact gone to the big hangar full of good Groundies so any chance of Rick Goyan claiming the debt has gone.


I was looking through the RAM and I clicked on the list of members, and bugger me if my name was not there. I first pinched myself, looked again at the list and for sure I hadn't fallen off the tree too but one look at the cat who hits back assured me things on that front were OK but I wasn't on the list.


(You’re there now Ted – tb)



Phil Miller says, Greetings from snowy Switzerland. I can add another name to the Superman Course photo. The moustachioed bloke in the front row far right is Bob Caruthers who I worked with at 75SQN. Bob originally joined the RAAF as a fire fighter, discharged and later rejoined as a RADTECH. Last time I saw him he had bought a house in Hoppers Crossing. Like Rick I recognise a lot of faces in the pic but old age is making it hard to remember names. The bloke 3rd from the right in the centre row's name is on the tip of my tongue.


Alistair Kennedy, ex 3TMT says, re Vol 26, Page 14,  Hi, re the photo of the Superman course, I think the guy in the middle row third from the right could be Brian ('BC') Constable (Telstech), (if the photo was taken in the early 70's). Neil Hunter may have his contact details. There are a few faces in this photo that look familiar to me but I can't put names to them.



Ken Morris, who normally lives in the West, but who is flat our caravanning around Australia, wrote, he says, Great job of putting out the RADSCL mag - well done. In the picture of the superman course in Vol 26, I think the guy in the middle at the front is Trevor (Bagger) Sanderson, on his left i.e. second from the right I believe is John (Wriggles) Rigby and the guy on the far right of the front row might be Frank Segui. 


Superman Course


So, now we have - (Can anyone help us a bit more – tb)

Back Row L-R:-  John Burgess, ??, ??, ??, ?? Ken Graham

Middle Row L-R:- ??, ??, ??, ??, Bill Gibson, Brian Constable, ??, ??

Front Row L-R:- ??, ??, Trevor (Bagger) Sanderson, Milo Kopreck or John (Wriggles) Rigby, Bob Caruthers or Frank Segui.


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