Radschool Association Magazine - Vol 30

Page 14

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Townsville – and the Caribou..

 Caribou fin

After 45 years of dependable service, the remarkable old Caribou has finally been retired. This funny looking but well loved noisy old aeroplane has worked almost everywhere, has carried almost everything and over the years has been worked on and flown by an awful lot of people. Over the weekend, 7 - 8 November, 38 Squadron, which is now based in Townsville, hosted an official farewell function at the Townsville Base to say good-bye to the old bird. People came from everywhere to help celebrate and commiserate the event.


On Saturday morning (7 Nov) there was a combined 35 and 38 Squadron Colours Parade, which included the formal laying-up of the 35 Squadron Colours.


35 Squadron, after being reformed in June 1966, has now been put to sleep once again.


The photos on these pages were taken over the weekend – the photos have been compressed to make loading faster. You can see and download better quality and clean copies of most by clicking on each photo. Thanks to Ted McEvoy for some of the photos.


Presenting the colours

Guard of Honour for the Caribou

Caribous on parade


Caribous in flight

A sight,  possibly never to be seen again.


HEB Cartoon




Above:  At an impromptu ‘get together’ on the Friday afternoon at one of the local coffee shops, are,   

L-R:  Kev Trimmer, Ted Strugnell and Don Payne.


Bob Meyer









              Rob Meyer, sitting with all his mates!


Rear:  Alan Shaw, Bob Meyer, Trev Benneworth, Front:  Caroline Trimmer, Sue Trimmer, John Broughton


Above, at the coffee shop, Friday afternoon are:

Rear L-R: Alan Shaw, Rob Meyer, Trev Benneworth

Front L-R:  Carolyn Trimmer, Sue Trimmer, John Broughton.


John Sambrooks




A big thank you must go to John Sambrooks (left) who organised everything on behalf of the ex-35 Squadron bods.


It was John who organised the accommodation, the Friday night ‘get together’ at the RSL, the food and the drink at Sunday morning’s ‘sick parade’ at the Surf Club, the week-end’s transport, the T-shirts, the caps and then cajoled us all to get off our back-sides and get to Townsville.


Thanks Sambo!! 



On the Friday night, there was an un-official,

but well attended, 

gathering at the Townsville RSL.


Rob Meyer (Insts), Peter (Dit) Eaton (Sumpie), Al Aiken (Pilot) and Peter Thom (Framie).


Col Knudsen










       Col Knudsen.


A young bloke was walking through a supermarket to pick up a few things when he noticed an old lady following him around. Thinking nothing of it, he ignored her and continued on. Finally he went to the checkout line, but she got in front of him. "Pardon me," she said, "I'm sorry if my staring at you has made you feel uncomfortable. It's just that you look just like my son, who just died recently." "I'm very sorry," replied the young man, "is there anything I can do for you?" "Yes," she said, "As I'm leaving, can you say 'Good bye, Mother’? It would make me feel so much better." "Sure," said the young bloke. As the old woman was leaving, he called out, "Goodbye, Mother!" As he stepped up to the checkout counter, he saw that his total was $127.50. "How can that be?" He asked, "I only bought a few things!" "Your mother said that you would pay for her," said the clerk.


Peter "Dit" Eaton

Peter "Dit" Eaton


Ian Johnston

Ian Johnston


Jim Maguire and Dick Salter

Jim Maguire and Dick Salter.


John McDougall and Stew Bonett  









      John McDougall and Stew Bonett.


John Broughton and Bob Costello

John Broughton and Bob Costello.


Wayne Oldfield and Alan Shaw

Wayne Oldfield and Alan Shaw


At a nursing home a group of Seniors were sitting around talking about all their ailments. "My arms are now so weak I can hardly lift this cup of coffee," said one. "Yes, I know," said another. "My cataracts are so bad I can't even see my coffee."  "What? Speak up! What? I can't hear you! I can't turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck," said a third, to which several nodded weakly in agreement. "My blood pressure pills make me so dizzy!" exclaimed another. "I forget where I am, and where I'm going," said another. "I guess that's the price we pay for getting old," said an old man as he slowly shook his head. The others nodded in agreement. "Well, count your blessings, we’re all still alive" said one woman cheerfully . . ."and thank God we can all still drive."


Paula Foster, Valia Bonett, Colleen Rogers

Some of the girls who came along and helped brighten up the place are

L-R:  Paula Forster, Valia Bonett, Colleen Rogers.


A teacher asks her class of 3rd graders to use the word "fascinate" in a sentence. Billy says   "I saw an air show. And it was fascinating." "Good, but I wanted you to use the word "fascinate" not " fascinating"." She then calls on one of the girls sitting off to the left. "I saw some monkeys. They were fascinating." one of the girls says.  "Good, but I wanted you to use the word "fascinate", not fascinating".


Little Johnny’s hand shoots up into the air and he calls "Teacher, teacher! I got one!"  Uh oh, thinks the teacher, but says, “Ok, go ahead, Johnny."  Little Johnny says "My sister's shirt has ten buttons, but her boobs are so big she can only fascinate!"



On Saturday morning, after the parade, and before the evening’s festivities, 38 Squadron organised a Squadron open day which gave everyone an opportunity to climb into and fiddle with the aircraft and take photos of the old machines, perhaps for the last time. It was also an excellent opportunity to meet and greet long lost mates.




The old Caribou has seen a lot of changes during its time on the job – way back blokes on the tarmac wore T-boots and shorts – and if it was really sunny, sometimes a cap. If it got cold, you wore your blue overalls. Today, tarmac blokes wear visibility vests, ear muffs and protective clothing. We were damn lucky to have survived !!!!.


A4-299 was the last Caribou delivered to the RAAF and as De Havs in Canada built only 307 of them in total, it was one of the last off the line. It was accepted in May 1971 and arrived at RAAF Richmond in June 1971, coming via the Pacific route.


Caribou radio rack








Over the years, as consecutive mods were carried out, the radio rack has shrunk considerably and all that heavy old "cast iron" chassis equipment has been replaced with modern lightweight sets - and not a valve in sight!!!


These days there is heaps of room in there to carry all sorts of things and the weight gain would have been at least a full 44 gallon drum.



One night four college students were partying until late and did not study for a test which was scheduled for the next day. In the morning, they thought of a plan. They made themselves look as dirty as possible with grease and dirt. They then went to the teacher and said that they had gone to a wedding last night and on their return, a tyre burst on their car and they had to push the car all the way back home and that they were in no condition to do the test. The teacher kindly allowed them to do a re-test after 3 days. They thanked him and said they would be ready by that time. On the third day, they went for their test.  The teacher said that as this was a Special Condition Test, all four were required to sit in separate classrooms. They all agreed as they had prepared well in the last 3 days...The test consisted of 1 multi guess question, worth a total of 100 Marks........


Question –


Which tyre blew out?  a) Front Left   b) Front Right   c) Back Left   d) Back Right


The Old and the New.


Caribou and Boeing C17


The Caribou stands on the tarmac in front of the RAAF’s newest transport aircraft, the Boeing C17. The old Caribou had a crew of 3, two pilots and a loady, and carried a 4,000 kg load. It had a range of 2,000 klm and a cruise speed of 280 klm/h. The C17 also has a crew of 3, two pilots and a loady but can carry 72,500 kg. It has a range of 4,500 klm and a cruise speed of 800 klm/h - but it can't land in the average suburban back yard.


Dawn and Bob McKernan







Dawn and Bob (Tiger) McKernan, seen at the Saturday ceremony. Bob flew the Caribou and as a bright eyed and bushy tailed Pilot Officer, was posted to RTFV Vung Tau from June 1965 to Feb 1966.


Returning to Australia, he was posted to Richmond and the C130A. On discharge, he flew with TAA, then had several years and many wonderful experiences with different airlines such as Royal Air Morocco, Kuwait Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Constellation airlines, Asiana Airlines after which he finally retired.




The RAAF's new Clarkters, lined up on the grid.

A few of the blokes wanted to give them a try out, wisely, Mr RAAF turned down their request.

Static aircraft display

Part of the static aircraft display.


Jock Young









Jock Young,


RTFV 29/10/1965 to 01/06/1966

35 Squadron 01/06/1966 to 04/07/1966

35 Squadron 05/07/1969 to 02/04/1970


John Broughton, Trev Bennewoth, Kev Rosser

Meeting for the first time in years, and checking out the old Caribou for possibly the last time are, arguably 3 of the best looking blokes at the whole event, L-R: John Broughton, Trev Benneworth and Kev Rosser.


John Broughton and Laurie Lindsay











John Broughton and Laurie Lindsay catch up on old times.


Laurie, as we all know, used to be a Radio Tech, but found it a bit hard going, so they made him a Sir.


A woman brings eight-year-old Johnny home and tells his mother that he was caught playing doctors and nurses with Mary, her eight-year old daughter. Johnny's mother says, "Let's not be too harsh on them.... They are bound to be curious about Sex at that age."  "Curious about Sex?" replies Mary's mother. "He's taken her appendix out!"


Lynne Salter, Helen McCormick, Anne Oldfield, Paula Forster, Christina Pryce

Some more of the girls whose presence brightened up the place, they are

L-R:  Lynne Salter, Helen McCormick, Anne Oldfield, Paula Forster, Christina Pryce


Ted McEvoy, Des Pryce, Dick Salter, Dunno, “Dutchy” Forster, Hugh McCormick, Dunno

Ted McEvoy, Des Pryce, Dick Salter, Wayne "Ollie" Oldfield, “Dutchy” Forster, Hugh McCormick, Ken Trim


Saturday afternoon in the Hanger


Inside the hanger, Saturday afternoon. About 3.00pm, after all had left, the troops moved in, cleaned the place, re-arranged the furniture and got the hanger ready for Saturday night’s “party.”


If the guy next to you is swearing like a wharfie he's probably a media billionaire.

Or, on the other hand, he may be a wharfie.


After the weekend was over, A4-152 was flown to Point Cook where it will be put on display at the RAAF Museum. It arrived there on the 26 November where it was greeted by the Werribee fireys who gave it a water arch. Gary Vejle was there and took some photos which he sent to Laurie Lindsay, who in turn sent them to us.


The crew of A4-152 at Point Cook


You can see them HERE.



More of Townsville on the next page


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