Radschool Association Magazine - Vol 30

Page 8

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Droop Snoot.



Droop Snoot



Kev Rosser sent us the above photo of Wayne “Sniffer” Smith, which was taken many years ago and shows him holding up the nose cone of a USAF Boeing 707. Kev suggested we ask Wayne to tell us what it was all about.


Wayne saw the photo and he got straight back to us, he says:


“Reading through the latest edition of the RAM, I was surprised to find Key Rosser’s photo of me holding up the nose cone of the USAF “Droop Snoot” 707 at Amberley in 1969. The year should give away the reason for theAppollo moon landing strange aircraft’s visit. That huge radome was stuffed with serious Radar gear to monitor the Apollo 11 moon trip.


Bearing in mind the top secret status surrounding the aircraft and its visit to Amberley, it was still a piece of cake for Key (photography legend) and myself to wander out onto the tarmac and take a few shots, those were the days.


The story about the Lockheed U2 high altitude reconnaissance (spy) plane brought back memories for me. Back in 1965 I was posted to ARDU at Laverton to serve my time as a Radmech. During that time the U2’s were located up near 1AD and it was terrific to watch the aircraft take off and go straight up, you could hear it bellowing for about half an hour above the base. It would leave about 8arn and return at 5pm, then you could watch the recovery team running alongside the aircraft, when it was almost stopped, to grab the wingtips, to prevent the thing from tipping over on one side.


They fitted the removable dolly wheels under the wings and towed it back to the hangar. The pilot was every bit the Astronaut with his amazing air conditioned suit (well it was flash for 1965).


I enjoyed Key’s other story about Sabre servicing at 3AD way back then, especially the one about Steve Green being stuffed into the wing of the aircraft to manually cut out corrosion that formed underneath the fuel bladders.


I had to go down to 3AD to see it for myself, all that protruded from the wing was Greenie’s T Boot soles, I should have taken photos.


Cheers, Wayne”.




Don Burville


Ah! The smell of freshly cooked bacon and eggs! How would you like them I’m asked (thinks - dumped on the plate as always).Brookvale Radar


It’s 10th Jan 1964, I have just arrived at this 1CARU place after 12 months in Woomera. It was a real shock. I’m a clerk equipment and find out the corporal is a WRAAF, the sergeant in the stores is a WRAAF, this is not the RAAF I remember from joining in 1963 at Wagga with the flies and plate slap food.


Security at this base was very tight. I remember one night arriving to find the duty guard asleep in his hut, no problem, just  roll under the gates, get the key, open the gate, drive in, shut the gate again, replace the key and he didn’t miss a beat, just kept on snoring.  


But, unfortunately, it was not to last. A new face arrived in the office, now there are three of us, one too many. Somebody had posted in another WRAAF within three weeks of me arriving. I was posted out, up to Willytown and nobody asked me how I liked my eggs there.


Back then I didn’t even know it was called the resort but now I can understand why.


Husband says:

Wife says:
Husband says:

Wife says:

When I get mad at you, you never fight back. How do you control your anger?

I clean the toilet.

How does that help?
I use your toothbrush.


China Airlines.


China Airlines recently had a few problems – see HERE



Vietnam: The True Victory

O.M. Eather


In 2002, with the release of the film 'We Were Soldiers', which starred Mel Gibson, and which was based on the Battle of Ia Drang, the reality of the Vietnam War was finally given a reasonable and unbiased depiction. This is far removed from the patent, defeatist fantasies of films such as "Platoon" and "Apocalypse Now". It also leads to examination of the persistent myth that America and her Allies were "defeated" in the VietnamMel Gibsonin We were Soldiers War, a myth peddled continuously by pinky journalists, academics and other commentators with a vested interest in convincing all that it is reality. The 'Big Lie" of military defeat that, said often and long enough, becomes the 'reality".

News organisations such as the BBC, the ABC, the 'New York Times' and the 'Washington Post' are among those most strident in the relentless peddling of this falsehood. It is bias and inaccuracy of the highest order, at odds with the supposed impartiality and high standards of these renowned news institutions, but it powerfully imbeds the myth in the mainstream of accepted truths. To argue against the American 'defeat' now automatically brings a conditioned response of disbelief and condescension, so pervasive has this campaign been.



Beat the 5 o'clock rush, leave work at noon.



One of the most persistent and recognisable motifs of this longstanding perspective is the continuous and excessive use of footage of the helicopter evacuation of US citizens from the US Saigon Embassy, a completely non military activity. It gives the impression US Forces were driven out of the country in 1975 - allEvac from US Embassy 1975 presumably exiting from the roof of the Embassy. This is invariably accompanied by dialogue using the words "defeat" and "tragedy" and other emotive and factless commentary to complete the quite shameless distortion.

Some time ago, the 'Sydney Morning Herald' reported on the opening of an Australian memorial in Phuoc Tuy Province for the Battle of Long Tan. The reporter exhibited all the results of thirty years of misinformation. Firstly calling the Australian campaign 'ill fated', he went on to describe the battle as an 'ambush' of the Australian force, finishing by only mentioning Viet Cong and North Vietnamese casualties, not the Australian twenty dead. By some convoluted logic he managed to imply that Australians were militarily inept by being ambushed, but were also callous and brutal in daring to proceed to slaughter the enemy once engaged, while suffering no casualties ourselves.

The facts of the Battle of Long Tan are well known, particularly that it was an encounter battle, not an ambush. It was far from a blundering disaster. In fact, it unbalanced a determined and numerically superior attempt to destroy the newly established Australian Task Force at Nui Dat, precisely what large, armed fighting patrolsTet Offensive are intended to do. It also, irrevocably, wrested the initiative from the Viet Cong and the People's Army of Vietnam in Phouc Tuy Province. So much so that, eighteen months later during one of the most dangerous periods of the entire war (the 68 TET Offensive) 1 ATF was able to commit two thirds of its strength outside the province to assist the Americans. However, such factual analysis escaped the Herald's reporter completely.

The Tet Offensive is often offered as an example of how American and Allied forces were completely outclassed by the Viet Cong and PAVN, the Siege of Khe Sanh being one of the key 'tragedies' of the Tet Offensive. The facts are that, for North Vietnam, the Tet Offensive was an unmitigated and wildly overestimated disaster. There was no mass, popular uprising and all that was achieved was the exposure of both Viet Cong and Main Force units to the withering destruction of American and Allied firepower. The Viet Cong in South Vietnam were effectively wiped out and ceased to play any effective role in the war from then on. The North Vietnamese mounted an undeniable invasion of South Vietnam through neutral Laos and Cambodia; an act of military amorality equal to Pearl Harbour and the two invasions of Belgium by the German Army in 1914 and 1940. Virtually all their first line combat units were decimated, suffering over forty thousand killed and half that number wounded.

None - absolutely none - of the military aims of the Communist forces were achieved and it was called off by Vo Nguyen Giap when its failure became obvious. It was a military defeat of the order the French Army in 1940 or the Gallipoli Campaign. Yet, 'conventional wisdom' by the pinky apologists and mythmakers hold the TET offensive up as a shining victory for the North.

At Khe Sanh, particularly, an outnumbered US Marine garrison inflicted a huge defeat on the Communist forces. There, a combination of fighting spirit and technology beat the four NVA divisions arrayed against them and foiled Giap's aim to repeat Dien Bien Phu. This also destabilised overall Communist strategy for the Tet Offensive, tying down valuable forces in the North, hardly a display of the alleged superior military thought of this 'master' strategist and his political master, Ho Chi Minh. The Tet Offensive was a military miscalculation ofKhe Sahn the most callous and egregious kind, a complete waste of the military resources deployed by the North.

In Phouc Tuy, the Australian Army never lost a battle, no thanks to the absence of our other SEATO ally, Great Britain, perhaps the underlying cause of the BBC's anti Americanism and its particular attempts to rewrite the results of the Vietnam War. In fact, all American and Allied forces had left South Vietnam by January, 1973, over eighteen months before the fall of Saigon. A peace treaty, the Paris Accords, had been signed by all parties as, to all intents, North Vietnam had been well and truly defeated militarily in the field, despite what years of misinformation would have us believe.



How do you tell when you run out of invisible ink?



Concurrently, and most germane, was the fragmenting and emasculation of Communist aggression in Asia from the resolute example of America and Australia in Vietnam. The "dominoes" of South East Asia were given a priceless five years to cement their fragile economies and begin to deliver benefits to the people that evaporated the former appeal of Communism.


No less an authority than Lee Kuan Yew has confirmed this crucial fact - Vietnam bought the rest of South East Asia the time needed to implement economic and political reform. This was the main game, the defeat of Communist expansion in South East Asia, and we well and truly won it.

Saigon fell because the North Vietnamese broke the Paris Accords, with deliberate and cold-blooded aggression, waiting long enough after Allied forces had left. The Communists attacked with four Armoured divisions across the DMZ in a style reminiscent of Hitler's Blitzkreig. In this new war, the NVA most certainly defeated the numerically inferior South Vietnamese but this was not the American fictional defeat posited by revisionist journalists - the Americans weren't there! If President Nixon had not been emasculated by the 'Watergate' scandal, US Airpower would have been committed to the defence of South Vietnam, however it was withheld by a hostile US Congress.

Vietnam choppersFinally, another myth is the defeat of US technological might by a bare foot army. The small part played by the Viet Cong against the consistent activities of the very well equipped and numerically superior PAVN forces dismisses the 'barefoot' fallacy. If there was any defeat in the Vietnam War, it was that of the political dimension. This was completely ignored, yet any elementary student (or reporter) of war theory knows, as Clausewitz enjoined, "war is an extension of policy by other means". To focus on technology as the cause of any negative result in that war is a fatal flaw in any argument trying to deduce future directions in warfare.

In the Vietnam War, technology was the equaliser for our forces against a more numerous and well equipped enemy. Helicopters gave flexibility to move less numerous manoeuvre forces rapidly and productively. Air and artillery support gave them a firepower equaliser when they met these larger enemy numbers. This crucial dynamic of operations in South Vietnam, the technology "equaliser", rarely gets a mention, except as a means of contrasting the combatants in an attempt to reap sympathy for the enemy.


An elderly man walked into a confessional booth. The following conversation ensued:


Man:         "Father, I am 82 years old, and have a wonderful wife of 60 years, many children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Yesterday, I picked up two college girls, hitchhiking. For some reason, they thought I was kind of interesting. One thing led to another, and we ended up at a motel, where I had sex with each of them twice."

Priest:       "I see, you have come here to confess your  sins?"........

Man:         "What sins?"
Priest:       "What kind of a Catholic are you?"............

Man:         "I'm Jewish."
Priest:       "Why are you telling me all this?".....

Man:         "I'm telling everybody."


The RAAF Memorial Centre

61 Davey Street




The History of the Centre


The suggestion of a Memorial Centre originated from the Council of Tasmania Division.


At an enthusiastic meeting of more than 200 Hobart citizens held on 29th November, 1946, under the Chairmanship of His Excellency, The Governor (Admiral Sir Hugh Binney) approval was granted for the launching of a State-wide appeal for funds to purchase a property.


The appeal was formally launched by the Lord Mayor of Hobart, the Right Honourable W W Osborne.


Sub-committees were formed throughout the State and the appeal became one of the largest conducted in Tasmania with a net result of £7,363/15/10 - sufficient to purchase the property known as "Woodbourne" at 61 Davey St, Hobart which became the RAAF Memorial Centre.


 Hobart RAAF Centre


Extensive alterations and additions to the RAAF Memorial Centre have been carried out over the years, including a Memorial Chapel which was dedicated and "set apart" by three RAAF Staff Chaplains - Chaplain T D Beyer MBE, Principal Chaplain E F Cooper, and Principal Chaplain J P McNamara at a ceremony on 19th September, 1954.


The Memorial Room


The memorial book, researched by the late Mr Tom Simpson, which is prominently displayed on the lectern in the Memorial Room and which contains the names of all Tasmanian enlistments in the RAAF and the RAF who lost their lives during 1914-18, 1939-45, and the Korean War, was sent to England and Sir Winston Churchill wrote the foreword.  The pen used by Sir Winston Churchill is at present in the Museum in the RAAF Memorial Centre. 


An oil painting of Sir Winston Churchill by Patrick I White was purchased by the Hobart Branch Auxiliary in March 1960 for 100 guineas and donated to the Centre.  The memorial panel where the painting of Sir Winston Churchill is hung contains the names of ex Air Force personnel who have died since the war.


The stained glass windows were installed by the Association’s WAAAF Branch, having been designed by Miss Eileen Thompson, a member of the Branch who served with the RAF.


On Sunday, 12th March 1961, His Excellency, The Governor (Lord Rowallan) unveiled the windows which were then dedicated by RAAF Staff Chaplains, Principal Chaplain K R Morrison, Assistant Principal Chaplain T D Beyer MBE, and Principal Chaplain L B Smith.


In previous years services were held in the Chapel during the "Battle of Britain" Commemoration and there have also been many funeral services held over the years.



The Museum


The Air Force Museum which is incorporated in the Centre was opened by Air Marshal J Newham AO on 13th September 1986.  The Museum contains artefacts and memorabilia on display - "on loan" or donated - which depict the Australian Flying Corps 1917 and the RAAF 1921.  Many of the articles have come from the Air Force Museum, Point Cook.


Donations of articles have exceeded the space available, with the result being that changes are made at frequent intervals.


One of the highlights is the "Dam Buster" section which contains a copy of Wing Commander Guy Gibson's Log Book which details the sortie when he earned the Victoria Cross.  One of our (now deceased) members, FLGOFF Thomas Drayton (Tammy  or Tom) Simpson DFC DFM was the rear gunner in the crew of (later) Air Marshal Sir Harold (Mick) Martin KCB CB DSO* AFC on the Dam Busters’ raid.


“Mick” Martin was an Australian who joined the RAF and flew the third aircraft to attack the Mohne Dam.  He had an all RAAF crew during the raid.


The exhibit contains photographs of the crew about to receive their investitures, photographs of the bombs that were dropped, and the actual helmet and goggles worn by Tom on the raid.  There is another interesting photograph of Tom in his rear turret.  Apparently, on one of the raids, the aircraft was hit by flak and oil streamed over Tom’s turret.  In order to maintain his vision Tom bashed the turret with a fire axe!

 Bill Falkinder

Another exhibit is that of WGCDR C W J (Bill) Falkinder CBE DSO DFC* who was a Pathfinder navigator and the most highly decorated of the Australian Pathfinders.  He flew 83 operations between July 1943 and December 1944.


A further exhibit is that of WOFF Max Staunton-Smith (deceased) who was granted the French legion of Honour.  Max was shot down over Holland and spent some time as a POW.  He was a survivor of “The Long March” from Bankau in Poland to Luckenwalde, near Berlin.  Max was unable to attend the investiture of nine other ex service personnel who were also granted the Legion of Honour.  However the French Ambassador came to Hobart and presented the award to Max at a function in the Centre.


Another item of interest is the “Blue Max”.  This is a blue medal inscribed in French.  It is a pre WWI Prussian decoration when the fashion was to speak French at the Prussian court.  It was originally awarded for “Generosity”, later for “Merit”, and, in WWII for bravery.  During that war it was awarded to Max Immelmann, a German fighter ace, and hence received the nickname of “The Blue Max”.


The Museum also contains a copy of the Official Surrender Document signed in Tokyo Bay, Japan on September, 2nd, 1945.  The document was signed on board the battleship USS Missouri by representatives of the Allied Forces and the Japanese Empire.


The original Trustees of the Centre were: Messrs T D Simpson DFC DFM, C J MacDonald, H S Barnett, and (later) D W Challender (all deceased).  The current Trustees are : Messrs F L Heerey, WE Dixon OAM, and C K James RFD.


If you’re in Hobart – call in, you’re always welcome…



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