Radschool Association Magazine - Vol 33
Recently, I was speaking with Pat Carter, the wife of an old mate and she told me that, sadly, her husband, Geoffrey Lawrence Carter, had passed away. I first met and have fond memories of Geoff, who everyone knew as “Nick”, at Radschool back in 1966/67 where he spent 5 or 6 years as a Sergeant instructor. A few of us were having trouble trying to make sense of multi vibrators and oscillators and square wave generators which were being taught to us by an EDO – a bloke who had lots of experience in the class room, but unfortunately, none on a bench. We mentioned this to Nick, and unselfishly, he made himself available, after hours, to explain the workings of the flip flop and other wiz bang thingies. He spent many hours with us, in his own time, and eventually we got the hang of the little doovers and were able to get through the finals.
We next met him in Vung Tau in 1969/70 where he was the Sgt in charge of 35 Squadron radio, (above) and where he spent many hours taping records for all and sundry on his ‘you-beaut’ auto reverse reel to reel tape deck and where he did the odd foreigner or twenty.
In later years, Nick suffered from lung cancer for some time, and unfortunately, in the end his heart failed him and he died on the 9th December, 2008. He was 78. He was a good mate to a lot of people and will be sadly missed by many.
Dennis Pearce advises that Dick Whitman, DFC, AFC, recently passed away. Dick flew in the Korean War, the Malaysian conflict and in Vietnam with 2 Sqn and 9 Sqn. Dennis says he had been visiting Dick on a monthly basis and even though his body was very frail, and he was constantly on oxygen, his mind remained very alert. His dear wife Nat passed away about 3 months ago. Dick was one of the old time pilots who sported a fine moustache and flew some 38 types of aircraft. His favourite was the Mustang, which in his words was a damn fine aircraft to fly. Dick was buried on the 13th September. I have lost a good old friend in Dick and may he rest in peace with his beloved Nat.
Frank Alley remembers Dick from Laverton, see HERE
Steve Hartigan advises that Bob Cuttriss passed away on the 31st August 2010, in the early hours of the morning in Melbourne after a long illness. Bob joined the RAAF on No 36 Navigators Course in 1968, and after an operational tour in Vietnam on Canberras, (Dec 1969 to Sept 1970) continued his flying career on C-130s and KC-135s. One of Bob's last postings was as CO Base Squadron Laverton before retiring in 1990.
Bob was buried near Williamstown, (Vic) on Friday 3 September following which there was a wake in his honour at the Sanctuary Lakes Golf Club, (right) where he was a valued member of the executive.
Earlier this year we received an email from Maree (no names, no pack-drill) who said that Ron Oddy (right), who was on 9RMT, had passed away in July 2007. We printed the notice of Ron’s demise in Vol32 and we were very quickly notified by several of his mates that Ron was indeed alive and still furiously kicking.
So we pulled the notice and hunted Ron down, and sure enough, we are pleased to say that Maree was, to say the least, horribly wrong!!!
Ron would like everyone to know he is still very much alive and well and living in Melbourne.
(Thanks Angus!! – tb)
Dick Tracey wrote to say that on the 31 August, Chris Lovett, who lived in Perth and was off 16 Radio Appy course, passed away peacefully, aged only 63 years. Chris suffered from vicious cancer tumours in his skull. Dick said that Chris’s brother, Rick, who was on 20 Appy, rang him and told him the sad news.
Alf Valentine said he attended Chris’ funeral along with a large crowd of friends and family and later went back to Chris and Sandy’s place with quite a number of them. He says “Chris was a universally well liked bloke and almost all commented on his wisdom and integrity. I guess my lasting impression of Chris is of a real decent bloke who travelled his own road (he never did anything just because all the rest were doing it) and never spoke ill of anyone. His wife Sandy has asked me to pass on her very sincere thanks for the best wishes and support she’s received in the last week or so. She is obviously doing it tough but also has a realistic attitude and a strong network of friends and family. I’m sure that Sandy will be able to get her life in order once the grieving is over. We (for we, read Val) ended up arranging for flowers to be sent to Sandy from 16 Course members - they were a large tub of tulips as Val thought that Sandy might like to subsequently plant the bulbs. For those of you who don’t know, the Lovett house has a magnificent garden and Sandy is a very keen gardener so she was delighted with the tulips and they will eventually end up somewhere in the grounds of Chateau Lovett.”
“I knew Chris was younger than me but his birthday (64th) wasn’t until 4th November – far too young. Rick Lovett remains the same good bloke he always was and passes on his best wishes to any old colleagues out there who might remember him.
Ray “RG” Thompson wrote to say that he had recently received a note from Zeta Brown (Col Shepherd's sister-in-law) informing him that Col Shepherd had passed away on the 31st August. Col’s death was quite sudden. He had been in hospital for about 2 weeks and Robin (his wife) took him home on the Monday and then found him dead in the bathroom on Tuesday morning. RG said “Shep” and he were good mates and shared the same room in Butterworth for 2 years.
Steve Hartigan advises the sad news that Roy “Nugget” Hibben (right) passed away early on Tuesday 5 October, he was 83 years old. Nugget suffered a severe stroke on Sunday 3 October, followed by a seizure and was placed in an induced coma and kept comfortable in his nursing home.
Roy was the CO of 9 Squadron in Vung Tau from May, 1969 to May 1970.
In 1962, he was awarded the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air, in 1967 the Air Force Cross, and in 1971 A Companion of the Distinguished Service Order.
See entry in our previous issue HERE.
Roy was buried on Monday the 11th October, 2010 at Kiama, NSW, following which a wake was held.
Mick Lawson advises, “It is with regret that I have to pass on the
following. I received a letter from Carol Patten, daughter of
Kenneth Stanley Peddey of Downer in the ACT who informs us of
the death of her father on 29 August 2010. She wrote "Ken was a
proud member of your organisation and his family would like to pass
on their sincere thanks for the many years of camaraderie and joy
that he gained by being a member of the Djinnang Association".
Neil Hunter advises, “It is my sad duty to advise of the passing of one of the RAAF's characters, Harry William “Horse” Park. To those that knew him, Horse was one of a kind. He was, to my knowledge the last blacksmith in the RAAF.
Harry was buried at Altona North (Vic) on Friday the 15 October, 2010.
Diane Dirou advises: “It is with great sadness that I advise the passing of Rex Robert Budd (right) on Thursday 4th November after a short battle with cancer. He was 75 years old.
Rex served with 2 Air Trials Unit (Meteor); 2 Fighter Operational Conversion Unit; 3, 76, 79 Fighter Squadrons (Vampire and Sabre) and 5 and 9 Squadrons (Iroquois and 'Bushranger' gunships). He served 2 operational tours in Vietnam with 9SQN between 1968 and 1970 and was the first RAAF pilot to log 1000 hours in Vietnam and the 3rd of 5 gunship flight commanders. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on the 2nd April 1970.
His funeral was held in Kuranda QLD on Monday 8 November followed by a private cremation.
The following eulogy appeared in the Queensland Country Life, Town and Country segment, on Thursday, 18th November, 2010.
'It was somewhere deep in the South East Asian rainforest where Rex Budd extracted six SAS troops who had been sprung on ground by the enemy in 1969. At the grace of Huey helicopter, Rex managed to lift the patrol attached to 150 foot ropes out of the jungle while dodging bullets being fired in, through and around the helicopter.
As Australia stopped last week to remember those who sacrificed their lives on the battle field, somewhere up in the top end of Queensland, a group of helicopter pilots, comrades and family members gathered to celebrate the life of a bloke who has left a long legacy behind him - that being the life of Rex Budd.
Rex grew up at Murwillumbah and attended high school in Armidale. After graduation he spent time at Nerrigundah station outside Quilpie roo shooting and filling in time until he was old enough to join the air force.
Arthur Budd, Rex's brother said when they were kids they use to love making model aeroplanes and dreamt about being pilots.
It wasn't until Rex joined the Queensland University Squadron at Archerfield many years later to undergo National Service that he was accepted into Air Force pilot training.
Following graduation as dux of his pilot course, he served in flying roles with two Air Trials Unit (Meteor); two Fighter Operational Conversion Units; 3, 76, 79 Fighter Squadrons (Vampire and Sabre); 5 and 9 Squadrons (Iroquois and Bushranger gunships) and in administrative appointments with other units.
Rex served two operational tours of duty with 9 Squadron between 1968 and 1970 flying Iroquois helicopters during the Vietnam War. He was the first RAAF pilot to log 1,000 hours during that campaign and was the third of five Bushranger gunship flight commanders, all having previously flown fighter aircraft. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his superior leadership, courage and devotion to duty during 625 days service overall in Vietnam. No. 9 Squadron bartered equipment from the Americans for Australian beer and slouch hats before funding was eventually allocated to officially acquire weapons kits for the gunships.
Rex was never more at home then he was chasing bullocks back home on Australian soil. After returning from Vietnam he started his own helicopter mustering business based in Mareeba and became a pioneer of the game.
He recognised the skills needed from people that understood stock and had worked in the bush. His philosophy was it was much easier to teach a ringer how to be a helicopter pilot then it was to teach a helicopter pilot how to be a ringer.
"He felt a great sense of responsibility and ensured they got the training," friend and co-business owner with Rex, Jerry Collins said.
In 1972 before chopper mustering was common in Queensland, Rex was sent to Highbury station where Kerry Slingsby was headstock man at the time.
For the first time Kerry sat in a helicopter with Rex which marked the beginning of a long friendship. Highbury station soon invested in their own helicopter and own pilot, a pilot with little livestock experience. It was over a bottle of rum that Rex learnt about this inconvenient situation and so he suggested to Kerry to go and learn how to fly a chopper himself.
"He wrote me out a cheque for $1000 and we went to bed full of rum," Kerry said. About a week later Rex returned and said 'what are you doing - I'm fair dinkum.' And so Kerry sold all his personal belongings and Rex sent him over to Long Beach in America where he learnt how to fly.
While Kerry was in America he received a telegram from Rex which read “by now you will think a helicopter is totally impossible to fly but stick at it and it will come to you”.
"Those words put that much encouragement in me," Kerry said. "His faith in me was what changed me. He convinced me I could do it." "That's the sort of person he was."
When Kerry returned to Australia Rex gave him a mustering endorsement.
Eventually Kerry ended up at Kununurra in the Kimberley where he started his own business. Slingsby helicopter's, originally a mustering organisation, began in 1984 and later branched into charter and tourism. By the time Kerry sold the business two years ago, he owned 25 helicopters and 25 planes.
Kerry was just the first pilot lucky enough to be taken under Rex's wing. Other pilots included Eric Webb, Emerald, Mike Tully, Cloncurry and Jerry Weaden, all of whom have had their own successful helicopter mustering businesses.
"Once you're a friend of Rex's you're a friend for life," Kerry said.'
John “Sambo” Sambrooks advises the passing of Alex Martini on the 2nd August, 2010. from heart problems. Alex was a framie and served as a Cpl load-master with 35 Squadron Vung Tau from Oct 1967 to Oct 1968. He lived in Deniliquin, New South Wales. He was 78 years old.
Unfortunately, no further details are at hand.