Vol 8

Page 3


The photo above was sent to us by Ted McEvoy, and was taken at Laverton on the 23 August, 1961. It’s a photo of the Apprentice Squadron Rugby Union Colts team which used to play in the Melbourne competition.. Unfortunately, Ted can’t remember all the names, but perhaps you can help fill in the blanks. Appy number after each name. They are L-R.


Back Row: Doug Kidd (14), Glen Gould (15), Alf Smith (13 and 14), Laurie Lindsay (14), Mick Deecke (14), Phil Holden(14), Doug Steir??(15), —- —–(15)

Front row:  — —Kiwi (15), Ted McEvoy (14), Chris Eldridge (14 and 15), Ian Guthrie-Kiwi (14), — —(15), — —(15)





Ron Johnston, ex Army medico, now living in the UK, writes of his time in Ubon in 1963. He says,


The 28th Commonwealth Brigade were flown in from Malaya and the 16th Commonwealth Field Ambulance set up their Advanced Dressing Station on the Ubon airfield. The Ozzi medics found the "Blue Lagoon" a favourite watering hole and one night the cyclo driver just couldn't pedal fast enough to beat curfew. L/CPL Ron Johnston was on the mat next morning. When it came to hearing the charge, the OC, Ron Ruck, got to the point of saying, "Johnston, will you accept my punishment, or do you want to go before the CO?" At that point there was a deafening roar from the airfield as a jet took off. "Case adjourned - march out.", shouted the OC above the roar.


Well, we got to this stage of proceedings on five or six other occasions, each time yours was saved by the RAAF, but eventually the OC cracked and awarded me a reprimand. It must have done some good (what do they say—as long as they spell your name right!!) because seven years later I was recommended for a commission while serving with 1st Aust Field Hospital at Vung Tau, and went on to become a Captain. The incident at Ubon always reminded me that sometimes minor irritations in military discipline affected the judge more than the guilty person.






We received the following via email and we were asked to include it in our newsletter. So here it is.


To All who have served in Washington DC.


The US Foreign Joint Services NCO Association (FJSNA) is still going strong today and they will be celebrating their 25th Anniversary with a Spring Ball on the 7th April 2001. The ball will be held in the Koran Room of the Fort Myer Officers Club in Arlington VA.


The US Secretary of Defence, Mr Cohen, has been asked to be the guest speaker and all indications are that he will accept the invitation. The organisers are trying to have as many ex members of the FJSNA as possible attend this anniversary ball and there are still a few of the original founding members in Oz.


If you are thinking of attending or require further information, please contact Dany Schinzel (WO French Army) PDschinzel@aol.com or you can contact Kev Kochy on Ph: (02) 6254 5932.






The recent Defence White Paper (which can be viewed in full at www.defence.gov.au/whitepaper) says:-


“A new light tactical airlift capability (LTAC) will be sought to replace the Caribou from 2010 and a life of type extension program will be conducted to keep the Caribou flying until a replacement is acquired.”


The Caribou was first delivered to the RAAF back in March 1964, and between then and May 1971, a total of 29 aircraft were delivered, and if they last through to 2010 as planned, the type will have been in continuous service for 46 years. That’s equivalent to the Army still using FJ Holdens as staff cars. The old Caribou has been painted just about every colour there is, has carried just about everything, has been just about everywhere, and there’s not much it hasn’t done, and by the time it’s had its final after-flight this old piston-engined relic will have outlasted a bunch of much other more sophisticated aircraft.


US Army Caribou. A lot of the Yankee versions had weather radar which completely changed the “look” of the aeroplane. In Vietnam, at Christmas time, the Yanks would deck out one aircraft by painting the nose section white and the radome a bright red. This aircraft, filled with heaps of toys, then became “Santa’s sleigh” and made a lot of little Vietnamese kids very happy.


For those interested in the tech bits, the Caribou is powered    by two Pratt and Whitney 18 cylinder radials, each developing 2,000 horse-power. It is 22.5 metres long, 9.6 metres high (seems higher when you’re up there in a swaying basket attached to a fork lift trying to fix an HF antenna), and has a wing span of 29 metres. All up weight is 12,900 kg, with a payload of 3,180 kg and can carry a total of 100 empty 44 gal drums if you really cram them in—a record set by Stew Bonnett back in 1968/69 at either Pink Lilly or was it Leigh Creek??


Over the years an awful lot of blokes have either flown them, flown in them, or worked on them, and all remember the old girl with fond memories. It must have been a fantastic aeroplane back in 1964 because it’s still pretty good today.


If you’re interested, Darren Crick maintains a web site http://www.derwood.com/adf/3a4.htm which lists all 29 aircraft, and sets out when they were delivered, what’s happened to them since, and also where they are now.




I wish I was a glow worm, A glow worm's never glum.

'Cos how can you be grumpy when the sun shines out your bum.      Ted McEvoy.





A4-208 was taken delivery of by the RAAF in Nov 1964, and while being ferried out to Australia was instead diverted to Vietnam. In January, 1969, while on the ground at Katum, a US Special Forces camp near the Cambodian border, it was hit by shrapnel from 3 mortar rounds which exploded a short distance from the aircraft. Pilot at the time was “Tommy” Thompson with “Rocky” McGregor in the right hand seat, and Barry Gracie down the back. With both pilots injured, the hydraulics damaged, tyres flat, flaps and brakes not working, the aircraft was quickly unloaded and flown back to Bien Hoa. Photo above was taken in October 2000 and shows it in a paddock next to the Oakey Army base in Queensland (near Toowoomba) where it has been used as a training aid.


There are plans to take the aircraft into Moreton Bay, courtesy of Chinook Airlines and sink it on the Curtin artificial reef where it will become a home for fish and a haven for scuba divers. It is currently being “environmentally” cleaned and stripped of all snags to facilitate free movement inside while in the water. It was interesting to see those wielding the hack saws, chisels and damn big hammers at Oakey getting the aircraft ready for its last flight included “Pud” Passmore and “Frosty” Williams, both ex WO’s.


One of the few Caribous on the civilian register.

This one was operated by Ansett Airlines in Papua New Guinea and is shown here at Chimbu airport in the Wahgi valley, not far from Goroka, in 1968.



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