Vol 10

Page 3


2 Radio Appy.


We had the photo below in our previous issue, and we asked if any-one could supply the names. Ian Symonds who was on number 2 RAS at Frognall in 1948, and who now lives in Pt Macquarie was quick to tell us that the photo was of 2 RAS and was taken at Frognall not at Ballarat as we had said.  Ian says the blokes in the photo are:- 


Back Row L-R:     Ian Mullins, Barry Seedsman, Bert Black, Tony Jackson, Barry Nicholls, Bugs Beasley, Charley Harrison, Bob Woods, Tom Playford.


Front Row L-R:    Ian Symonds, Bill Reese, Brian Doulis, John Hughes, Wally Pearson, Mulga Kinder, Joe Marsh.


Ian says that his pay in those days was 3/- (30¢) per week, with 2/- (20¢) deferred.. He says No 2 Course started on the 7th July 1948 at RAAF Frognall and attended the Mel Tech College (now RMIT) until 1950 then spent 6 months at Ballarat learning RAAF equipment. In those days, radio and radar were quite separate trades and when first posted to 10 Gr Sqn Townsville, he used to spend time in both sections (H2S in Lincolns and TR 5048??), spending most of his time as airborne fixer and later as spare wireless operator. He says “We graduated as AC1’s Radio Mechanics (Air) and while at Frognell we were not permitted to drink, had smoking passes issued if studies were OK, were not allowed to have motorbikes, had to attend church dances (where the DI would grab you by the neck and lead you up to a girl to ask her to dance), had to attend cinema shows at Camberwell Theatre, and there was no leave from the base for the first year. Most blokes off the course were posted to either Malta or Japan (BCOF & Korea) in 1952/3. Below is a photo of our meteors of 77 Sqn at Kimpo, Korea, 1957.


Our daily hours, 7 days a week, were from 5.30am to 9.30pm, helping to take snow covers off, normal radio repair work, on call for the 20 aircraft departures about 3 times per day, then snow covers back on at 9.30pm. Good union hours. I was with 482 Sqn Japan, 77 Sqn at Kimpo then Kunsan and 36 Sqn Iwakuni before returning to 6 Sqn Amberley. I then applied for Aircrew and was on 26 pilots course at Uranquinty in 1955”.


We knew you’d want to know too so we asked Ian where it was…....


"Uranquinty is about 20Klm south of Wagga, on the Olympic Way, and was an RAAF base from WW2 days. I was on 26 Pilots course, and the Tiger Moth had just been phased out as a training aircraft, being replaced with the Winjeel which was a great abinitio trainer. When I started my course I was 25 yrs old,  having been rejected for 5 years due to my apprenticeship contract, then I was relegated to a nav course until more pilots were wanted, and as a result I was dubbed “the old man.”  I went solo in 5.20 hours which is still pretty good. We then had x hours on the Wirraway before going to AFTS at Pt Cook, the course being whittled down from 31 to 11 blokes and where we finally graduated as Sgt pilots.


When I was at Pt Cook, Paul Colby, who was on 27 course, bailed out of a Winjeel due to smoke in the cockpit and joined the caterpiller club and 2 instructors were killed at Canberra doing spins. An RAN trainee, Pat Vickers, was later KIA in Vietnam when bullets penetrated the seat of his chopper. One of my instructors was Cec Sly, who had been a POW in Korea, another was John Laming, later to check me out as a Sgt captain on Lincolns at Darwin, and we’ve kept in touch over all those years. 



Alec Young.




Ian also told us of Alec Young (right), also in our previous edition. Alec was on No 2 Radio Appy course with Ian until 1949, when he transferred to Point Cook cadets for pilot training where he successfully graduated into RAAF aircrew. Ian says he met Alec again about 1961, just before he was killed while leading a formation of four vampires (the RAAF aerobatic team) which were known as the "Red Sails". All four aircraft crashed just near East Sale in about 1962.











Theresa Hart, winner of one of the incredibly difficult competitions on the night, shown here wisely choosing the bottle of Ben Ean over that other mundane old prize of 3 months all expenses paid holiday in the Whitsundays.


You can quite clearly see the looks of envy from those around her.









We need your help!  To produce this little newsletter every three months we need an consistent supply of news, stories, funny yarns and/or articles of interest. You’d be surprised how much material gets chewed up in one edition. If you’ve got any old photos, stories, anything, (but no jokes please—we’ve got a bunch of those) please send them in. You don’t have to write the article, we will do that for you, just give us the bare bones of the story, with a photo, and we’ll pad it out.


Everyone has a story about their RAAF time, about the equipment they used to work on, the blokes they used to work with, the bases and even though you mightn’t think it newsworthy, someone will. Please go through the spare room and dig out some of that old stuff you’ve had stored away for yonks and let us have it—Please!!




     To the optimist, the glass is half full.

     To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.

     To the accountant, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.



Back      1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11     Forward