Vol 12

Page 11




In Vol 9, back in Jan this year, we had a request from Niall Maguire in the UK asking for info on the AN/CPN-4 GCA radar. Terry Walters, who was at 10 sewerage unit in Vung Tau back in 1968/69, and who now lives in Toowoomba, recently saw our web site and he knows that GCA thing inside out.  Terry says: the Magnetron type S was possibly a 5586 or a 5686, the X was a  2J51, the Thyratron type S was a  5949/1907 and the X a HT415. The EHT, S - 4.5 to 8.6 KV depending on whether 1/3, 1/2, 3/4 or FULL power, the X - 3.2 to 4 KV. PRF: S - 1,500 pps, X - unknown. PW: S - 0.36 uS,  X - 0.18 uS. The Precision Switch Blades alternately fed RF to the AZ or EL antennas for 22 mS at a time.  (Bloody groundies speak funny—don’t they??)



The RAAF had four AN/CPN-4s, three in Australia at Pearce, Williamtown and Amberley (as mentioned by Ted Washbrook in Vol 10), and the fourth was in Butterworth till late 1969 when it was returned to Australia and served as a training aid at Radschool. I don't know when they were actually withdrawn from service, but when I arrived at HQSC in 1983, there was a CPN-4 Operations trailer in the 1AD MTRS compound, and the associated AirCon trailer was at 1AD Transport Section. It turns out that that particular CPN-4 was from Amberley, and had been involved in some 'gap-filler' trials in the Stanthorpe, QLD area after been withdrawn from service at Amberley.


In the late 80s, TELENG (HQSC Telecommunications Engineering Division) received an inquiry re the possibility of the Laverton CPN-4 going to the RAAF Museum as a display.  Unfortunately, the inquirer envisioned only taking the Operations Trailer, cutting it in half lengthwise, and displaying only Bays 9 to 16 (the operating positions).  TELENG staff were not in favour of this proposal, and as I got posted about this time, I don't know the final outcome.


At about the same time as the above hardware enquiries, SOPUBs finally woke up that the CPN-4 was no longer in service, and wanted to get rid of all the publications, but there was apparently some statutory requirement to maintain at least some information on the equipment for historical purposes.  Unfortunately, even one copy of every pub for the equipment took up a lot of room, and TELENG was approached for advice on the minimum number of pubs to retain.  I seem to recall that TELENG's suggestion was to retain a full RED or BLUE set (SOPUBS Master Copies), which was not what they wanted to hear.  Again I got posted before the final outcome.  So! Perhaps there is at least part of an AN/CPN-4, and maybe even some of the associated AAPs, at the RAAF Museum, Pt Cook.  There also may be some AAPs at the National Archives at Mitchell in Canberra.  


Thanks Terry—we’ve forwarded your email onto Niall who will be very happy to get the info he was after and if the rest of you blokes ever get asked about the CPN4 in a pub or a club—now you’ll know too.




Well - Maurie Laine couldn’t control himself. He had plans to keep the bottla that he won a few comps back, as a sort of  heirloom, and after it was delivered he wrote and told us that it was securely stowed in a safe place, and he intended to bring it out again to celebrate his 100th. But then his mate Adrian Heinrich read that Maurie had won the bottla, so he jumped on the very next plane out of Melbourne and headed for Brisvegas. The bottla is now only a memory—gone, and to make matters worse, we’ve since discovered that they are not making it any more. It’s finished, ceased, kaput—a wonderful era has passed into history. What a disaster.


We had heaps of entries, all correct, though Ted McEvoy said he was tempted to go for answer “C” (Bugs Bunny), but straight away picked it for a trick answer as there was no rank mentioned. So—from the hat we drew Frank Oostenbroek  who correctly told us that the OIC Radschool in 1965 was of course Wng Cdr ER Hall. Frank was sent the very last bottle of Sparkling Rinegold in captivity, and we had to search far and wide to get it. But, it came back “address unknown” so we had to draw again, and this time we got a winner. Terry Boyle ex 34RTC, who lives on Bribie Island is now the proud owner of the bottla.


Pays to keep your records up to date……. 


But that has left us with a dilemma, what are we going to offer as a prize for the next competition. As per normal, when faced with a really baffling problem, we headed straight for the RSL to do some serious thinking, and bingo—solved. There it was before our eyes, in the bottlo out the back, the mighty PASSION POP. From now on, the winner will receive a bottle of that much sought after and admired sparkling wine — “Passion Pop”.


So, down to this editions’ competition, and we have a question for all the crusty old five hundred players (you should know this one Bill B).  Which king in a pack of playing cards does not have a moustache,  is it::-


A.   The king of Spades           B.   The king of Clubs             C.   The king of Diamonds             D.  The king of Hearts.


Once again, email us your answer, and soon you could be the envy of all with your very own bottla Passion Pop.



'Dutchy' Forster got in touch after our recent competition, and was reminiscing about his time at Laverton and about some of the staff. He says “Flt Lt Nev Blakely was our course instructor on RMC 34 until about August'64. Ron Lippman was on the same course if my memory serves me correctly. The bloke in charge of workshop practices was a Cpl Harrison (Cpl Arry-sun as he used to introduce himself). Flt Lt Henry Parker, complete with two boxer dogs at heel, was the defence guard commander who made life just that little more uncertain.


I remember the Shadows song "The Rise and Fall of Flingle Bunt' was banned from the ASCO juke box because the canteen ladies were sick to death of hearing it. I also remember a story that was doing the rounds about the time the Duke of Edinburgh was due to visit RAAF Laverton officer's mess. Story goes they used to play a game called 'dead ants' where, when someone yelled out 'dead ants' all would drop to the floor lying on their backs with legs in the air. The last one down shouted the bar. WngCdr 'Rusty' Steel had decided to encourage the Duke to shout and organized for someone to yell out 'Dead ants.' He passed the word around. This would leave the Duke standing alone and naturally he would have to shout the bar. Unbeknown to Rusty, someone had decided it would be in poor taste to leave HRH standing there and passed the word around that when they heard the call 'Dead ants' they were to stand their ground. When the Duke entered the mess the call 'dead ants' went up and there was Rusty lying on the ground on his back, all by himself, in front of the Duke, with his legs in the air.”


We asked Frank Alley who was a Sir at Radschool during the late 60’s if he could confirm/deny Dutchy’s story about the “dead ants” episode. Frank writes:-



A naked chick - what else did you expect??



I knew Neville Blakely quite well, good bloke, I worked with him at Radschool. Re the 'dead ants' story, I don't believe HRH was involved. I never actually saw it happen at Laverton, but I was told was that a certain Wng Cdr knuckle head from Williamtown did it in the mess. Whilst on his back waving his arms and legs in the air, looking like a bloody idiot, everyone else just stood there looking bemused at his antics. The officers' mess at Laverton was a bit staid and the only fighter pilots there were test pilots, a rather serious and professional lot they were...who can blame them. One of them actually took a Mirage off a park in Melbourne after it had been deposited there by a flamed-out knuck from Williamtown. Another was a school mate of mine, Gil Moore who I believe became the first CO of the F-111 squadron at Amberley. When Gil went out on an aerobatics flight in a Canberra, everyone, including the pilots came out to watch. The other RAAF pilots were gooney drivers with ARDU.  For awhile we had the USAF U2 pilots there, none of whom were the steely blue-eyed type, very cultured and massively experienced.


Bill Fewster was one of the Gooney pilots and he flew the first aircraft (C130) into Darwin after Cyclone Tracy. Some of the blokes may remember me taking them down to the Neptune (301) that had run out of hours. Fewster had taxied it from ARDU to out the front of 1AD. The guy I flew most of my hours with was Kevin Sharpley who was just back from Viet Nam where he flew helicopters, a superb pilot who got us out of some rather dangerous situations and on occasions put us into some. As I remember, one of my Radtech students finished up working with me at ARDU, sorry, but after all those years I can't remember his first name but his surname was Jeanes.




How to clean a CAT 1. Thoroughly clean toilet bowl. 2. Lift both lids and add 1 cup of shampoo 3. Find and soothe cat as you carry him/her to the toilet 4. In one swift move, place cat in toilet, close both lids and sit on top so cat cannot escape. 5. The cat will self agitate and produce ample suds. (Ignore ruckus from inside the toilet, cat is enjoying this.) 6. Flush toilet 3 or 4 times. This provides power rinse, which is quite effective. 7. Have someone open outside door, stand as far from toilet as possible and quickly lift both lids. 8. Clean cat will rocket out of the toilet and head for the outdoors where he will air dry.     Yours Sincerely, The Dog.




VIP Fleet.


The RAAF has purchased a bunch of new aircraft for 34 Sqn which this year celebrates its 60th birthday. Unfortunately, the end of the year will also mark the end of 55 years of uniformed maintenance at the unit as the VIP fleet will shortly be maintained by Qantas, not by the blokes in ‘ralls. One of the new aircraft type for 34Sqn is the Boeing 737s business jet, which will be configured to carry 30 passengers. You can only imagine the degree of comfort inside when you compare it to a Virgin 737 which is configured to carry 180 pax. 34Sqn had an “End of an Era" function in hanger 47 at Fairbairn back in September to celebrate the 60 years, and to commiserate the closure of the maintenance section.



It’s certainly a different Air Force now compared to the one we knew, with civvies doing most of the work, and we wonder where will it all end, perhaps next they’ll get Qantas pilots to fly the things—I think I’m glad I’m out of it.



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