Vol 9

Page 2

Next reunion - 27 April 2003.   Brisbane.


Geoff Chapman.


Unfortunately we have to inform you of the sad passing of Geoff Chapman who was killed in that tragic aircraft accident near Cairns a few days after the reunion back in March. Geoff was on 19 Appy, and was at the recent Radschool Reunion in Brisbane. He worked for Telstra, and left the Sunday morning “sick parade” early as he had to catch a plane back to FNQ to get back to work.. Geoff Mayhew was kind enough to pass this info on to us so we could let you all know. Geoff says he stood next to Geoff Chapman at the RAAF anniversary ceremony on the Sunday (1April). and in only a couple of days poor Geoff had been killed.


Our sincerest condolences go to his family.



It is proper to refer to your best friend as "a total bastard". By contrast, your worst enemy is "a bit of a bastard".



We’re back!  It’s been a long time, and a lot has happened since our last edition, and for that we can only apologize. The recent HIH debacle had a lot to do with yours truly’s financial state, and the firm that we were closely associated with and which owned the bloody big printer that used to churn out this little newsletter with ease had to give up all its assets to “the man”. That whole episode left us with other things on our mind (survival for one) so the newsletter was put on hold, but we’ve found alternative uses for our efforts, and a bloke who once owned a red Datsun SSS now works for a mob that also has a bloody big printer—so here we are.



Some of the crew that toured Amberley in the pink bus on the Saturday. 

We must thank W/Off Alan Goulding who gave up his day off to show us around.



Times are not quite so good for a lot of other blokes either. Way back, a lot left the Royal air line for Uncle Reg’s and others associated with, only to wake up one morning late last year to discover that the unthinkable had happened. Just how could something so big and shiny and an integral part of the landscape stop. It’s amazing!! We can only wish the blokes well, and hope that Uncle Reg and the blue eyed girls get going again—soon.


For those that attended our last reunion, now a long time ago, we thank you for coming and for making it such a pleasurable event. We’re now planning the next one, for 2003, and which we hope to hold over the 4 days, 25-28 April, once again in Brisbane. This period will allow us to fit into the Brisbane Anzac day celebrations, starting with the march through the streets on the 25th, so start planning your leave etc, but more of that in later editions.



Geoff Renshaw in the F111C electronic systems section, and not an AVO or scope iron in sight.



One of the highlites of the reunion was the Saturday trip to Amberley. A bunch of us boarded the little pink bus in the morning and spent the day touring the base, and what an eye-opener it was. These days a lot of maintenance work is done by civvies who work the benches along-side the regular RAAF blokes, and even though we didn’t get to talk to any of the current RAAF blokes, we think that it would be difficult working in that environment (Remember the days of the “week-end warriors”). Enforcing discipline would be a real bitch. Kev Stapleton for instance, was heard to say he couldn’t believe the state of the floors that many years ago he’d worried to death stuck at one end of a 12” polisher. Friday arvo clean ups have long gone, or so it seemed. We wonder if the Wednesday arvo sporty is still round.



Broughton and Benneworth in the Airman’s Mess at Amberley, can you believe it, arm chairs, coffee tables, soft drink fountains, Mr Whippy machine—Sizzler, at your heart out…...



Some of the present day conditions were amazing. None of us could get over the changes to the old Airman’s Mess. Long gone are the RAAF bait layers, replaced now by civvy chefs, all very polite and respectful — “what would you like sir? the fricassee of chicken”, or “how would you like your fish done sir, grilled or poached????” Gone was the old mixed grill that was staple fare all those years ago. We were treated to a midday meal that could not have been bettered at a commercial family restaurant anywhere, though we reckon it would now be damn near impossible to call at the back of the mess on a Saturday morning with a six pack and get kitted out with enough food for a week-end bar-b-q for 100. Pity….


It was a little sad for those that had spent a lot of their younger lives at Amberley and with such fond memories of what was once their “home” to see it in today’s climate, but that’s progress. Perhaps the blokes that work there today will tour the base in 30 years time and also get a shock. Perhaps. It didn’t seem like it could be called “home” though.



Graeme Benthien, who travelled over from Perth for the reunion,

with the restored Boston Bomber at the Amberley museum.



Amberley has it’s own aircraft museum, with an old Boston Bomber completely restored, along with a Catalina, Mirage and Sabre at various stages of “being put back together” as well as other bits and pieces of old aeroplane stuff. After having looked at and climbed into several of the old timers,  you get a feel for the “guts” the blokes must have had that flew in them all those years ago. The rear gunner of the Boston had one helluva lonely life stuck down the back in his tiny little cubby hole and you can only imagine the degree of terror some of the blokes that flew in them would have experienced while under fire.




Some of the crew that made the Saturday night get-together at the Bookies Club such an enjoyable evening.




A happy Bill Langton at the Reunion’s Saturday night “do” after winning one of the much sought after prizes.


Of course, a trip to Amberley would not be complete without a beer in the Sgt’s Mess, and after our eye-opening tour of the base, Alan Goulding shepherded us all into the Snake Pit for a “coupla” and a bit of a sing-song with John Broughton on the piano. Then, after buying the obligatory bottle of Sgt’s Mess port as a memento (and we bet most are still unopened), it was back onto our little pink bus and back to Brisbane for the evening’s get together which once again was held at the Qld Book-makers Club. The venue and service were excellent, with an open area for those that wanted a “breather”. More than 100 had a great night, with plenty of food and drink, though, unfortunately, the “freebies” ran out a bit early. We’ll look at that for next time. The recent reunion included a buffet dinner instead of the “nibblies” we included the previous year—we think the dinner won hands down, so that will be a fixture. Once again, John Broughton did one helluva job officiating and kept the night rolling along. We’ve booked him for 2003, and with a bit of luck, we can make him a fixture too.



(L-R)   Joe Ross (now Mayor of Redlands Shire, Qld), Mick Nicholls, Geoff Renshaw and

W/Off Alan Goulding in front of Chloe in the Sgt/s Mess, Amberley.



We hope, now that the dust has finally settled, we can get back to regular editions of the newsletter—but we need your help. If you’ve got any photos, news items etc,   please send them in.




If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.




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