The Association's Annual General Meeting was on Friday 28th...


The Australian War Memorial in Canberra once again reneges on...
MARCH 2001


30 SquadronBeaufighters
Jap ‘Betty’


March 2001   The Whisperer


The AGM and Barbecue held at the home of President Ralph and Joan on 19th January, was voted as one of the best functions we have held. It was great to see some of the photos that members brought along and to welcome a new member. The rain tried hard to make things difficult, but failed to dampen the spirit of the day, though it did make our hosts job much more difficult.

Once again the food was great, Ralph burns a great steak, and a very special sausage. The ladies brought along tasty salads and sweets, and Frank brought a bag of Bowen mangoes.

New member was G/ Capt Viv Reez DFC RAF (ret) as he is somewhat handicapped, his daughter Jenny acted as driver. He brought along his five meticulously detailed flying log books, which covered an amazing career in the RAF from 1936 to 1958. He flew Blenheims and Bostons from 1939 to 1945 in Europe, Malta, the Desert and Italy and was Commanding Officer of 18 RAF Squadron on two separate tours of operations.

Financial Statement for
Year 2000.

Opening Balance $1236
Income for year $1402
Expenditure $1080
Closing Balance $1558

The reasonably healthy income to December 31 is due to two factors. One the cheque we received for the painting signing, and some good contributions by members. So far I have received 64 subscriptions of this number 30 have subscribed $20 dollars or over, five have subscribed $50, and two have subscribed $65. This is a most encouraging response from a pretty small membership.

During the year we provided members with copies of videos, and publications, with no charge to the members, and it is these particular members who have responded so well.

Our budget for the coming year is $1200, so we should get through the year with reasonable comfort.


President Ralph opened the meeting, and Hon Secretary presented a joint annual report and financial statement. The current officers were nominated and appointed en bloc. Then followed a discussions on a number of matters, and agreement was reached on the following.

Program for 2001. Anzac Day Parade (no boat trip), A combined visit, with Logan RAAFA to Hart’s Flying Fighter’s Museum at Archerfield, including a luncheon at a spot yet to be confirmed, the Annual Combined Day at RAAF Amberley, and the AGM barbecue with a charge of $5 per person. Members were encouraged to introduce more associate members. Townsville member Ron Snell asked that we investigate the possibly of organizing a bus trip to RAAF Museum Point Cook, even if it meant a joint project.

The raffle was drawn and Stan Curran was the lucky winner of Beaufighter prints No 22, and its certificate.


This service is to honour 80 years of outstanding RAAF performance, and to acknowledge the dedication of the men and women who made this possible. March to commence 0930 hours and service to commence 1000hours.

Anzac Day Parade

The assembly point is the same as previous years. Right opposite Queens Gardens, and behind the Beauforts.

Vice President Bill will lead us, as President Ralph is unable to do the job. Assembly time is 1000 hours, with a march off time of 1030 hours. There is no boat trip this year.

Please advise Hon. Sec. if you intend to be there.


Raymond Smith

3263 1274

President Ralph Ind 5538 5439
V. President William O’Connor 3286 1067
Secretary Peter White 3287 5488
Committee Stan Curran 3388 6053
  Jack Chamberlain 3848 2184
  Les Turnbull 5537 7953
The Whisperer 2 March 2001



A warm welcome to all and a belated Happy New Year.

Our year started with a Barbecue and the 2000 AGM here at Joan and Ralph’s home. I am sure all who attended voted that they had a very pleasant and most enjoyable time.

All positions were declared vacant, and all previous office holders were re-elected. The response to the questionnaire was discussed resulting that there would be four functions, Anzac Day Parade (no boat trip), a joint visit to Hart’s Flying Fighters Museum at Archerfield with a luncheon, at a venue yet to be decided, The Annual Combined RAAF Amberley Day, and the 2001 AGM Barbecue to be held in January 2002. Ron Snell, our Townsville member asked that the possibility of a bus trip to RAAF Museum, Point Cook be looked in to. There were to be four issues of “Whisperer” Please help with some personal stories.

We were invited to The Aspley Modellers Club early in March, where Pres. Ralph was presented with a scale model of Bill Newton’s Boston, A28-7, in a beautiful display case, as a twin to the Beaufighter they presented us in 1999. We gave the RAAF Anniversary March, Memorial Service and Luncheon a miss, as there appeared to be no interest in this event by members. We were represented by a number of our members at the Commemoration and Dedication service at the Cleveland Cemetery for four aircrew members of 23 City of Brisbane Squadron who lost their lives in a head on collision over the area in 1942. President Ralph and Stan Curran laid wreaths.

Next came the Anzac Parade and Annual Boat Trip. We had a very small attendance to the Parade, where we were led by Vice Pres Bill O’Connor and a few odd bods joined us to help make up the numbers. The boat trip was a disaster as only three members turned up and we were joined by a 31 Squadron Vet, and his two sons As I had booked for 18 it was pretty embarrassing. As a result of this a questionnaire was sent to all members concerning the future of the Association with the results of this questionnaire to be discussed at this meeting. We received 40 responses to it.

The Memorial at Kimbe in New Britain was unveiled and dedicated on Anzac day. George Roberston who had organized the erection and memorial service there, represented the Association, and laid a wreath on our behalf. The service was attended by 19 family members of the Beaufighter and Boston crews who lost their lives in this area during 1943-1944.

A wreath was laid by George Robertson on behalf of our members, at the Bita Pika Memorial Cemetery, when the recovered remains of 30 Squadron aircrew Dick Stone and Morrie Hadwell were interred with full military honours. Pres. Ralph and I attended a

memorial Service and unveiling of Memorial Windows, at St Johns Cathedral, dedicated to American- Australian co-operation during WW II. The Gov. Gen Sir William Deane did the unveiling. Archbishop Peter Hollingsworth conducted the service.

Pres. Ralph, Stan Curran and self visited the Warplanes Museum at Caboolture, and presented them with a Model of Boston A28-7, Bill Newton’s plane, and a very large painting by John Castle titled the Great Air Race, depicting the race between a Beaufighter and a Boston at Goodenough in November 1943.

We then gave support to the Evans Head Committee who are battling to stop the Clarence Shire Council from closing the Memorial Aerodrome and use it for housing development. I was fortunate enough later in the year, to be flown to Evans Head by Associate Member Steve Kemp, where we were updated by members of the committee on the lack of progress being made. At present this looks a forlorn battle.

In early Nov. four members attended The RAAF Annual Mass at .St Aquinas Catholic Church at St Lucia. I believe this is one of the most important dates in our calendar, and would urge members to make an effort and attend each year.

Pres Ralph, Stan Curran and I made a second trip to Warplanes to present three paintings by John Castle to join other paintings by John that we had previously presented. After the presentation we were each given a flight in a restored Wirraway.

Early in November some six members were invited to The Military Workshop at Mt Gravatt to sign a Beaufighter painting, called “Ordinary Men Extraordinary Times”, where each of them was given a print, and the Association was given print No22, which is the prize for the raffle we will draw today, plus a cheque for $600.

Some eighteen members and partners attended the Annual Combined Day at RAAF Amberley on Nov. 16, where Pres Ralph firstly presented on behalf of John Castle one of John’s paintings “Passing Thunder” to Air Commodore Dave Dunlop ”. He then presented Sgt. Gregg Cannak with our shield and a personal trophy. Stan Curran then presented the PMC Officers Mess with three Beaufighter Squadron Plaques, for mounting above the bar in the mess. Stan made these plaques himself, and at no cost to the Association. The day finished with an unveiling and Memorial Service, for the New Memorial Wall erected in the Memorial Rose Garden The unveiling was carried out by the Governor of Queensland General Peter Arnisson, and the Service was conducted by our good friend , Chaplain Wing Commander Paul Goodland.

Continued on page 4

March 2001 3 The Whisperer


Continued from page 3

The Air Commodore said during his welcoming speech that as from first January , 2000, all servicing of F111 aircraft at Amberley, would be carried out by civilian contractors Our annual trophy is awarded to technical ground staff of the F111 Strike Group and from that announcement there will no longer be any technical RAAF ground staff, in the group, so it will be necessary for us to confer with the Air Commodore, and set new rules for the trophy.

We supported 31 Squadron Association (Melbourne Branch) in their fight to keep the Moorabin Beaufighter from being sold overseas. I thank all who wrote letters to the Minister asking that he would not approve an export licence to The Moorabin Air Museum There were 31 letters sent from Queensland, which was a marvellous response. I have copies of a number of these letters and they certainly were eloquent. Each member who wrote to the Minister received a reply advising that the Museum Board of Directors, as a result of a vote of their members, have voted not to sell the Beaufighter to overseas sources. This means the aircraft is safe for the present but this position could easily be changed overnight. The Government has done nothing, not even processing the application for an export licence. We must keep the pressure on them, to either declare that aircraft an Australian Historic item, or provide funding to restore existing material to a complete Beaufighter to be placed in The Australian War Museum.

I thank all of you who have helped to keep the Association alive, and .particularly Ralph and Joan and

Stan and Daisy. I also wish to thank John Castle who has been so generous to us. During this year John gave us another five framed paintings, with a request that we present them, on his behalf to whom we considered the most suitable recipients. John agreed with the recommendations made, and as you will have read earlier these presentations were made. Thank you John most sincerely.

Five years ago there was not one Memorial anywhere in Queensland dedicated to the memory of the Beaufighter Squadrons. Our members can be proud of the way this has been reversed in such a short time. There are now two Memorial Plinths, a Garden Seat with plaque, four Plaques and seven Paintings in appropriate locations in South East Queensland. We also initiated the Memorial at Kimbe in New Britain.

During the year three members passed away Ron Wardlaw, Lofty Hayes and John Farquhar. We sent condolences and cheques to The Cancer Fund, and were represented at the funerals. Our membership was 72. last year. So far this year I have had subs from 64 members. We have had two resignations, in spite of health problems I believe our membership is holding up reasonably well.

It is apparent that the “Whisperer” is well received and I thank those members who provide the personal stories that make it so popular. Please keep them coming.



I sincerely trust that all of you who attended them AGM @ BBQ enjoyed yourselves very much. I know that Joan and I did and it was good to see so many present. Peter
will be advising you elsewhere of the outcome of the business conducted at the meeting.

I must make special mention of Ron Snell’s effort in driving all the way from Townsville, which he does for many of our functions. We certainly appreciate Ron’s dedication to the Association.

A big thank you to all the ladies who provided the lovely salads and helped Joan in the kitchen. Also to Eve Turnbull for the very tasty fried onions-what sort of a barbecue would it be without them?

While the weather wasn’t the best we kept everyone dry and by the way Daisy Curran hasn’t told me the secret of how she pulled Stan’s name out of the hat during the raffle of the lovely print of M-DU in action.

Our Association member and resident artist John

Castle was suitably thanked for his generous donation of five framed paintings we referred to in the previous “Whisperer”. Thank you once again John. We were also very privileged to meet Group Captain Viv Reez DFC. Viv is now rather incapacitated, and uses a walking frame. As he lives on the Sunshine Coast his daughter came with him to the BBQ. Viv joined the RAF in 1936 and brought his log book with him-but as the TV add says-wait there’s more- he also brought a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th log book. All I can say is that made we mere mortals feel rather humble. Peter and I are hopeful that Viv might consent to give us a potted version of his wartime and other interesting experiences, so that they may be included in the “Whisperer” from time to time. e.g. he happened to mention that he had been shot down 3 times and nearly shot down by a Spitfire.I am sorry that I was not able to spend more time with Viv but I had to make sure the steak and sausages didn’t burn.

Once again I would thank Peter for his usual fine effort in organizing the AGM and my congratulations to those who consented to be office bearers for the next twelve months.

Regards, RALPH.

The Whisperer 4 March 2001


Buying a Computer

For all of us that are now at a mature age, a wonderful world has opened up, which, even if we are confined to our homes, gives us access to, and allows us to communicate with anyone or almost any place in the world by way of the Internet

Many of my friends have said to me, computers are too expensive for me, or I am too old to learn, but for those that have taken the opportunity to try, it has been a most worthwhile experience. In the 12 or so years that I have ben helping people with computers, both old and younger people, my experience has been that they are amazed how easy it is to learn, and what they can achieve by having a computer.

One of the most rewarding experiences for me has been to help a retired ex merchant seaman, who is confined entirely to a wheel chair. Jim was born in Ireland and settled in Australia just after WW2, up untill about 3 years ago he didn’t know anything about computers, but decided to give it a go. I will always remember the first morning I got him on the Internet, he was able to read the latest Belfast Times, and from then on the world opened up to him. He has now contacted old ship mates from many parts of the world, some of whom have visited him, and others he has found are now living in Australia.

So for starters let us look at the two main objections that people come up with for not having a computer, and the first is cost. There will always be a battle going on between the computer manufacturers of the world to produce the biggest and best computer, but the possibilities of development are so vast that the perfect computer is almost like a pipe dream. In considering the purchase of a computer, the first thing to do is to make a list of what you want it to do. For most people, the basic requirement would include:

(a). A word processor to enable us to write and print letters.
(b). A spreadsheet to enable us to keep financial records.
(c). Access to the Internet.

The basic computer on offer at the present time would come with an operating system, such as Windows 98 (second edition) or Windows Millennium (Windows ME) it should have 64 megabytes of memory, a hard disk of about 10 gigabytes of capacity, and fitted with a compact disk, and floppy disk drive. All these facilities should come with a computer if purchased new, and should be included if buying a second hand computer.

The newspapers are full of second hand Pentium type computers for under $500, but make sure that the person or firm selling it to you can guarantee at least a 3 month service period.

A Canon or similar printer can be purchased new for as low as $114.

You might be confused by the names given to these modern computers, such as Celeron, Pentium, Athlon, etc. these refer to the make of Central Processing Unit (Chip) used. The Celeron is a cheaper version of the Pentium chip, and for most purposes would be more than adequate for normal home use.

So when we look at the adds for a new computer we usually see Pentium III 866 or Celeron 700, this means the computer is fitted with a Pentium III chip or a Celeron chip operating at a clock speed of 866 MHz or 700 Megahertz.

A powerful new Celeron type computer can be purchased for around $1200 and this would be more than adequate for the vast majority of users. Of course the sales people will try to convince you that more powerful computers and of course more expensive computers are what you want, but in most cases this is not the case.

Buy from a proven reputable dealer who can give you local service. International quality brands such as Compaq, Hewlett Packard and IBM are currently being advertised at what I consider to be bargain prices, and any of these are first class.

I have been involved in owning and helping people to buy and operate many computers over the last 12 or so years, and I have found that the modern computer is a very reliable machine. However problems do occur, and in the vast majority of cases these are brought about by a misunderstanding of the software, owners not seeking help from the manual, or in some cases fiddling with things that are not supposed to be fiddled with.

There are also many smaller firms assembling computers in their own workshops, and these can also be bought at considerable cost saving, but make absolutely sure that they have a business established over a number of years, and are of proven reliability when it comes to staying in business. Also that they have their own service facilities manned by fully qualified personnel.

It is important when buying a computer to ascertain if service and help can be obtained at the place of purchase, as there is nothing better than dealing with a firm with proven reliability who can help you on the spot, and there is nothing more frustrating than having to send your computer back to a central city service organisation where you have no control over the effectiveness of the repairs until it is returned to you.

There are two types of desktop computers available for the home user’s, the PC and the Apple of Mac computer.

Continued on page 8

March 2001 5 The Whisperer




Target Towing and Special Duties was just that. The squadron was equipped with Beaufighters and one Dakota. It was about 1948 at Richmond. Our Unit was later renamed 30 Squadron it was a real moral booster as 30 Squadron had gained considerable fame during the 2nd World War, so we were very proud of our new name.

It was now the peacetime Air Force many personnel lived out and our working day was aligned with most civilian workers. Our normal standdown time was 1700 hours.

I well remember one evening when a few of us had to remain back to see in an overdue aircraft.

The CO was getting very anxious he was pacing up and down in front of the hangar we were all getting anxious. The pilot had radioed in at 1630 hours that he was 11 miles north west of Richmond and was on his way in. Unfortunately he then lost radio contact. He should have appeared overhead in seconds.

It was 1800 hours before he appeared overhead, an hour and a half later a Beaufighter goes a very long way in that time. Incredible that he could be so far off course. The explanation will come later.

The CO was obviously relieved, we all were. Before the pilot got out of the aircraft the CO had very serious words with the Pilot embarrassingly in the presence of the ground staff, which is just not done . Both the CO and the Pilot were highly regarded by the ground staff and we felt uncomfortable about the incident.

It wasn’t long before a similar incident happened to the CO and he came in late one evening. To save us the work of manhandling the aircraft into the hangar he committed the sinful act of taxying into the hangar. We were surprised that even the CO would do such a thing, all was going well then there was a tremendous crash. The propeller had hit chains hanging down from a Block and Tackle bits of chain were flying in all directions; some pieces were going through the hangar roof it appeared as though stars were lighting up the roof. It was a miracle no one was injured. The propeller was badly damaged, luckily at the time there were some Beaufighters waiting for disposal as scrap metal. It was easy to cover up the incident by swapping the damaged propeller with a good one. If only I could return to those days I would have had a complete Beaufighter.

At that time we had scientists with the squadron experimenting trying to make rain. I think they had some minute success but nothing to write home about. I thought it would be interesting to see them at work, so I managed to go on one of the rain making exercises. I was soon to regret the decision. The scientist was behind the pilot jumping from side to side directing the pilot to chase from cloud to cloud. There was no room for me so I went back and sat on some engine covers near the navigator. Suddenly he threw up his hands and in colourful language said he couldn’t navigate while they chased clouds all over the sky. Then he offered to exchange seats with me, great, I would at least be able to look out, he settled down on the engine covers and pulled out a Western Paperback. So this is how they make rain no wonder aircraft were coming back overdue it would have been a navigators nightmare.



The Palmalmal raid on November 4th 1943 had 30, 22, and 77 Squadrons involved, the latter as top cover. We had targets of opportunity, and Les Hastwell and I picked a house near the small headland which looked as though it was being used for wireless communications. We made two runs over the house and started back on our final run when I noticed a Boston very low, heading towards the headland. I told Len and we broke off our third run to follow the Boston which headed towards the sea.

We didn’t know whether the aircraft or a crew member had been hit. The Boston crossed the shoreline in front of the plantation and made a splash landing on a reef, some 60 to 70 yards out. We circled over the Boston watching the crew struggle out of their cockpits into the waist high water, and begin to wade towards the shore.

We expected to see some movement from the timber line, where the Japs were in camp, but it kept quiet. The Boston crew, on reaching the shore started to run along the beach, so we kept between them and the camp, with Len watching the crew and I kept a watch on the timber line. After about some 500 or 600 yards the crew angled up into the timber, and we lost sight of them from that point. We just brushed the tree tops back down to the beach to a point opposite the Boston sitting perched on the reef..

Rather than give the Japs a chance to use the Boston as a decoy, we made two strafing runs on it, and we saw it settle down into deep water. We turned back to see if we needed a third run, but we couldn’t move in any direction as the Japs had us tied up with heavy ground fire.I thought we were the next one for the scrub, but I looked up, (I don’t know if I had my hands in supplication or not) and at about 1000 feet above us

Continued on page 11

The Whisperer 6 March 2001




Group Captain Cyril (CY) Arthur Greenwood died on Saturday 10th April 1999, a few weeks before the 50th Anniversary of the end of the Berlin Airlift in which he commanded the Australian Detachment in 1948 & 1949.

Cy’s role in the Berlin Airlift was one of the highlights in a long and distinguished career. The airlift was instigated after Josef Stalin blockaded West Berlin in a bid to force the withdrawal of 6500 British. American and French troops to ensure control over West Berlin.

Along with crews from United States, France, South Africa and New Zealand, the Australian detachment flew supplies into Berlin to ensure it’s 2.5 million citizens did not starve or freeze to death. The aircrews flew 24 hours a day , in treacherous weather, along a 30 kilometre- wide corridor for nearly 14 months. In all the Australian detachment of 57 crew flew 2062 missions, 7030 tons of cargo and 6964 evacuees. In recognition of this remarkable effort, Cy, as Commanding Officer received the Order of the British Empire.

Born in East Melbourne, Cy had joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1939 and later qualified as a flying instructor, on the Bristol Beaufighter. In 1942 he was posted to 31 Squadron at Coomalie Creek, South of Darwin. This Beaufighter Squadron was formed to defend Darwin and make advanced attacks on enemy positions in Timor and the various island groups between Timor and New Guinea.

In late April 1943, having flown numerous missions involving low level formation flights of more than 1600 kilometres over water. Cy encountered eight Japanese aircraft and was shot down. Cy’s navigator Sergeant Colin Thomson was killed and Cy was injured. He floated in shark infested waters around the Aru Islands for more than eighteen hours. After finally getting ashore, he was captured by the Japanese and transported to Ofuna, and later to Ashio in Japan. He spent two and a half years in these POW camps and was reduced to 35 kilograms before being released when the war ended..

After the war Cy was posted to a transport squadron and went back to Japan several times, flying in post war re-building supplies. This was followed by his posting to 36 Transport Squadron and command of the Australian Detachment to the Berlin Airlift. In mid 1950s he was posted on exchange for two years, flying with the US Air Force. After returning to Australia he commanded 10 Squadron in Townsville during which time he was awarded the Air Force Cross and, perhaps ironically, a commendation from the Japanese Government for leading a mission that saved a group of Japanese fishermen after a cyclone.

In 1961 he led a detachment to collect the RAAF’s first Neptunes and subsequently flew the lead aircraft (No 271) from the United States to Australia in early March 1962. Cy then spent his final two years in the RAA as second in command at RAAF Base Richmond NSW. He retired at the age of fifty in December 1965, having attained the rank of Group Captain. For the next fifteen year’s his aviation career continued with TAA as superintendent of the flight training centre at Essendon. This involved training TAA pilots, Air hostesses and other staff, many of whom are still flying today during the period when TAA operated Douglas DC9s and Boeing 727s. He maintained his contact with the RAAF taking on the role of president of the Mess Committee, and being president of the Air Pilot’s and Navigators Guild.

In the 1980s and early 1990s in retirement he turned his attention and considerable energy to sailing and learning the necessary skills to race in numerous ocean yacht races, including the Melbourne to Davenport. Any one who sailed with Cy can attest to his commitment to the sport, his love of working as part of a team under pressure and to his great capacity for late night story telling. Married to Mary Simmons , a nurse in the RAAF in 1948. Mary became one of the first hostesses with Australian National Airways. In 1954 their first child Simon, was born and in 1958 Curtis was born.

Cy was charismatic and disciplined and understood and lived by principles of honour and duty. He was a great raconteur, keeping listeners riveted with anecdotes of his wartime exploits and flying stories. A consistent source of great strength to his family and friends, and a good and much loved father.

From Jack West.

31 Squadron Beaufighter No.

by John Castle

March 2001 7 The Whisperer


Continued from page 8

The PC or personal computer is the one first developed by IBM and has been developed using the Microsoft operating systems such as DOS and later Windows.

The Mac has its own different operating system. The terms in common use since computers became a household item can be confusing, so the following may be helpful to understand the basics.

A computer consists of hardware and software.


(a). The computer itself which is housed in either a desktop, or a tower type case. The desktop case, which was the norm with older computers sits horizontally on the desk, the tower case sits vertically and is very often placed under the desk to conserve desktop room.

(b). The monitor or screen, much like a television set, where the work in progress can be viewed.

(c). The keyboard or mouse, both of which are used to feed information into the computer.

(d). A printer, which allows the work to be printed out.

(e). A modem which allows the computer to communicate with other computers through telephone
connection, by optic cable, or in the latest case by satellite.


This includes an operating system, such as Microsoft Windows, which gives the computer a set of operating instructions, and programs which are specially designed for specific purposes, such as word processors, spreadsheets, data bases, games etc.

For most household type use a program such as Microsoft Works which includes a spreadsheet, a word processor , a database, and a communications program is ideal. When buying a computer make sure that a registered copy of a the latest operating system such as Windows 98 or Windows Millenium, plus an integrated program such as Microsoft Works is included in the price of the machine, otherwise it is very expensive to buy these programs separately.

Most computers are advertised using the name of their computer chip or central processing unit, and although there are several makers of these, the most common are Intel, who make the Pentium and Celeron chips, and IBM who make the AMD chip.

These are given numbers such as the Pentium III 700, which means that it is the 3rd Pentium series that Intel has produced and the chip operates at a clock speed

of 700 Mega hertz per second. The earliest Pentiums operated at 60 Mhz, and models are now coming out which operate in excess of 1 Giga hertz, per second. The Celeron chip operates at similar clock speeds but is a cheaper version of the Pentium. For the majority of household type computers the Celeron or the AMD although cheaper than the Pentiums are adequate for
most purposes.


To be continued


There are only two things in life to worry about.
You are either rich or poor
If you are rich, you have nothing to worry about
If you are poor there are still two things to worry
You are either well or ill.
If you are well, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
If you are ill you still have two things to worry about.
You are either going to get better, or you’re not.
If you are going to get better, you have nothing to
worry about.
If you are still not well you have two things to worry
If you are going up you have nothing to worry about.
If you are going down, you will be so long shaking
hands with
old friends, you won’t have time to worry

From Charlie King.


The Whisperer 8 March 2001



It all began several days ago, when two Beaufighters did a strike job on New Britain with two Bostons from 22 Squadron, who had a dozen new kites, which they reckoned were faster than Beaufighters. Coming back from the job Arthur Thomson/Peter White, in a19-137, raced one of the Bostons flat out for a short stretch, but then Arthur throttled back and the Boston absolutely forged ahead. The 22 Squadron boys had been holding this over our heads for quite a bit. They were walking around down at the strip with their noses in the air, and so on.

We became a bit brassed off with this and so we challenged them to a race. At 1700 hours one day a Boston and a Beaufighter (with Bill Boulton our Squadron Leader) took off. I should explain here what our boys did with our Beaufighter beforehand. They absolutely stripped it bare: they hotted up the engine: they changed the spark plugs: they sand-papered the airscrews: took out the entire armory from it: they put a minimum of petrol into the tanks, and didn’t even carry the observer. Boulton didn’t quite realise what our boys were doing, and he took two of the ground-staff up with him .Our squadron had issued a challenge to the Boston squadron, no holds barred. Then it was really on with a vengeance. F/Lt Mike Burrows dashed around and raised about 200 pounds as a bet, that the 30 Squadron Beaufighter would beat the 22 Squadron Boston. Our troops worked on A19-54 from early in the morning, waxing and polishing it, fabricating over the gun ports and dents, removing cannons, ammunition and un-needed petrol and improving the Beau in any way they possibly could to get an extra knot or two. Keith M’Carthy, Bill Boulton’s observer was not carried. The troops are as exited about it as the aircrews are.

Tuesday, 2nd November 1943, my Diary again ‘My God! It came off today. What a race! The Melbourne cup would just be a back-water little race compared to this battle of the knots. Many more horses were engaged, 6500 horse-power to be exact, but that’s wrong, for such was the interest all over the island, that 77 Squadron, a Kittyhawk Squadron, decided to enter a Kittyhawk, making it a grand total of 7700 horsepower. The 77 boys treated the Kitty as both Beau and Boston had been treated. Everything but the engine was taken out, and the aircraft was waxed and polished and all the holes fabricated over. Skeleton crews only, were left down at the strip, and on alert, in case of a Jap operation. All others moved up to the camp at about 1630 hours to gain the advantage of viewing the race as far out as possible because of the camp’s altitude, and because we had rigged up a broadcast system through the “Abortinator “(The camp’s address system) The Beaufighter took off first, then the Kitty then the Boston. They then flew gently out to sea, and by the time they reached an island beyond the D’Entrecasteaux

Group, to the north-west of Goodenough Island, they were all levelled out, as pre-arranged. My vantage point was with the rest of the air crew in chairs outside the mess, which overlooked the whole camp, and the strip from am altitude of about 600 feet above sea level. Excitement was at an incredibly high pitch. Ground staff were gathered around the camp in small excited bunches. Every member of the squadron loves his beautiful Beaufighter. I should explain here that the observer plane was to be another Kittyhawk in which was Wing Commander W.S. “Wilf” Arthur, who was Commanding Officer of 75 Kittyhawk Squadron, and was a very, very famous fighter pilot. The four aircraft were out of sight to the naked eye, but the binoculars still had them. They turned around, formed line abreast at the starting point at this D’Entrecasteaux island and we heard the Wing Commanders voice over the system “They’re off to an excellent start”. Incidentally the distance from the start to the finish was between 25 to 30 miles. At first we could only see a dot on the water. This dot gradually separated itself into three pin-heads. Peter Fisher had the glasses on them and yells “The Kitty is on the left, the Boston is in the middle, and the Beau is on the right.”From our angle we couldn’t tell who was leading. At about five miles from the Goodenough coast we could see what was cooking, and believe me pandemonium broke loose amongst our camp, the air crew cheering loudest for the Beau, which was just, and only just, ahead of the Boston, with the Kittyhawk not very far behind. It was glorious and inspiring. I don’t think I will ever forget the sight or the excitement. They were absolutely hurtling along, right
on the water. As they reached the coast they pulled their noses up to get over the trees, and a split second later they flashed over the camp, with very little between them. After a little of the noise had died down the Wing-Co’s voice said “ The Beau has won by a hundred yards from the Boston, with the Kittyhawk a further four hundred yards behind”. A surprising performance from the Kittyhawk, by the way. Wild mad cheering broke loose again, this time interspersed with good natured derisive cheers directed at 22 Squadron’s camp, most of them positively rude and uncomplimentary, about both the Boston and the Kittyhawk and those associated with them. The pilot’s then beat the hell out of 22’s camp, the 22 strip, and everything in general, likewise the Kittys. they went through aerobatics, and it was a fantastic atmosphere

Just to give you some idea of the speeds in those days, and oh we thought it was fantastic. The Beaufighter had indicated on it’s dials 272 knots, that’s sea miles per hour which computes at a temperature of 30 degrees Centigrade to 248 knots, which is 326 miles per hour, which is sure burning up the miles.

Editor’s Note. This story is from the Memoirs of Eric George Drury. No 401924 Ex F/Lt RAAF.

March 2001 9 The Whisperer


Stan’s Other Page



This began to be a short story about an almost forgotten aeroplane, a Westland Widgeon 111 built by the Westland factory at Yeoville, Somerset in England it had quite a few new concepts in aircraft production the Widgeon 111 was powered by an 80 HP Cirrus engine the forerunner of a series of famous aircraft engines. No doubt that doesn’t jog many memories but if I tell you that one particular Widgeon was named the “Kookaburra” it may ring a faint bell to some.

I soon realised that to tell the full story I would need to include a lot of background information.

When I was seventeen
Most of this story was old and mellow
Now that I’m old and mellow
The story is evergreen

After World War 1 there were trained pilots seeking fame and fortune in the new field of aviation. Ross and Keith Smith collected 10,000 pound for making the first flight from England to Australia a very nice sum equivalent to the buying power of about half a million dollars to-day. They were world famous and still are to-day.

Charles Kingsford Smith later Sir Charles had been a war time pilot he wasn’t long at the front before he was shot down and injured, he was awarded the Military Cross and repatriated to Australia and given a heroes welcome. “Smithy” as he was known was a great party goer, he could play most musical instruments by ear and was the life of the party.

In 1920 Smithy was flying as a stunt man for Universal Films in California. He let it be known that his ambition was to fly the Pacific Ocean from America to Australia. Something like going to Mars to-day. The Editor of a newspaper took him seriously enough to publish his photo in a newspaper with the caption “Captain Charles Kingsford Smith war ace, will try to fly the Pacific”. Smithy was only 23 at that time, he had brief periods instructing at a flying school in England then with Diggers Aviation in Australia then joined a new airline in W.A.

Major Norm Brearly later Sir Norman started up West Australian Airways the object was to connect the remote places from Perth such as Geralton, Derby, Carnarvon and Broom a very fertile area at the time for airways. Brearly purchased six Bristol Tourers for the airline.

Notable among the pilots besides Smithy was Keith Anderson. Anderson had had a remarkable war record he was an “Ace” having shot down five enemy aircraft

and shared in four others. He also had the incredible amount of 600 hours flying experience.

Henry Smith Hitchcock “Bob” also deserves note, He started his working life as an apprentice bricklayer, left for hairdressing but his real forte was engineering although he wasn’t formally trained he had worked with
a few engineering firms. He had a reputation to be outstanding in resourcefulness as a mechanic; he was also a war veteran and had been wounded at Gallipoli for which he had been awarded a small war pension.

Hitchcock was also employed with West Australian Airways.

West Australian Airways had a shaky start on their first day of operations one of the Bristols crashed killing both the pilot and navigator.

While working together Smithy, Anderson and Hichcock became very friendly and came to the understanding that they would form a team to fulfil Smithy’s dream of flying the Pacific. There was one small problem they needed an aeroplane and considerable amount of money, they had neither.

During 1924 West Australian Airways made nice profit. The pilots led by Smithy made a demand for higher pay, They were already getting 600 pound a year three times the average wage and working sometimes only two or three days a week. Their demands were refused. After some argument Smithy and Anderson left.

They had a number of moneymaking schemes including flying in New Guinea.

At Canarvon a garage was for sale they purchased it and formed the Gascoyne Transport Co. and were doing well for awhile but with poor paperwork and uncollected bills they nearly went to the wall. Smithy’s brother-in-law was recruited to take over the management. The business thrived and in a short while they were operating six trucks.

They sold the business for a tidy profit. Anderson wrote to them advising that the Bristols were for sale. They purchased two from Norm Brierly.

The Bristols were used for a passenger service and gaining publicity. Then they formed an inter state flying service.

About that time C.T.P.Ulm came on the scene. He was a business man with dynamic drive and some legal training. He made a considerable impression on Smithy who probably recognised in him the publicity man he wanted to fulfil his dream to fly the Pacific.

Ulm was another veteran who had been wounded at Gallipoli he had some flying experience but was not a licensed pilot. Ulm and Smithy became close friends.

The Whisperer 10 March 2001


It was Ulm who suggested that they should attempt a record trip around Australia to gain publicity and raise funds before announcing the Pacific Flight.

Ulm arranged the details Keith Anderson was furious when he discovered that Ulm would be in the co-pilots seat instead of him.

Smithy and Ulm left Mascot but only got as far as Boolaroo near Newcastle where they were forced down
with engine trouble.

They returned to Sydney by train. They took off again in the other Bristol obviously Anderson had been reduced to a subordinate role

Ulm had done his work well all the newspapers had been alerted, he had arranged to send reports at all stops. I was a small boy at the time I remember it well. Aviation was the topic of conversation among the adults. My mother read the newspaper to me every morning it was a very exciting time.

Anderson had probably accepted the subordinate role because Ulm was making all the business arrangements. He had secured for Anderson a sponsorship from George.A.Bond a hosiery manufacturer to pay expenses. Part of the deal though was that one of Bonds employers Charles Vivian would be included in the crew as photographer.

Smithy and Ulm had a few slight setbacks on the flight around Australia but in the main they had a dream run and broke all existing records. They were welcomed back at Mascot by a large crowd including The Prime Minister Jack Lang. In contrast Anderson, Hitchcock and Vivian paled into insignificance. Anderson had tried desperately to beat Smithy’s time even by taking some foolhardy risks but finally they took four days longer.

When they arrived at Perth Anderson was surprised to read in the papers that Smithy and Ulm had booked their passage to America . Anderson was not included. Angry telegrams went back and forth. It seemed Anderson and Hitchcock were being left out of the Pacific flight. The arguments must have subsided because Anderson joined Smithy and Ulm on the S.S.Tahiti en route for America although it was obvious that Anderson was the junior partner.


58th Anniversary Memorial Service. of
The Battle of the Bismarck Sea.

The Service was held at RAAF Base Richmond on Thursday 1st March 2001. The service was arranged by 30 Squadron Association, who invited ex-members of all the RAAF Squadrons that took part in this great victory, to attend. There was an excellent attendance, some 106 members, plus invited guests, senior RAAF Officers, both retired and serving and their partners.

Chaplain S/Ldr Cameron Smith conducted the service in a packed out Chapel, and then all moved out to the Wall of Remembrance where the Memorial roll was read out, the ode recited and the Last Post played by an RAAF Bugler.

Following the Service a luncheon was held in the Officer’s Mess where President Fred Cassidy welcomed members and guests. Air Vice Marshall David Rogers RAAF (rtd) responded on behalf of all. During his welcoming speech President Fred advised that the Government had decreed the Each Anniversary of the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, to be an official remembrance

To finish the day there was astatic display CI32 aircraft of different models, right up to the latest received by the 37 Squadron. We were fortunate enough to be shown over the latest model by two very obliging pilots who were doing their conversion to this type.

Palmalmal Splashdown - Continued from page 6

was a Kittyhawk in a dive. At first I wondered if it had been hit, but then I noticed the tracer coming from his wings, and all of a sudden the ground fire that was threatening us, stopped.

We then returned very smartly to our first target. When the overall attack was over, we returned to our base. At the de-briefing we reported one Boston lost. We did not know who the crew members were or if they got safely away. It was some three months later that we heard about them being picked up by a US submarine, with the aid of Australian Coastwatchers Don West.


March 2001 11 The Whisperer



Was it a fact or was it a myth?

The so called “Brisbane line” became a public issue when Eddie Ward, the member for East Sydney, accused the previous Menzies government of having a plan to abandon northern Australia to the Japanese should they invade from the north. This was a view held by many in north Queensland during World War II.

Darryl McIntyre, author of the book “Townsville at War 1942” states in his book that the Brisbane did not exist. General Douglas MacArthur stated in his reminisces that the Australian General Staff planned to defend Australia on a line of defence that followed the Darling river from Brisbane to Adelaide.

In January 2001 Dallas Goodwin from Mt Isa spoke about the remains of concrete tank traps that he visited. They were used to span a bottleneck in the Clarence Rive Valley east of Tenterfield in northern New South Wales, in an area known as Paddy’s Flat. The concrete pillars are still visible and beside the river near the crossing. Dallas indicated that this was part of the “Brisbane” defence plan. Dallas also described some well known tank traps just north of Tenterfield on the Bald Rock road. They consist of log pillars and a concrete wall in the valley. They are sign posted on the road and again Dallas indicated that they formed part of the “Brisbane” defences.

Editors Note.

This was an item I found on the web, from an American address recently. As far as I remember there was never any doubt about the plan to defend Australia from a line west of Brisbane. In fact when serving with 23 Squadron, based at Archerfield, in 1940, the Squadron was given the task to take aerial photographs of some seven proposed aerodrome sites, from Archerfield,, west to Thargomindah. Most of this was done by Nicki Barr and Jack Hullin. Binkie Davis and I did some of the work.

It was not much later that construction started on large bomber strips, at Leyburn, Cecil Plains, Brymaroo and Charleville.These strips surely were not constructed to carry the fight to the Japanese to stem their advance at that time. The strips exist today.

Eddie Ward did challenge Menzies about the cover up and Menzies denied the existence of such a plan. Surely the existence of so many large bomber strips in this area is concrete evidence that what MacArthur wrote of such a plan was correct.

Peter White

The Israeli Air Force

In 1948 IAF agents in Britain purchased six Beaufighters from a company which had bought them from the RAF stocks. The aircraft had not been taken care of for some time and were devoid of their essential avionics, navigation gear and guns, and an extensive overhaul was required. BY the time the Beaufighters were ready to leave Britain for Israeli the British Government had become aware of Israeli attempts to acquire weapons locally. As an arms embargo had been imposed on opposing sides in the Israeli War of Independence, they were to be smuggled out of Britain. Under the pretext of shooting of a World War II film, 4 Beaufighters(one had crashed, while another had been cannibalized for spares) took off in front of the director, and the filming “crew”a nd never returned. By the time the British authorities woke up to what was happening, the aircraft were somewhere over the Mediterranean, on their way to Israel. From Britain the Beaufighters flew to Corsica and on to an airfield the Yugoslav government had allowed IAF to operate from. From there they were flown to Ramat David air Base, where they joined the 103rd Bomber and Transport Squadron.

During the first weeks of their operation, the Beaufighters were employed on pilot training missions, during which one crash landed and taken out of service. On October 18th 1948 the aircraft flew their first combat mission when a pair attacked the Egyptian Air Base at El-Arish, destroying a number of aircraft and hangars. Although one of the beaufighters was damaged during the attack and the third aircraft was not yet airworthy, the remaining Beaufighter nonetheless continued to fly attack missions against the Egyptians on the southern front.

On the morning of 19th October, it was sent to assist the Israeli navy in battles against Egyptian supply convoys when it encountered an Egyptian Hawker Fury. Aware that the Beaufighter stood little chance in a dogfight, the pilot jettisoned his bomb load and put his Beaufighter into a dive. Followed by the Hawker Fury, he pulled up in time to see the fighter crash into the sea. The next day, in an attack by the Beaufighter pair on an Egyptian stronghold one of the Beaufighters was shot down and its crew, including the Beaufighter

Section Commander, who had downed the Hawker Fury, were captured and murdered by Egyptian soldiers.

The last remaining Beaufighter continued to take part in various IDF operations. On 28th October it participated in fighting against the Syrians and Iraqis in the Galilee and on 23rd December in another attack on the El-Arish Air Base With the war’s end this sole remaining Beaufighter became a training aircraft. It crashed on one of its training sorties and although returned to service, it was nevertheless retired later. From the Web.

The Whisperer 12 March 2001