Australia — Distinguished RAAF Squadrons Celebrate 95th Anniversaries

Today (23rd Sep­tem­ber) three of the Roy­al Aus­tralian Air Force’s old­est and most dis­tin­guished squadrons cel­e­brat­ed their 95 th anniver­saries at RAAF Base Williamtown in NSW.

Num­bers 2, 3 and 4 Squadrons were formed dur­ing the peri­od 19 Sep­tem­ber – 16 Octo­ber 1916. The three units were imme­di­ate­ly sent to Eng­land to train as RFC units and lat­er deployed to France under the ban­ner of the Aus­tralian Fly­ing Corps (AFC) in 1917. 

Senior Aus­tralian Defence Force Offi­cer Williamtown, Air Com­modore Mel Hupfeld, DSC, said the com­bined 95 th anniver­saries of Num­bers 2, 3 and 4 Squadrons pro­vid­ed a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to cel­e­brate the rich his­to­ries of the orig­i­nal AFC units. 

Four AFC squadrons joined the British dur­ing World War One. No 1 Squadron, now based at Amber­ley in Queens­land, flew against the Turks and Ger­mans in the Mid­dle East, while Squadrons 2, 3 and 4 served on the West­ern Front between Sep­tem­ber 1917 and Novem­ber 1918. 

The Aus­tralian air­men engaged in pho­to­graph­ic recon­nais­sance, artillery spot­ting, straf­ing and bomb­ing raids on ene­my troops and posi­tions, and air to air com­bat with Ger­man aircraft. 

The lead­ing scor­er of the AFC was 24 year old Cap­tain Har­ry Cob­by from No 4 Squadron who was cred­it­ed with 29 aer­i­al vic­to­ries and award­ed the Dis­tin­guished Fly­ing Cross (DFC with two bars) and a Men­tion in Dis­patch­es (MID).

These dec­o­rat­ed squadrons have gone on to serve in a vari­ety of roles since the incep­tion of mil­i­tary avi­a­tion in Aus­tralia and con­tin­ue to serve with a great sense of pride today,” Air Com­modore Hupfeld said. 

Over the past 95 years the three units have served with dis­tinc­tion in times of peace and con­flict, includ­ing oper­a­tional ser­vice in the Pacif­ic, Mid­dle East, North Africa, South­ern Europe, Malaysia and Vietnam. 

Today, Num­ber 4 Squadron has per­son­nel deployed on oper­a­tions per­form­ing endur­ing Com­bat Con­trol duties with the Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Task Group in Afghanistan. 

Num­bers 2, 3 and 4 Squadrons are now res­i­dent at RAAF Base Williamtown, oper­at­ing in the roles of air­borne sur­veil­lance and con­trol, fight­er com­bat, com­bat con­trol and joint ter­mi­nal attack control. 

The com­bined parade and fam­i­ly day was an ele­gant cel­e­bra­tion of these his­to­ries and pro­vid­ed an oppor­tu­ni­ty for Air Force to dis­play its rich her­itage and build esprit de corps between the gen­er­a­tions,” Air Com­modore Hupfeld said. 

Air Force’s diverse his­to­ry was on dis­play at Williamtown with a 2 Squadron Wed­getail, 3 Squadron F/A‑18 Hor­nets and a 4 Squadron PC‑9 on the flight­line along side war­birds, includ­ing a Tiger Moth, Boomerang, Sabre and Mirage. 

RAAF Williamtown is proud of its rich and unique his­to­ry as the home to three of the Air Force’s most dis­tin­guished units 95 years since they were formed,” Air Com­modore Hupfeld said. 

In 2011 as the Roy­al Aus­tralian Air Force cel­e­brates its 90 th Anniver­sary, we look to the future and remem­ber those who came before us and their sac­ri­fices that con­tributed to our suc­cess as a mod­ern inte­grat­ed Air Force today.” 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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