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May/June, 2021

May/June 20/21 Newsletter  

On ANZAC day, due to COVID restrictions a ceremony and service were organized and conducted at our hangar in Werribee. This was well attended and appreciated by members and visitors. 

The afternoon was concluded by an engine run of a Pratt & Whitney engine from our B-24 Liberator. It was commented on that this was a very appropriate way to conclude our event.  

Lest we forget

Hangar news

The proposed Anson project arrival open day, planned for 30 May was postponed due to the State-wide COVID lockdown. The open day will be rescheduled when an appropriate COVID-free time is visible.

Committee News

8 May Meeting

Discussion took place on the following items. Surplus parts disposal, Hangar 1 progress, a promotional hangar tour by drone to be investigated, improvement and commonality of external signage, invitation to exhibit at the 2021 Avalon Airshow was received and accepted.  

19 June Meeting

The committee meeting report for 19 June will be included in the next newsletter.  

Hangar 1 relocation progress as at 9 June 2021

On-site soil sampling work was observed during lockdown on our area around hangar 2.  

This is the first physical evidence of the plan to relocate and restore hangar 1.    

Liberator, work in progress

Work is continuing off-site on front turrets 2 and 3 plus the manufacture of nose undercarriage door location items. Steady progress is being made.  

Front turret 2

Nose u/c door location item 
Oxford work in progress

Forthcoming events

It is that time of year again when our biggest event occurs!!! 

That is: Membership renewal time. 

2020 was a very lean year for our normal external sourced income streams of visitors, events and donations. This we understand and have managed our financial side with professionalism. However, with the shift to hangar 1 our expenditure will obviously increase due to unscheduled expenses. 

If you have not already done so, please activate the renewal form promptly and, if possible, add a donation, or a promised sponsorship would be greatly appreciated. 

If paying by EFT, please include your name against the transaction. 

Of interest 1

Photograph of accommodation and flight crew located near hangar 2 on Werribee Fields Satellite aerodrome 

Night flying with Airspeed Oxfords and Avro Ansons commenced in June 1942. The YMCA provided a mobile canteen for personnel on duty during night flying from August.   

Of (much more) interest 2

These two photos are of particular interest as they may have to be re-enacted for removal and refitment of the wing centre section during our move to hangar 1. 

Prior to this, the two outer wings will also have to be removed then refitted. 

This is going to involve some heavy logistics, detailed planning, skilled operators, substantial financial outlay and tight timing.

B-24 Veterans’ transcriptions

We have recently received a collection of official transcriptions in relation to some the B-24 veterans who have worked or contributed to the restoration of our Liberator. These transcriptions were provided by the History and Heritage Branch – Air Force, Air Force Headquarters, in conjunction with some of the records held in our archives. 

The documents below will be made visible and available to visitors and interested parties in the near future. 

Letter to Keith Schilling re Liberator, Journey of a lifetime re Russell Rogers, WOFF Nat Eichler, Flt Lt Bill Mackie, LAC Vern Roberts and WOFF Harold Mac Ford.

Information requested.

Can you help?

 One of our members, W.B. (Bill) Kirkwood of the History and Heritage Branch, Air Force is keen to obtain a loan of editions 18-43 of the above publication. These will be copied electronically and will complete the collection and stories included in the publication. 

The items will be returned to you at the completion of copying. 

During its ‘Hey day’ this journal had a distribution list of several thousand, so hopefully editions 18-43 exist in some forgotten corner. 

If you can help, please contact Dave Miller and we will contact Bill for his action.

Gone but not forgotten

Crew of ‘Penelope II”: (A72-58 of 21 Sqdn)

Back row: Ox Ogden (Engineer), replaced John Harvey, Ken Marriott (mid upper gunner), * Bob Butler (Pilot), Gordon Cartwright (Radio operator), Ron “Bluey” Schmidt (Bomb aimer), Gordon Hunter (Navigator), Arthur Phillips (coPilot).  

Front row: Stan Riley (Tail gunner), Wal “Dasher” Regan (Nose gunner),* Eric Clark (Waist gunner), Walter “Shorty” Mc Grath (Ball gunner). 

* Bob Butler and * Eric Clark were instrumental in the foundation and establishment of our organization as it exists today. This photograph is historically significant as it is the earliest record we have of their RAAF service.  

Something different

Our Vice-President was in Manila recently when he decided to look at our hangar security cameras through his smart phone. To his surprise, he noted a strange truck in our compound. Smart phone again to our committee members to check it out.

Luckily it was a contractors’ truck doing environmental checks for Melbourne Water.  

Late news

We are hoping that we shall be able to re-

the hangar for our volunteers and visitors from Tuesday 29 June with strict COVID rules in place.  

President’s message

I hope you are all staying warm and well during midwinter. At least the hours of daylight will lengthen from now on! 

During the last couple of months we have experienced both highs and low. After making wonderful progress in acquiring parts to rebuild an Avro Anson we had to postpone our Open Day to celebrate that because of a COVID lockdown. While work related to the relocation of hangar 1 has been able to continue, we have had to postpone meetings with some stakeholders. While our Committee has continued to function, we have had to close the hangar to volunteers and visitors during successive lockdowns of metropolitan Melbourne. I do hope there can be a return to ‘normality’ before long, as we miss the opportunity for consistent work in the hangar for volunteers and the occasions when we can welcome visitors – and return visitors – to the hangar. We shall continue our efforts to interpret quickly how changing COVID restrictions apply to museums and to ensure that current information about hangar opening hours is on our website and Facebook page. We look forward to welcoming you back. Best wishes, Lyn Gorman, President

For Gabrielle

To encourage the kids to wash their hands, the principal put a sign over the hand basins in the toilets that said THINK

The next day someone had written next to it: THOAP.  

Church howlers (1)  

For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs. 

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’. Come early and listen to our choir practice.