Ian Stewart ROSS

Poppy

ROSS, Ian Stewart

Service Number: 18839
Enlisted: 7 October 1940
Last Rank: Flying Officer
Last Unit: No. 617 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Camperdown, Victoria, 28 March 1920
Home Town: Alphington, Darebin, Victoria
Schooling: South Melbourne State School and South Melbourne Technical School
Occupation: Fitter and Turner/Motor Mechanic
Died: Killed in Action (flying battle), (off the coast) Bergen, Norway, 12 January 1945, aged 24 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Runnymede (Air Forces) Memorial, Surrey, England commemorates aircrew listed as Missing - Panel Number 283
Tree Plaque: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Runnymede Air Forces Memorial
Show Relationships

World War 2 Service

7 Oct 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman, SN 18839, 1 Personnel Depot RAAF (Melbourne)
6 Nov 1940: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2, SN 18839, 1 Aircraft Depot (Laverton)
10 Feb 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2, SN 18839, RAAF Point Cook
7 Dec 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2, SN 18839, No. 1 Initial Training School
25 Apr 1942: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Leading Aircraftman, No. 1 Initial Training School
1 Dec 1943: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer
1 Jun 1944: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, No. 57 Squadron (RAF)
12 Jan 1945: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 18839, No. 617 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45

Ian Ross

Stephen please contact martinwhitcombe@btinternet.com

The Lancasters By Audrey Grealy

The Lancasters by Audrey Grealy (sung to 'Waltzing Matilda')

Where are the bombers, the Lancs on the runways
Snub-nosed and roaring and black-faced and dour,
Full up with aircrew and window and ammo
And dirty great cookies to drop on the Ruhr?

Where are the Pilots, the Navs and Airgunners
W/Ops And Bomb-Aimers and Flight Engineers,
Lads who were bank clerks and milkmen and teachers,
Carpenters, lawyers and grocers and peers?

Geordies and Cockneys and Wiltshire moonrakers,
Little dark men from the valleys of Wales,
Manxmen, Devonians, Midlanders, Scouses,
Jocks from the Highlands and Tykes from the Dales?

Where are the Aussies, the sports and the cobbers,
Talking of cricket and sheilas and grog,
Flying their Lancs over Hamburg and Stettin
And back to the Lincolnshire winter-time bog?

Where are the fliers from Canada’s prairies,
From cities and forests, determined to win,
Thumbing their noses at Goering’s Luftwaffe
And busily dropping their bombs on Berlin?

Where are the Poles with their gaiety and sadness,
All with the most unpronounceable names,
Quietly, ruthlessly flying in vengeance,
Rememebering their homes and their country in flames ?

Where are the Kiwis who left all the sunshine
For bleak windy airfields and fenland and dyke
Playing wild Mess games like high cockalorum
And knocking the hellout of Hitler’s Third Reich ?

Where are they now, those young men of all nations
Who flew though they knew not what might lie ahead
And those who returned with their mission accomplished
And next night would beat up the “Saracen’s Head”?

The Lancs are no more, they are part of the legend
But memory stays bright in the hearts of the men
Who loved them and flew them through flak and through hellfire
And managed to land them in England again.

Read more...
Showing 2 of 2 stories

Biography contributed by Stephen Diver

Ian Stewart Ross

* DOB 28 March 1920, Camberwell Victoria Australia.

Parents Alexander And Christine Ross of Camberwell Victoria.

Sisters Nan and Jean (Both Deceased).

 

* Alexander Mclaughlin Ross, His brother David and their Cousin Donald all served in the Great War with the AIF.

* Donald Ross was married and had a daughter on the way, when in 1925 after loosing his Job with the State Railways he rejoined the services once more, this time the RAN,  after moving to NSW and settling in Sydney.

His "Home Port".

* Don served on several RAN Warships of all kinds ranging from HMA Ships, Melbourne, Albatross, Australia (Flagship), Canberra, Stuart and Sydney.

He also saw extensive shore duty, being posted to RAN Shore Establishements such as HMAS Jervis Bay - RANC (Officers College).

* His skills in a ships galley were thought of highly to the extent that the Captain of HMAS Sydney John Collins RAN personally requested that he join ship on 11 January 1939 as his own choice for Captains Steward.

This was Mainly due to the fact that he always cooked his breakfast sausages so well, never burning them once!

* He has the distinction of having served in both wars, and he was the oldest to die in the war going down with another more distant relation who joined ship in 1941, just after he was married, Flying Officer Raymond Barker Barrey RAAF who was the Walrus Mk I seaplane Pilot on board HMAS Sydney (S/N 407000).

* Rays Older Brother John was already serving in the RAF as a Sgt Observer on Blenheim Mk I Light Bombers in North Africa, after abandoning his post on a freighter he sailed on from Adelaide in South Australia, he walked into the nearest RAF Recruitment Office and enlisted in 1938 after docking at London.

* Clement John "Bush" Barrey was the sole survivor of the 7 that enlisted in the war.

By 1945 4 had been killed serving with the RAN, and 2 were Killed serving with the RAAF.

* John was decorated with the DFM and AFC, then retrained as a Pilot, he also was decorated with the DFC for flying Fighter Bomber Operations in Italy, mainly on the Kittyhawk and later Mustangs.

He completed 171 Operations by 1945 of which 81 were on Blenheim Mk I aircraft with 113 RAF Squadron (Including Campaigns such as Greece and Crete, where He left in the last Blenheim still flying, before the Squadron was again reformed in North Africa).

He remained with the RAF Post War, he went onto fly fast jets and also saw duty in UK Operations such as Cyprus and was the Operations Room Commander at Singapore during The Malayan Confrontation Period.

He Retired from the RAF in 1974 with the rank of a Wing Commander.

He then returned to Australia and is now deceased, he never got over the loss of his younger brother in particular and had to deal with a particularly nasty form of 'Survivors Guilt' after leaving the RAF.

He was long gone, like so many others, when HMAS Sydney was finally located.

* Don Ross joined HMAS Sydney as a Petty Officer Steward and he was still with her when she was sunk by the HSK Kormoran in November 1941 with all hands.

His S/N were - AIF 7554  (39 Battalion - 1917) and RAN  16199 (1925-1941).

* David Ross also served in France/Belgium was wounded twice, took part in the 1917 Mutiny at Etaples (Mutineer at Number 1 Training Compound - 'The Bull Ring') and ironically enough after being ruled unfit for combat due to his injuries when wounded for a second time after the Mutiny, was transfered out of the 39th Battalion and into the Australian Army Provost Core (MPs) in 1918 after recovering in Hospital back in England.

He then took part in the occupation of a Defeated Germany in 1919, before returning to Australia in 1920 with his new English Wife who he met while an MP in Dorset.

* Her name was Victoria Peg Saunders, and they were married with her Dad as his best man and her mum giving her away, rather then in the more traditional style of the time on 22 August 1919.

Two members of her English Family were on Holiday in Australia when war was declared in September 1939.

Both elected to join the RAN instead of the RN, one was a cook and the other was a member of the turret gun crew.

Both were posted onto HMAS Perth at different points in time, both failed to survive her loss in 1942, neither were sighted alive again after 'Action Stations' were sounded and its belived that they never got off the cruiser before she went down.

Davids S/N was 2180 and he survived the war, but he also died far too young, as an indirect result of his wartime Injuries. 

He was the oldest to serve in the Great War at 30 years of age at the time of his enlistment in 1916.

* Alex Ross (also on some records as Alec) enlisted on 25 April 1916, along with his older brother David, at Melbourne  (his third attemp to do so) and served with 39 Battalion (Ballarat) as part of 1 AIF in France and Belgium.

His S/N was 1977 and his Volunteer Number was 41920.

Alex was born to Annie and David Ross, at Skipton in Victoria, and his Family originally came from Scotland and had connections to the famous 'Clan Ross'.

David and Annie's family came to Australia during the period of the Victorian Gold Rush, settling in Victoria around Skipton where they worked as "Bullock Drivers" for a lengthy period eventually owning their own Bullock Team.

* Alex was wounded on 12 February 1917,  in the area of Merris, when he was injured by a mortar shell at the exact same time as he was shot in the head by a sniper.

The damage was horrendous, his head, body and legs all being hit.

He was also unconscious and with no ID when found, as such until he returned to Australia in 1918 his family belived him to be dead - he was in a coma for a prolonged period as a result of the severity of his injuries, meantime the AIF listed him as Missing, then presumed killed while he was unconscious and the family in turn were notified in the usual manner.

* They remained unaware that He was alive until he walked through the front door, still on crutches, with an Australian Army Nurse as company in February 1918. They thought He was a ghost, until sighting the Nurse with him.

He was discharged as "Medically Unfit For Duty" in March 1918.

His Brother and Cousin were both unaware that He was not in fact dead untill letters from Their Family caught up with them in where they were still serving in Europe in 1919.

* Alex met and married Christine (Chrissy) after the war, and despite being able to have a loving family life, he never truly recovered from the gun shot injury to his cheek, temple and ear, along with the damage to his teeth and mouth, and succumbed to his injuries when Ian was aged only 8.

His Dad was'nt even 40 when he died, just as much a victim of the war, as those who were killed upto 1918, only without the memorials.

To use a term common among Vietnam Veterans (like my Dad - 3 Tours),            'He failed to Surivie the peace, and was forgotten to all but Family'.

* After Alex's death in the local Hospital took place, the family left Camberwell (where he was laid to rest in Camberwell Cemetery in 1928 in the Family Plot on top of his mum and dad) and moved to Alphington in Melbourne and it was here that Ian spent most of his pre service life including his school and working life.

Chrissy never remarried, so Ian left school early, and took up an offer for an apprenticeship to try and help his mum out as much as he could.

* Ian has been described as being quiet and introspective, his passions were tinkering with things to see what made them work, reading and he really really loved the idea of going fast.

He was handy with a cricket bat (opening batsman, represented both 617 squadron and 5 Group in matches while in Uk along with his usual partner South Australian Batsman and Bomber Pilot Ross Stanford RAAF) and a good distance  swimmer.

His height of 5 ft 8 in, with a healthy weight of 132 lbs and his distinctive big ears and bushy eyebrows all helped him to stand out in a crowd.

He also had (depending on who You talked too!) a pair of intensely determined or extremely beautiful Brown Eyes, which matched his equally dark hair.

Like most mechanics of this time, he bore the scars of his trade, in his case on his right hands third finger from an accident that took place working on a motorcycles engine.

His mum also never forget the freckles that ran across his shoulders from his time in the sun, nor his pale skin complexion which saw him suffer badly from sunburn as a child.

* Ian was educated in South Melbourne and after being taken on as an apprentice by Mr DW Bingham's Motor Vehicle Garrage located at, 226 Normandy Rd in Ellwood, He completed his apprenticeship as an Engine Tooler and Motor Mechanic and earned his Junior Technical Certificate in 1935.

This was to be his only place of employment for 5 Years, from his time of leaving school upto his enlistment with the RAAF in 1940.

* It was also at this point that he met his beloved, and his hoped to be, future wife Ivy.

They were engaged and due to be married in late 1939, when War was declared and with his Fathers experience of the war uppermost in his mind, Ian decided it would be best to put it off until after the war was over.

Sadly it was not to be.

Ivy remarried later well after the war, but both her future son and Ivy herself never forget Ian, and he always had a special place in her heart right upto the end of her life.

Her husband also greatly respected his memory, something that is self evident when talking to her son about Ian and his place in their family memories to this very day is still as much loved as it is by his own Immediate and Extended Family. 

* Ian was still living in the Family Home by this time, while both his younger sisters were now married by 1939 and had left home.

* His home address was 96 Yarra St, Alphington Victoria (South Melbourne).

* He nominated as his next of kin his Sister Nan (now Marler), to try and save his 'Mumma' from going  through what his Dad had been through yet again.

They were also the only people in their immediate family to have a telephone connected (number JW3266), and lived in Kensington Victoria.

*Like most people of Scottish Descent, his Familys Faith was Presbyterian, but Ian himself was never described by anyone who knew him as being relegious.

His experience of life upto then had 'already knocked that out of him'.

*Ian enlisted with the RAAF Volunteer Reserve on 17 June 1940 at the RAAF Recruitment Office located at 108 Queen Street in Melbourne.

His S/N was 4329 and he took his oath to the crown on 17 June 1940.

*Ian enlisted with the RAAF on 7 October 1940, at 1 RAAF Recruitment Center, located at 104 Russel Street, Melbourne.

His S/N was 18839, and this was used from this point on replacing his earlier RAAF VR number.

He took another oath to the crown on 7 October 1940, and was aged 20 when he joined up.

Unlike many others he never joined or had prior millitary training at school, such as in the cadets, due no doubt to his early entry into the workforce and his often talked about aversion to 'acts of violence for violences sake'.

Equally he was not a believer of Appeasement, but nor did he agree with a 'war with no good reason behind it'.

* Ian was given aproval to join the RAAF by Flying Officer Murchison RAAF on 7 October 1940, after earlier being passed as 'Medically Fitt' by Flight Leutenant William Hamilton Frederic Crick RAAF S/N 251502 on 16 June 1940.

*His enlistment period was for the duration of the war, however long that may be, plus an additional 12 months.

* His role was to be as a member of the RAAFs rapidly expanding Ground Staff Force, due no doubt to his Civilian Technical Qualification, he would initally serve as a RAAF Engine Fitter.

Postings Follow.

 NB

Dates are Taken from Varied Sources, Copies of which are in my Possession.

All dates used have been verified as correct to the best of my Abillites, using both kinds of sources such as word of mouth and Official Records.

Special Thanks to the Official Squadron Historians for the Squadrons involved, Australian, Canadian and British united in their defense of the dead.

Primary Sources are - 

F/O I.S. Ross RAAF Service Record and Casualty File

I.S. Ross Flying Logbook 

Operational Log Books, Air Station Records and Group Records including Casualty Figures and Cause of Loss, Aircraft Histories and Aircraft Details.

Too Many to list all here, but in particular ORBs for 57 RAF Sqd (Dec 1943 - Jun 1944) and 617 RAF Sqd (1943-1945).

These books are also invaluable, many are out of print, but worth tracking down where you  can. 

RAF Bomber Command Losses of World War Two (all of them recommended) by William R 'Bill' Chorley 

Vol 4 1944

Vol 5 1945

Vol 7 Operational Training Units Losses 1939-1947

Vol 8 Heavy Conversion Units and Miscellaneous Units 1939-1947

Vol 9 Roll of Honor 1939-1947

The Bomber Command War Diaries - An Operational Refrence Book 1939-1945 by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt

Footprints on the Sands of Time RAF Bombe Command Prisoners Of War in Germany 1939-1945 and RAF Evaders Escapers and Escape Lines 1939-1945 by Oliver Clutton-Brock

Missing Belived Killed - The RAF and the Search for Missing Aircrew 1939-1952 by Stuart Hadaway (Highly Recommended).

5 Group RAF Bomber Command - An Operational Record by Chris Ward

Beyond The Dams to The Tirpitz, Bombers Over Berlin and Target Leipzig 1944 by Allan W Cooper

The Avro Manchester and Lancaster by Francis K Mason

Australia's Dambusters by Colin Burgess

Into Thin Air - A Bomber Station at War RAF Woodhall Spa 1941-1945, All My Life and Wilf CGM By Nigel Press

Silksheen - RAF East Kirkby and Bomber Squadrons at War by Geoff Copeman

617 - The Dambusters at War By Tom Bennett (recommended most detailed record available of Ian's time on Squadron,  and the Operation in which He was Killed written by a former 617 Navigator).

Dambusters - The Forging of a Legend and Dambusters - The Definitive History of 617 Squadron at War by Chris Lee, Andy Ward and Andreas Wachtel

Bombs - Tallboy, Dambuster and Grand Slam by Stephen Flower

Tirpitz - The Life and Death of Germany's Last Super Battleship by Niklas Zetterling and Michael Tamelander

Postings 1940 - 1942 Australia (RAAF Groundstaff/Empire Air Training Scheme).

(List of Canadian Training  (British Commenwealth Air Training Plan) in Part 3 and Training/Operations flown in England in Part 4 and 5 will follow after this.

Anybody wishing to contact me in regard to these people or events can do so here - trustn1@bigpond.com 

Much Thanks to Sharyn (Mod) for guiding me through this.

Dedicated with much Love and Respect to Ian Ross and All who knew and cared for him in Australia, Canada and England just as deeply as His Immediate and Extended Family did So themselves. Ivy, Bob, Edward, Freddy, Robert, Cass and Ken this is for You all and Your own Families as much as it is for us.

Stephen - NSW Australia - 2017).

************************************************************************************

 7 October - 6 November 1940 

1 RAAF Recruit Depot

RAAF Laverton

Victoria Australia 

Rank -

Trainee Airman

Notes - 

Basic Training in all things RAAF such as Marching, Saluting, Shooting a Rifle (Standard .303 Lee Enfield), Bayonet Charges, Gasmask Use, Airfield Defence Measures (Attacks in the Form of Acts of 'Sabotage' were seen at this time to be more of a threat in Australia, then any form of Air Attack) Rules and Regulations etc etc.

Course Number was 288 Recruit Drill Course.

Promoted at Completion to Aircraftsman Class 1 (AC or AC1) Engine Fitter (Fitter II E - usually written as AC1 IIE).

Due to His Civilian Technical Qualification as an Already Qualified and Highly Experienced Engine Tooler and Motor Mechanic, Ian's Senior Officer Approved His being Sent Directly to an Operational Posting instead of the more usual Flight Mechanics Course after reporting that in His view Further Training 'was Unnecessary'. 

It should be noted at this point that there was at this time in the war a chronic shortage of Qualified Engine and Airframe Fitters (IIA and IIE) in the RAAF, and that this as much as anything would have influenced this Posting being undertaken in this manner. Engineers in general, be it on Aircrew as Flight Engineers (F/E), Or at Sea on RAN Cruisers Seaplane Detachments, Or Ashore as Groundstaff were to always be in short supply for the entire duration of the War inside the RAAF. It was for this reason (amongst others) that RAF or RCAF F/E often flew in Australian Aircrews in the varied RAF Commands they served with in Europe. In simple terms there were not enough to go around and even as late as 1944 this problem still persisted. 

6 November 1940 - 10 February 1941

1 RAAF Aircraft Depot (1 RAAF AD or 1AD)

RAAF Laverton

Victoria Australia.

Rank -

Aircraftsman Class 1 

Notes -

1 RAAF AD was one of the oldest RAAF units ever to be formed and it was based at one of the oldest RAAF Airstations in the Country RAAF Laverton (RAAF Point Cook (1912) and RAAF Richmond (1925) were the other Airstations). RAAF Laverton is still in use to this day, amalgamated with RAAF Point Cook in 1989 it is now known as RAAF Williams (Named in Honor of Air Marshall Sir Richard Williams KBE CB DSO RAAF (1890-1980) 'Father of the RAAF').

1 RAAF AD came into being shortly after the RAAF itself was formed in 1921 (The Second Oldest Air Force in the World, its formation can be tracked back to 1912 when it was known as the Australian Flying Corps or AFC). 1 RAAF AD was Originally created at 3 separate locations for each of its individual departments in 1921 at Melbourne, Spotswood, and North Fitzroy (All Suburbs of Melbourne Victoria), before then moving to RAAF Point Cook later that year. Melbourne and Spotswood were Responsible for (between them) 128 Aircraft of all Types donated by the RAF for use by the RAAF and North Fitzroy was Responsible for all the RAAFs Motor Vehicles  (including Repair Work).

These Aircraft included such types as Seaplanes like the Seagull Mk III,  Fairey Mk IIID,  Southampton Mk I, along with a healthy mix of the old and new with Fighters like the SE 5a and the Airshow Favorite of the 1930s the all silver and very modern looking Bristol Bulldog. There were also Bomber Types such as the Vickers Vimy and the DH 9. These Aircraft were called by the RAAF "Series 1" and entered Service with the RAAF from 1921 through to 1934. The next wave of Aircraft were known as "Series 2" and these ran from 1935 all the way through to 1960, and were the Aircraft Types that Ian worked on as an Engine Fitter and then later Trained on in Australia before He left under the Empire Air Training Scheme to go to Canada in 1942 and Complete His Training there under the RCAF and the British Commenwealth Air Training Plan.

The Aircraft that made up Series 1 would have been the Aircraft that Ian would have grown up with after the Family moved to Alphington, seeing them at Airshows and at such events as The Annual Royal Melbourne Show where a flight of Six Bulldogs flying in Tight Formation - 'Took the crowds breath away with their Acrobatic Display' in the skies above The Melbourne Showground.

Undoubtedly He would have seen, head and remembered, 'Like All of Melbourne', the 'Large Formation of 36 Aircraft of seemingly all the Air Force in Melbourne being led as always by the Silvery Flight' of Six Bristol Bulldogs as they 'Thundered Powerfully over the Excited Crowds below, as the Royal Coranation Parade winds its way down through the Streets of Melbourne while above it all The Machines of the Air snarl and roar like a Living creature and below the Window Panes shake with fear at the noises from above them' - How the Celebration of the Ascension to the Throne by King George VI on 12 May 1937 was reported in the local Melbourne Newspaper. Ian did attend at least 1 RAAF Air Display or 'Air Pagent' as they were called then at his Future Airbase RAAF Laverton, where the real 'stars of the day' were the 'Modern and Futuristic Looking Formations of Air Force Bristol Bulldogs and Hawker Demons'.

The work of this small hand picked Group of RAAF Fighter Pilots in their Distinctive All Silver Bristol Bulldog Biplane Fighter Aircraft, who were seen in their time as being the 'Elite of the Elite', were clearly the precursor to the modern day RAAF 'Roulettes' of today. Many a Newspapers Page inside the Melbourne Based "Argus" would be filled with their exploits as would the Countries Cinema Screens with their 'Newsreels' before the main feature. They were also one of the best Recruitment Tools that the RAAF had in the 1930s.

Both Ian Ross and His Relations Ray and John Barrey all wished to join the Air Force because of watching Displays such as these. Neither wished to Join the Army after seeing what the Great War did to Ian's Father and His Brother, the stories of the Mud and Horror from their Cousin Don also did a lot to convince them that the AIF was not for them. Nor did the Idea of joining the RAN, despite Don's best efforts to convince them otherwise after being with the Navy since 1925, ever hold that much appeal. 

John had already tried to join the RAAF twice and been knocked back, seeing this disheartened Ian and Ray both, so that while John started to save and work on His own secret plan to run away to England and join the RAF, both Ian and Ray resigned themselves to the fact that the RAAF wasnt for them after all. They still dreamed of being up there in a silver Aircraft and kept attending the Air Pagents regularly and hoping for a miracle, but both never expected anything would make that dream come true.

After the Construction and Commsioning of RAAF Laverton in 1925, "The Warehouse of the RAAF" moved to this new Airbase and its future longterm Home in 1926. The Air Depot was formed around 3 Individual Sections made up of Stores, Aircraft Repair and Engine Repair and even had its own independent Command HQ Section. Its main Task in the prewar period was the supply and support of all the RAAF led Long Distance Survey Flights undertaken throughout Australia and New Guinea in the Time between the Wars (and later even further afield to locations such as Antarctica). In Time this also came to Include after its Construction in Australia  (1926 - 1928) and Commsioning in1929, the RAN Seaplane Carrier HMAS Albatross (Manned by a joint RAN and RAAF Crew using Seagull Seaplanes supplied by the RAAF).

The first of these Survey Flights took place in 1927 and involved what was known as the Northern Survey Flight and the Papuan Survey Flight. Together using diffrent Aircraft Types (land and sea planes) these Airmen and Groundstaff with their own Independent Command Structures Covered Northern and Central Australia, along with the Papuan and New Guinean Coastline all the way upto Aitape.

RAAF Laverton was very advanced for its time, and at its heart was 1 RAAF AD,  and its Associated 'Air Parks' which by 1940 had now grown to included its own Recruit Depot (For Engine and Airframe Fitters Only), along with Aircraft Assembly and Testing Facilities that were considered by many to be the best in Australia - Civilian or Millitary. In the most basic of Language, what the Air Depot did could be summed up succinctly as being 'Erection,  Repair and Overhaul of all RAAF Aircraft Types either in Service or While Undergoing Testing or if Captured Enemy Aircraft developing Tactics and methods to beat such Aircraft in Air Combat Situations' (G/C GE Douglas RAAF Officer in Command of Aircraft Repair Section, 1 RAAF AD and later Commander 1 RAAF AD in 1940).

Its main role while Ian was present was as a location for the Testing and Assembing of Aircraft of all kinds (most Aircraft came to Australia by Sea Transport in shipping crates, they then needed to be assembled and tested on the ground and in the air before they could be issued to a Squadron or Training Unit). Some of the types of diffrent kinds of Aircraft that Ian would have worked on during His time there included the Australian Designed Wirraway,  Tiger Moth Basic Trainers, Seagull Mk V and Walrus Mk I Seaplanes, Hudson Bombers,  Fairey Battles, Buffalo Fighters and Kittyhawk Fighters to name but a few.  37 Members were killed while they were attached to this Posting.

Not only did 1AD assemble and Test Aircraft, it also had its own Ferry Pilot section which was manned by both RAAF and Civilian Volunteer Pilots (and just as in the UK these included Female Pilots in the Civilian Group). After these Aircraft were ready to enter service, their Ferry Pilot would then fly them to their destinations inside Australia and also to Limited sites outside of the Country, such as New Guinea, Rabual etc.

Additionally 1 RAAF AD was also responsible for the Servicing and Maintenance of all the Aircraft types in service with the RAAF, and had its own dedicated sections responsible for Engines, Airframes, Instruments and Armaments. The Commanding Officer for 1 RAAF AD at the time that Ian was posted there was Wing Commander Douglas RAAF (Group Captain (G/C) Eric Gilbert Douglas RAAF (Joined AFC 1920 as Groundstaff) S/N is either 39 or 126 depending on Period of Service - Survived War). 1 RAAF AD survived as a fully functioning RAAF Unit until 1994, and its motto was 'We Foresee'.

On 31 December 1940, AC1 Ross 18839 was Rated as being "Very Good and Highly Proficient in His Trade" by the RAAF Air Depot Engineering Officer.

In Simple Terms thats RAAF Speak for Doing An Above Average Job. "Very Good" was the equivalent of earning an "A+" in Your School Work, while "Good" was equivalent  to an "A" . Anything below "Average" was the equivalent of a School saying "Needs to Try Harder" while "Average" or "Just Average" meant doing the Job but it could still be done better. Most Times (but not always) this would be written in Reports as simply "VG" or "G" etc in the Appropriate Section of the Form Concerned.

Ian's main role in his section of the Air Depot saw Him Working on both Aero Engines and General Transport Engines in the MT Department (Motor Transport - I.E. Cars, Bikes and Trucks etc)  - doing in essence what we would now call being a Fitter and Turner as well as the more usual Auto/Aero Mechanical Repair Type of Work.

10 February - 01 October 1941

1 RAAF Flying Training School

RAAF Point Cook

Victoria Australia.

Rank -

Aircraftsman Class 1 

Notes -

While still a member of RAAF Point Cook's Ground Staff at this time after His Posting out of RAAF Laverton, His Relation LAC Barrey RAAF, who also enlisted in 1940 in his home state of South Australia as a Pilot, had almost completed His training as a Seagull Mk V Seaplane Captain.

He took Ian for a flight that became Highly Memorable, But for all the wrong reasons.

Regardless Ian fell in love with flying and was soon taking the necessary steps to apply for an Aircrew Selection Board shortly afterwards.

(From Offical Court of Enquiry Final Report and Associated Statement)

"LAC Barrey 407000 flying with a Passenger AC Ross 18839 in Seagull Mk V at 2359 Hours Overshot on Landing Aproach during an Unauthorised Flight. LAC Barrey is due to be transferred to the Seagull CF (Conversion Flight) at RAAF Rathmines (NSW) to Undergo Training in Float Landings on Water. This Judgement was made due to Both Airmen having Exemptlery Records. The Ruling is as follows, Both Airmen are to be Returned to Duty after Paying for Costs of Repair which AC Ross will assist in completing. All Leave Cancelled for the duration stated in this Judgement. LAC Barrey is to complete his CB at RAAF Rathmines after His posting to this Base. No Further Action to be Taken".

"Breach of Air Force Act - Section 39 (A)".

Damage to Airframe recorded as being brought about due to -

"Negligent Flying and Failure to Bring Aircraft to Standstill after Over Running Flare Path and then Striking Boundry Fence to Windward End of the Field'.

"Accident Observered by Two Other RAAF Officers on Duty, statements on reverse." (Other side of form).

"Actions Taken Approved by Wing Commander Flying RAAF Point Cook".

"Three Pounds Deducted" (from Pay Australian Not UK Currency - each) and "CB  5 Days" (Confined To Barracks - each). AC Ross also to "undertake repairs" to Aircraft under supervision of Engineering Officer.

"Certified No Further Entry on behalf of W/C Flying by Adjutant Flying".

(Translation - No Court Martial,  Keep ya nose clean and this is the end of it, screw up again and your both for the high jump).

01 October - 7 December 1941

RAAF Air Station HQ

RAAF Point Cook

Victoria Australia 

Rank -

Aircraftsman Class 1 

Notes -

Underwent Examination for Medical Fitness and Educational Suitability at RAAF Airstation HQ by RAAF Examination Board, to decide if Acceptable for Selection and Training as Aircrew, and in which role He would be best suited to Carry out His Duties.

"The Board and W/C Flying find that AC1 Ross 18839 is Suitable for Second Pilot Training".

Promoted to Aircraftsman Class 2 (AC2), Backdated to take effect from 7 December 1941'at the Completion of this posting'.

This Meant that He was told after the offical approval had been given and that the change had been backdated to this point. This was a pretty common procedure in the RAAF, and in some cases, it could be as long as several months or as short as a few days as the timeframe between Offically being told and finding out yourself that it had happened. For example Ian flew his first few Operations with 57 RAF Squadron in England recorded as being a Flight Sergeant (F/Sgt), when in fact his commission to a Pilot Officer (P/O) had already gone through and been Aproved. 

Ian Wrote in December 1941 -

"Sydney Gone" - The "Lucky Ship" is no more. So much sadness here, everyone knows someone who has lost a friend or kin on board. Please look after Mumma should the worst happen. Pass my grief on at the loss of two such unbelievably fine people as Don and Ray".

7 December 1941 - 28 May 1942

1 RAAF Initial Training School (1 ITS)

RAAF Somers (Also known as Somers Camp or Camp Somers)

Victoria Australia.

Rank -

Aircraftsman Class 2.

Promoted 25 April 1942 to Leading Aircraftsman (LAC), Backdated with effect from this date after Successful Completion of this Course.

Notes -

Course Number 25 (P).

Back to School.

Advanced Maths and other relevant subjects such as Aerodynamics and Navigation were taught here for all Aircrew Catagories that had need of them, for example noted Australian Author Don Charlwood started his RAAF Navigation training here. It was often referred to as being a Primary Training School and was run by both Civilian Teaching and Air Force Staff under the overall Command of the RAAF Appointed Wing Commander -Training (In Ian's case it was a Squadron Leader and not a Wing Commander who was in charge when He was there, see below).

1 RAAF ITS  was formed on 01 April 1940 in Melbourne, it then moved to RAAF Somers after Construction was completed on the Classrooms, Barracks and Other Associated Buildings on 16 April and became Operational and ready for its first ever Course of Students when a class of 48 Trainee Student Pilots arrived to begin Instruction on 29 April 1940. The RAAF Schools main Function was to provide Initial Training for Pilots, Observers (Navigators) and Wireless Opperator/Air Gunners (WOP/AG), before they then proceeded onto Further levels of More Advanced/Specialist types of Training. 

Before the Aircrew Trainees arrived at 1 RAAF ITS, they had already undergone a provisional Selection Process and their Trade or Speciality had been chosen for them, as in Ian's case when He was classified as a Second Pilot Trainee back at RAAF Point Cook. However, as was made 'crystal Clear' during this stage of Training, these decisions were under Constant Review and could be changed during this stage of Training 'at any time'. Once these Aircrew Catagories had been confirmed at the end of the Course, it was all but impossible to get them changed unless you failed that chosen fields advanced Training School.

The syllabus of Instruction used in the Various Courses was itself based on that used in the UK by the RAF (AP 1388) in their own Training Establishements of this kind. The Length of the Course also varied depending on the Catagory chosen for the Aircrew Trainee. At the Time that Ian was studying there, The Complex held on average over 600 Students, from all the Catagories already detailed above as 'live in' students. On top of this were all the Civilian and RAAF Staff Members such as Teachers, Cooks, Hair Dressers, Clerks, Nurses/Doctors, Air Police etc etc, meaning that over 1000 people were Living there by then at any one time.

At the Time that Ian was Present there were 15 RAAF Educational Officers Responsible for His Squadron at 1 RAAF ITS. Each Squadron was then broken up into 4 Flights which were roughly equal to an average Class in Size. An Example of the Course Makeup for Student Pilots is included below, this being based on the RAFs AP 1388 as described above.

Aircrew - Pilots - First 4 Weeks of Course

Mathematics, Electrical Science and Aircraft Recognition.

Aircrew - Pilots - Second 4 Weeks 

Mathematics, Electrical Science, Aircraft Recognition and Navigation

Aircrew - Pilots - Course Duration 

Navigation, Aircraft Recognition and General Studies

Each RAAF Educational Officer was Expected to Teach This Amount of Lessons per Flight on their Chosen Subject.

Pilot and Observer Flights - 8 × 60 Min Lectures = 480 per 4 week period

Pilot Students First 4 Weeks - 8 × 48 Min Lectures = 384 per 4 Week Period

Pilot Students Second 4 Weeks - 8 × 48 Min Lectures = 384 per 4 Week Period.

Total = 1248 Lectures.

The average Class Size per Lecture was around 30 - 40 Students per Teacher.

They also had a pair of Gypsy Moth Aircraft for Instruction Purposes, but neither Aircraft were in a Flying Condition and were only used as static models (fixed).

As can be seen for both the RAAF/Civilian Teaching Staff and the RAAF Pilot Trainees the courses were a hard slog in anyones language.

 In a case of Everything coming Full Circle, it is somehow quite Fitting that ever since 1959 after the RAAF retired Somers from use, that it has been given  a new Life as a school for that area's students, as part of the Victorian Department of Education. So in a way its still teaching kids to Reach for the Stars, much in the way that its original Teaching Staff did so, Only with a much Younger Generation. I can't Help but Think that All the former Teachers and Students from 1 ITS would totally agree with its being used and protected in this way. Somers Camp and its Associated Buildings are now a Heritage Listed Site and as such they are Protected as an Historical Monument. Its actual address is 124 Lord Somers Rd Somers Mornington Peninsula Victoria. There is also a suitable Memorial to the RAAF Recruits who walked these Halls, never to Return back Home - like Ian and so many others, inside the School.

Ian arrived as part of a combined draft of 49 Airmen who were All RAAF Groundstaff Aircrew Volunteers from all over the RAAFs Southern Command Zone of Operations (RAAF Southern Command had its Headquarters in Melbourne and was Responsible for all RAAF Establishements located in Victoria, Tasmania And South Australia). The Strength on Hand Figures for when Ian was Posted to 1 RAAF ITS are listed in the Schools Record Book as being 1856 People Students and Staff - of which 956 are Aircrew Trainees.

The Commanding Officer while He was there was Squadron Leader (S/L) CA Brewster RAAF (Clive Alexander Brewster RAAF 271489 Born 1896 -  Survived War). The Chief Instructor (Equivalent to a Chief Flying Instructor) was Flight Leutenant ( F/L) HW Miller RAAF (Harry Wilgress Miller RAAF 250338 Born 1897 - Survived War). 

 Ian was once again Graded as "Very Good" on 31 December 1941 after the completion of his end of year exam and the by now regular RAAF exam Board. The RAAF Board also confirmed once again his status as being a Second Pilot Trainee.

Over the Period of 15 - 19 January 1942, there were Two RAAF Inspections of the Students and their Associated Facilities that were of some note, which also involved the Students Participation. The first occurred on 15 January 1942 when the Air Officer in Command (AOC) of 1 RAAF Training Group dropped by with His Personal Assistant to meet the Students and Staff in the form of Air Commodore RJ Brownell RAAF and Flying Officer (F/O) Jonas RAAF (Air Commodore Raymond James Brownell CBE MC MM RAAF (1894-1974) S/N 11 (Great War Fighter Pilot and 'Ace' (12 Aircraft Shot Down awaded MC) who also Served with the AIF at Gallipoli and in France, before joining the AFC in 1917) and F/O Charles Marriott Sandford Jonas RAAF 252785 Born 1903 - Survived War). The other Visit and Inspection  took place on 19 January 1942 when the RAAF Principal Education Officer for 1 Training Group Wing Commander (W/C) Sheath RAAF also dropped in (W/C Charles Howard Sheath RAAF 253756 Born 1907 - Survived War).

In March 1942 The School's Overall Strength was made up of - 

Headquarters - Officers 42 WAAAF Officers 3 Airman 240 WAAAF 12 

Trainees - Airmen 1043 WAAAF 100

Total = 1143 (27 March 1942 Highest Figure Since Establishement = 1445).

Ian's studies were also interupted temporarily from 03 to 16 March 1942 when Ian was admitted suffering from appendicitis (RAAF Hospital Records are Not Accessible at this time (all Medical files are treated this way due to the Australian Government's Privacy and Disclosure Rules) ; someone who Ian trained with at RAAF Somers said this was the case but I have no way to confirm this independently at this present time). He was admitted to the Number 2 RAAF General Hospital located at Ascot Vale, a Suburb of  Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. After His treatment was completed he resumed his training at RAAF Somers until his course was over.

2 RAAF General Hospital was located inside a former RAAF Engineering School and had been Converted into a 200 Bed Hospital due mainly to the influx of new Airmen enlisting in the RAAF in growing numbers, Chiefly as a part of the Empire Air Training Scheme. This General Hospital was one of the First 3 RAAF Hospitals,(the others were in Sydney at RAAF Richmond and Melbourne at RAAF Laverton) to be formed for Independent use by RAAF Members. It was commanded by Wing Commander (W/C) PR Delamothe RAAF after its Opening in 1940 (W/C Peter Roylance Delamothe RAAF 271235 Born 1906 - Survived War). It Consisted of Operating Theaters, had its own Pathology and X-Ray Departments, a Dispensary  and Various Wards including Southern  Victorias Only VD (Veneral Disease) Ward inside the Infectious Disease Wing of the Hospital  (which also treated RAN and AIF Members). It dealt with Everything from minor breaks and sprains through to much more serious 'Life Threatening' types of injuries.

Just before Completing this stage of his RAAF Training, on 6 May 1942, All the Pilot Aircrew Trainees were given a Talk by Flight Leutenant  (F/L) Emerton RAAF late of 8 RAAF Squadron who had just returned from the Pacific Campagin. It was called 'My Experiences in the Far East' and Ian wrote just One Word about it and then underlined it twice in Red Pen - Awfulness.

F/L JG Emerton RAAF had indeed endured Awfulness and then some (F/L James Gibson Emerton RAAF 250283 Born 1917 - KIA 30 January 1944 by which time He was a Wing Commander and the Squadron Commander of 22 RAAF Squadron (One of His Squadrons Pilots had been decorated with a Postnumous Victoria Cross). He was reported Missing Presumed Killed flying Boston Bomber A28-27 with his WOP/AG Pilot Officer  (P/O) TJ Gawne RAAF (P/O Terence John Gawne 408648 - Born 1920) when they were carrying out a Low Level offensive Sweep against Japanese Barge Traffic all along the Mevelo River and then upto Lindenhafen in New Brittan. Their Secondary Assignment was to also Take Photographs of Japanese Gun Positions and an Enemy Controlled Building on the nearby Kabu River. Jimmy and F/O MJ Carse RAAF flying A28-30 both became Airborne at 0755 together, and it was F/O Carse RAAF who reported on what came next (F/L Maurice James Carse RAAF 412874 Born 1918 - Survived War). "Aircraft A28-27 at 1027 Hours flying at 1000 Feet was seen to be hit by Flak (Anti-Aircraft Fire) in its Port Engine and Damaged badly, then loosing altitude and trailing smoke and with her Port Engine feathered and on fire it was seen to roll over and Crash Approx 300 Yards away from the Enemy Gun Position that brought them down, Near the Kabu River. The Aircraft was carrying out its Photographic Run when it was shot down, No Parachutes were Sighted before A28-27 Crashed. F/O Carse RAAF also Reported that He thinks W/C Emerton RAAF was wounded before the Aircraft Crashed based on what He saw inside the Aircrafts Cockpit, before the Crash took place. The Photographic Run was then Completed successfully by F/O Carse RAAF, who also took Photos of W/C Emerton RAAF Aircraft clearly on fire and burning on the Ground with No Signs of Survivors". The Aircrew were recovered after the War by a combined RAF/RAAF Team belonging to the Missing Research And Enquiry Service (MRES), and both Airmen are now at Rest beside each other in the Rabual War Cemetery (also known as the Bita Paka War Cemetery) in Papua New Guinea).

Jimmy Emerton would indeed have had an awful tale to tell - and thats putting it mildly. Jimmy was part of 8 RAAF Squadron which was one of the first Allied Air Force Squadrons to Successfully Attack Japanese Naval Forces in the Pacific War. 8 RAAF Squadron operated the twin engine Hudson Bomber, but it was no match for the more manoeuvrable Japanese Fighters it soon faced. Despite undeniable acts of Extreme Bravery,  the Squadron was all but Destroyed during the Malayan and Singapore Campagins. Withdrawn in January 1942 to be reformed at RAF Palembang in Sumatra (Netherlands East Indies) with new RAF supplied Hudsons, it was once again destroyed in Combat with even more Acts of Bravery by its mix of Australian, New Zealand, Netherlands and British Aircrews and Groundstaff. By February 1942, it was all over and the Squadron was formally disbanded at Batavia  (Netherlands East Indies) until it was later reformed in Australia. The Aircrew were high Priority and as such were withdrawn back to Australia or Burma, the Groundstaff were left to their own means to try and get out. Some hitched rides on other Aircraft leaving or on Naval or Merchant Units evacuating who they could do so. But most were Captured and became POWs for the duration - many of those Captured never returned home.

Myself seen as how both Ian and Jimmy were born in Camberwell and lived in nearby Suburbs of Melbourne, I like to imagine them both chatting together about their shared home and experiences before the war. But seen as how He was an Officer, while Ian was not even an NCO, the chances are slim that this took place. Still its a nice image to dwell on.......

Ian's Group of RAAF Students were Posted all Out on the same day, This Breakup of Numbers Gives A Good Idea as to how 1 RAAF ITS dispatched its Students all over Australia at the Completion of their Studies.

22 May 1942

288 Aircrew Trainees Course 25 P and O (Pilots and Observers) and 26 G (WOP/AG) Proceed on Leave Prior to Postings as Listed Under With Effect from 28 May  (After Leave and with Travel Time Included, for Example Ian only had 48 Hours - the rest was His Travel Time to Reach Tasmania from Victoria).

1 EFTS RAAF Parafield (Pilots) - 25 (South Australia)

11 EFTS RAAF Benalla (Pilots) - 40 (Victoria)

7 EFTS RAAF Western Junction (Pilots) - 45 (Ians Course) (Tasmania)

2 AOS RAAF Mount Gambier (Observers) - 51 (South Australia)

2 WAGS RAAF Parkes (Wireless Opperators/Air Gunners) - 63 (New South Wales)

1 WAGS Ballarat (Wireless Opperators/Air Gunners) - 4 (Victoria)

 On 27 May 1942, The Squadron Leader in Command of the School Reported  after Ian Completed his Final Exams/Assessments and Exit Interviews

- "Very Good".

28 May - 6 August 1942

7 Elementary Flying Training School  (7 EFTS)

Western Junction

Tasmania Australia.

(Now a Civilian Airport, Still in use - Launceston).

Rank -

Leading Aircraftsman (LAC)

Notes -

Ian's Course was Number 25 (P), and His draft were all from RAAF Somers only and not any other RAAF ITS.

Ian flew as part of "A" Flight and His Flight Commander was F/L GTA Cresswell RAAF and the Airfields Chief Flying Instructor was F/L REH Hodges RAAF. His course was made up of 15 LACs and 30 AC Class 2 Student Pilots (45 Airmen).

By the End of the Course, only 18 in total from both groups had made it through. An additional Five Pilots deemed to be Above Average in Skills also passed and remained in Australia. These Airmen were sent off to undergo further training as Instructors. This Meant that a total of 23 Passed the Course out of the 45 that originally made it this far after completing their studies at RAAF Somers.

The Remainder failed and were removed from the Course or held back to undergo extra Training and bumped onto the next course. Most were removed, being held back was rare, unless there was a very good reason such as recovering from a training crash or something just as bad.

Some were failed due to medical reasons, a very common reason given was chronic Air Sickness, another was years of poor dental hygiene leading to the very painful experience of a dental squeeze (now known as a reverse block) or being unable to equalise your ears at altitude which could be just as painful. Others were failed by the Chief Flying Instructor or their long suffering Flight Commanders/Regular Instructor after failing their flight tests one time too many or, as happened on more then a few occasions, coming close to nearly killing their Instructor in Flight or Destroying an Aircraft. Others to use the terms of the day, were Killed in Flying Accidents (KIFA). 

Of the 18 who successfully Completed Ian's Course alongside Him, None Survived the War. In Comparison Four of the Five Above Average Student Instructors retained in Australia to undergo more advanced Training Survived the War. 

The majority of the 18 were killed in Europe  with either RAF Bomber Command or RAF Costal Command or during their Multi Engine Training in Canada or England before going Operational. Training Casualty Figures are often not thought of when thinking of Wartime Service, but they were just as brutally high (especially in Canada and England) as any kind of Combat based Duty and derserve just as much respect as Operational Casualties receive. 

The last of the 18 Student Pilots who took part in this Course, Technically Speaking, Actually Survived the War - only to become a Fatal Casualty during a Training Accident while carrying out a Navigation Exercise or "Bullseye" with Two Student Navigators on board in 1946. 

Their Aircraft suffered an engine fire as a result of an engine overheating midway through the exercise, the fire started to move along the wing rapidly and was soon in danger of reaching the point where the Lancasters Wing would be burnt through and then fall off.

It was impossible to return to their Airfield.

With no options left, the Pilot gave the order to Abandon The Aircraft and after making sure his Crew and Passengers had all jumped safely by counting them out through the Bomb Aimers Escape Hatch in the nose, he then set the autopilot before Jumping out Himself.

The Lancasters Wing on the Port Side burnt through and the Aircraft broke up Just as He was falling clear.

Unfortunately by this time his Lancaster had lost too much altitude and after jumping his parachute failed to deploy correctly and he was killed outright by the force of the impact which broke both his neck and spine.

The cause of the Lancasters engine fire was never ascertained, both his regular Aircrew and the Two Trainee Airmen on board survived with minor injuries, upto and including a broken leg and fractured wrist.

As with Ian, he was the only Australian in His Aircrew, and was laid to rest in England near to where He crashed.

7 EFTS operated the venerable, but none the less reliable DH 82 Tiger Moth Two Seat Training Aircraft and had a strength of around 50 Aircraft at any one time. The Commander of 7 EFTS was Wing Commander  (W/C) George Campbell Matthews RAAF 250195 (Born 1883 - Survived War). The Field was a 'mixed' Airfield, meaning it also included WAAAF Airwomen (Womens Auxiliary Australian Air Force). Additionally it had its own medical unit, run by a small group of RAAF Nursing Sisters under the Command of a RAAF Medical Flight Leutenant. There was also a RAAF Dental Officer available - if You were brave enough!

Ian's first flight took place on 31 May 1942 with his Instructor Sgt Hite RAAF (George William Hite 408197 Born 1917 - Survived War) flying Tiger Moth A17-303, during which He Completed Two 20 minute Familiarisation Flights around the general area of the Airfield on the Same Day in the same Aircraft. He was Airborne with the Same Instructor for 40 Minutes during each flight.

He had his first go on the ground in the much dreaded and feared 'Link Trainer' (think of a primitive form of Flight Simulator for Ground Instruction), when he flew A15-46 with Sgt Hite RAAF once more Instructing him for one hour on 03 June 1942.

On 05 June 1942 Training was Halted due to an Offical Visit of Inspection for the day by His Excellency The Governor of Tasmania Sir Earnest Clarke (Sir Ernest Clarke GCMG KCB CBE (1864-1951) Born UK, Not Australian).

His first 'Check Flight' took place with Flight Leutenant  (F/L) George Cresswell RAAF (George Terence Alfred Cresswell 251721 Born 1906 - Survived War) flying Tiger Moth A17-117 for what was called a 'Spin Test'.

A Spin Test put simply involved the act of putting Your aircraft into a deliberate spin by loosing control, and then seeing if the student could recover control safely by pulling it out of the spin, or if not able to do so, the Instructor would once more 'Take Control' again and do it themselves. After which they would then make the Student do it again over and over until they got it right and it became second nature to do what was needed without thinking about it.

Either way You looked at it, it was a highly dangerous skill to master, but utterly essential to fly in any situation but especially more so in a Time of War. Many Instructors and Students were killed after getting into a situation that was unrecoverable from. If You found Yourself in this situation the general advice of the day was to Jump using your parachute - the problem was a spin that was unrecoverable would generate massive amounts of gravity that pinned you to your seat so you could not move. Either You pulled out or if you were lucky you blacked out, if not you watched helplessly untill your aircraft hit the ground while being unable to do anything about it.

After completing a grand total of 11 Flights in the Tiger Moth, The majority of which were with Sgt Hite RAAF, and 4 Sessions in the Link Trainer, Ian was deemed to be ready for his Solo Flight Exam with F/L Cresswell RAAF as examiner. 

He made Two Flights known as 'Solo Test' Flights on 17 June 1942, in Tiger Moth A17-131, during which He was Airborne with F/L Cresswell RAAF for 45 and 55 Minutes in each case. After passing them and with only 12 Hours of Logged Flights to His name, He was given permission to make his first ever Solo Flight (No Instructor on board). Ian flew His Solo flight on the same Day and in the same Tiger Moth as His Earlier Solo Test Flights. He was Airborne for 30 Minutes with F/L Cresswell observing Him from on the Ground 'like an anxious parent' for a large part of it, before He Safely Returned to base.

The remainder of the Month saw him continue to fly under Instruction, or Solo, his new Instructor being mainly Pilot Officer (P/O) Beeck RAAF (Harry Verdun Beeck RAAF 406990 Born 1916 - Survived War).

During this Period He carried out 6 more Flights in Tiger Moths under Dual Instruction conditions and flew Solo on 5 Flights as well.

By the end of June 1942 He had Logged 18 Hours and 45 Minutes of Air Time.

The new Month of Jully 1942 was to prove to be even more Hectic with Ian Flying a total of 59 Flights in only 4 weeks, the Majority of His dual Instuction being carried out with P/O Beeck RAAF.

Of the 59 Flights which He Completed Safely and Without any kind of Major Incident, Ian flew Solo on 28 of them and by the End of July 1942 had Increased His Logged Flight Hours to 68 Hours and 20 Minutes of Flight Time. 

On 12 July 1942, Ian was once again Airborne with F/L Cresswell RAAF flying Tiger Moth A17-214 for his 'Progress Test', He then completed His Course with his 'Final Test' in A17-117 with the CFI (Chief Flying Instructor) F/L Hodges RAAF (Reginald Ernest Hodges 250361 Born 1907 - Survived War).

Ians Average Length of Flight Time was around 1 Hour 15 Mins, His Longest was 1 Hour 45 Mins (Most Likely carrying out some kind of Navigational or Distance based Exercise) and his shortest was 30 Minutes. His average of Flights made each day was 3, however this Varied greatly and on some days He flew once while on others He could fly 4 or more in Daylight as well as one more at Night. He flew in the Link Trainer on 4 Occasions and the Average Flight Time for those Sessions was 1 Hour.

Ian Flew these Tiger Moths while He was with 7 EFTS starting with His First Flight on 31 May through to His Final Test of 30 July 1942. He flew several Aircraft on more then one occasion, so this does not reflect the actual number of Flights themselves.

- A17-303, A17-117, A17-686, T54-58, A17-131, A17-392, A17-214, A17-118,  A17-119,  A17-52, T53-60,  A17-388, T55-59 And T54-10.

The Fate of Aircraft A17-119 is also a good example of some of the Risks that both Instructor and Student dealt with on a Daily basis.

A17-119 was delivered to the RAAF after the Completion of its Construction in Australia by the Department of Aircraft Production (DAP) in Conjunction with De Havilland Aircraft Australia (DHA). The Aircrafts Engine was made by General Motors Holden Australia at their South Australian Factory in Woodville, The Wings were Manufactured in Australia and the Fuselage (including all the Instruments and Controlls) were made in the UK and Shipped by Sea Transport to Australia.

The Aircraft was then Assembled at the DAP Factory in Fishermans Bend, Victoria and on 14 October 1940 handed over to the RAAF after being Crated for Transport to RAAF Laverton. After having reached RAAF Laverton Via Road Transport, it was immediately taken on hand by the RAAF for uncrating and Assembly by 1 RAAF Aircraft Depot. After this was Successfully Completed and the Aircraft had been Test Flown, it was the flown by its Ferry Pilot from RAAF Laverton to RAAF Western Junction where it was taken on hand by 7 EFTS on 10 January 1940.

The Aircraft had its first Misadventure on 24 February 1941 when Instructor  Squadron Leader (S/L) GKK Buscombe RAAF (S/L Gerald Kingston Kestell Buscombe RAAF S/N 116 Born 1913 - Survived War) and His Passenger Flying Officer JA Ingles RAAF (W/C John Alan Ingles RAAF 250418 Born 1905 - Survived War) were making their landing run, and in the Process of Avoiding Another Aircraft R5184 (Tiger Moth), failed to sight the base of a cut down Tree Stump which had been all but hidden from view. The Aircraft upon striking the stump, then flipped up onto its Nose, before overturing onto its top wing and putting itself into an upside down position at which point it finally came to rest. Thankfully on this occasion both Pilot and Passenger escaped with minor injuries. The Aircraft was Repaired at the Airfield by 7 EFTS's own Groundstaff and back on strength 7 days after the crash took place.

Ian Flew A17-119 on -

20 July 1942 with P/O HV Beeck RAAF as Instructor (Twice on the Same Day) for 30 Minutes on Each Occasion 

23 July 1942 with P/O HV Beeck RAAF as Instructor for 1 Hour

Shortly after Ian departed on His Pre Embarkation Leave, on 13 August 1942 the Aircraft was destroyed in a Training Crash while being flown by a Student Pilot flying Solo. Leading Aircraftsman (LAC) Stack RAAF was described in the Official RAAF Accident Report to be flying normally when His Aircraft A17-119 'Suddenly And With No Warning was Observered to Have Spun into the Ground from 800 Feet' for 'Unknown Reasons and with No Apparent Cause'. Miraculously LAC Stack RAAF escaped from the loss of His Aircraft with only 'Minor Injuries to His Ankles' (Warrant Officer (W/O) Austin Harry Cleveland Stacks RAAF 26254 Born 1918 - Survived War).

The Link Trainers that Ian was Instructed On were - A13-22, A13-46 and A13-21. The Link Trainer A13-46 is Currently in Pieces and Awaiting Restoration so it can become part of the Dispaly at the "Jack Mason Memorial Museum" inside the Devonport RSL Club in Tasmania. Any Kind Hearted Individuals who would care to assist can do so by Contacting the Museum Via the Devonport RSL Club.

Ian's Most Regular Instructor was P/O HV Beeck RAAF who He trained with on 28 Flights. At the Completion of His Course Ian was only Qualified to Fly one type of Aircraft (DH 82 Tiger Moth) and could Only Fly 'Low Powered Single Engine' Aircraft Types.

After this, Ian would never Fly in Australia Again, His next stage of Training was already beckoning, and it would be much colder there then He had ever expierenced before - Especially for someone who had never seen Snow or anything Like it before.

But First He had to Say Goodbye, and then He had to get there.

RAAF Form 18A

Summary of Flying and Assessments For Course Commencing 31 May 1942 and Ending 31 July 1942.

LAC Ross 18839 

SE Aircraft (Single Engine)

Dual - Day 31 Hours 55 Mins Night 3 Hours = Total 34.55

Pilot - Day 33 Hours 25 Mins Night Nil = Total 33.25

Passenger - Day 20 Mins Night Nil = Total .20

Assessment of Ability as a Pilot

Just Average 

Any Points in Flying or Airmanship Which Should Be Watched

Inclined to be Rough and Innaccurate (This is in Regard to Navigation and Not His Flying Skills).

Date 04 August 1942 

F/L RE Hodges RAAF - Chief Flying Instructor 7 EFTS RAAF.

(Final Flight Test Report).

06 - 19 August 1942

 

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