Several years ago I was fortunate enough to get hold of a couple of badges that an Australian soldier brought back on a ‘badge belt’ which he had put together whilst serving in the Western Desert campaign during World War 2. The two badges are a South African Air Force cap badge and a rare sand-cast ‘Winged Boot’ badge, which I believe is related to the SAAF badge.
The ‘Winged Boot’ award was an official award, presented by the Late Arrivals Club which originated amongst members of the South African Air Force members of the RAF Western Desert Group in June 1941. The award was presented to servicemen whose aircraft had crashed or been shot down behind enemy lines and had to walk back to the Allied forces. The badge was sand cast and included varying amounts of silver content. This particular badge appears to me, to be mainly brass, but it’s provenance makes it undoubtedly original.
The award badge was presented along with a certificate, which contained the motto, “It is never too late to come back” was to be worn on the pleat of the left pocket, just below the flap. Whilst predominantly a commonwealth award, it was also adopted by some US servicemen (utilising a bullion variation of the design), primarily in the European and CBI theatres.
There is also a short news clip about the Late Arrivals Club showing both the badge and certificate which can also be seen on the Pathe News site.
Some photographs and review after my recent visit to the Darwin Aviation Museum
Replica of a Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIII on display at the Darwin Aviation Museum. Photo: Julian Tennant
The Darwin Aviation Museum (formerly known as the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre) is situated about 8km from the Darwin CBD, on the Stuart Highway in the suburb of Winnellie. It grew out of the activities of the Aviation Historical Society of the Northern Territory Inc which was established in 1976 with the aim of recovery, restoration and document of aviation relics related to the defence of Darwin in World War II.
Royal Australian Air Force Dassault Mirage IIIO A3-36 which began service with the RAAF on 3 May 1966. The Mirage 111O was Australia’s front line fighter from the early 1960s when it replaced the Sabre through to 1989 when it was in turn replaced by the F-18 Hornet. On 27 May 1985 this aircraft was being flown by Flight Lieutenant (later Air Vice-Marshall) John A. Quaife RAAF when it crashed on the Ludmilla mud flats near the Darwin suburb of Coconut Grove. Quaife was able to eject at 1,000 feet and 200 knots and landed safely in mangroves with only minor injuries. The crash was found to be due to a compressor stall/loss of thrust whilst in a circuit. The unmanned aircraft conducted a controlled landing on the mudflats and was recovered largely intact. The Mirage was acquired by the Aviation Historical Society of the NT and remained at the Darwin Museum on display until October 2001 when it was loaned to No.75 Squadron for restoration and display purposes during the Squadron’s 60th Anniversary in 2002. It was taken by Chinook helicopter to the RAAF Base Tindal where it was refurbished by 75 Squadron for static display at the Darwin Museum. It was returned to the Aviation Heritage Centre of Darwin on 23 November 2005. Photo: Julian Tennant
Martin Baker MB-326H Jet Trainer Ejection Seat (left) and Martin Baker MK.3B Ejection Seat as fitted to a Vampire Mk. 35A (right). Photo: Julian Tennant
Bell AH-1 Cobra (S Model) gunship. Photo: Julian Tennant
Over the years the museum has expanded to cover all aspects of aviation history in the Northern Territory and today it features one of the largest private collections of aircraft and aviation artifacts in Australia. Housed in a custom built hangar that was opened in 1990 after the Society was able to secure a B52 G bomber and currently exhibits 19 aircraft, 21 engines and numerous other related displays.
Aircraft include a B-25D Mitchell Bomber (one of the few surviving in the world), a replica Spitfire, Mirage, Avon Sabre, a Royal Australian Navy Wessex helicopter that assisted in the clean-up of Darwin after Cyclone Tracy, F-111C and the centerpiece, the aforementioned Boeing B52 G Stratofortress 92596 “Darwin’s Pride.” This aircraft entered service with the USAF in December 1960 and made its last flight (to the museum) on 1 September 1989. The museum was chosen for its final resting place as Darwin Airport allowed B52 Bombers to take off at their maximum ‘take off weight’ with full fuel tanks or payload.
Boeing B52 G Stratofortress 92596 “Darwin’s Pride” at the Darwin Aviation Museum. Photo: Julian Tennant
Nose detail of the B-52 G “Stratofortress 92596 “Darwin’s Pride”, which fills the hangar at the Darwin Aviation Museum. Photo: Julian Tennant
North American B-25D Bomber s/n 41-30222. This D model is one of a very few that still exist that has seen active service. It flew a number of missions with the 345th Bomb Group USAAF. It was acquired by the 380th Bomb Group USAAF in New Guinea after it had been taken out of active service and was used as a “fat cat”, ie an aircraft used to collect and transport the food and other luxuries that the Group needed to make life more enjoyable. It flew between Fenton Airstrip 160km south of Darwin and Adelaide. On its last flight the aircraft received maintenance at Parafield Adelaide, but the aircraft was not “swung” correctly leaving the compass incorrect. On the return trip to Fenton the aircraft missed Alice Springs and the crew put the aircraft down in the Tanami Desert. They were rescued the following day. The tail section of the aircraft was destroyed on DCA orders to prevent the aircraft from being repaired and used after the War. Salvaged and returned to Darwin in 1972 and was further damaged by Cyclone Tracy while at East Point. It has now been partially restored to the 1943 colour scheme and nose art of its 1943 New Guinea service condition. Photo: Julian Tennant
B-24 Liberator Ball Turret. Photo: Julian Tennant
1938 Indian Motor Cycle restored to represent a communications motorcycle of the 380th Bomb Group USAAF. Photo: Julian Tennant
This relationship with Australia’s American allies is well documented in the museum and includes several artifacts from the USAAF’s 33rd Pursuit Squadron which flew P-40 Kittyhawks and was virtually wiped out when the Japanese attacked on 19 February 1942, right up to the present day deployment of the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF – D).
Embroidered variation of the US Marine Corps Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (VMM-268) patch. VMM-268 is a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron consisting of MV-22 “Osprey” transport aircraft. The squadron, known as the “Red Dragons”, is based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe, Hawaii and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 24 (MAG-24) and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW). VMM-268 undertook a 6 month rotation to Darwin as part of Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 2018 (MRF-D 2018) as part of a bi-lateral programme developed in 2011 to build and strengthen partnerships between US and allied forces in the Pacific. Photo: Julian Tennant
Embroidered US Marine Corps Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (VMM-268) patch. VMM-268 is a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron consisting of MV-22 “Osprey” transport aircraft. The squadron, known as the “Red Dragons”, is based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe, Hawaii and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 24 (MAG-24) and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW). VMM-268 undertook a 6 month rotation to Darwin as part of Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 2018 (MRF-D 2018) as part of a bi-lateral programme developed in 2011 to build and strengthen partnerships between US and allied forces in the Pacific. Photo: Julian Tennant
PVC US Marine Corps Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (VMM-268) patch. VMM-268 is a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron consisting of MV-22 “Osprey” transport aircraft. The squadron, known as the “Red Dragons”, is based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe, Hawaii and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 24 (MAG-24) and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW). VMM-268 undertook a 6 month rotation to Darwin as part of Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 2018 (MRF-D 2018) as part of a bi-lateral programme developed in 2011 to build and strengthen partnerships between US and allied forces in the Pacific. Photo: Julian Tennant
US Marine Corps Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (VMM-268) Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 2018 patch. VMM-268 is a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron consisting of MV-22 “Osprey” transport aircraft. The squadron, known as the “Red Dragons”, is based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe, Hawaii and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 24 (MAG-24) and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW). VMM-268 undertook a 6 month rotation to Darwin as part of Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 2018 (MRF-D 2018) as part of a bi-lateral programme developed in 2011 to build and strengthen partnerships between US and allied forces in the Pacific. Photo: Julian Tennant
One of the aircraft that I was pleased to see was the De Havillland DH104 “Dove” called Manatuto after a town on the north coast of East Timor. My interest in this aeroplane relates to a beautiful civilian Transportes Aéreos de Timor pilot’s wing that I hold in my collection.
The Manatuto was registered to the Portuguese Government and operated by the Transportes Aéreos de Timor (Timor Air Transport). Originally based at Dili, Manatuto provided regular passenger, mail and cargo service throughout Timor and to Darwin. In October 1975, just before the Indonesian invasion of Timor, the aircraft flew to Darwin. It was admitted to Australia as an ‘aircraft in transit’ but was subsequently declared an illegal import and impounded after the Indonesian invasion before finally being donated to the society by the Portuguese Government in 1978.
Unlike the Darwin Military Museum, which I reviewed in my previous post, the provenance of the exhibits here are well documented and as a collector whose focus is uniforms and insignia I found several pieces that aroused my interest including some of the less well known RAAF uniforms from recent times.
RAAF uniforms on display at the Darwin Aviation Museum. Photo: Julian Tennant
Shoulder patch worn by Dutch members of No. 18 NEI-RAAF Squadron during their service in the Northern Territory between 1943 and 1945. Photo: Julian Tennant
Smatchet (bottom) and fighting knives on display at the Darwin Aviation Museum. Photo: Julian Tennant
A section of fabric from the tail of Spitfire A58-70 which crashed at Livingstone Airstrip whilst being flown by Flying Officer I.S. McKenzie of No. 457 Squadron RAAF, on 31 August 1943. Photo: Julian Tennant
Tropical Spitfire Flying Uniform as worn by pilots of No.1 Fighter Wing, RAAF in 1943/44 (left) and Flying Suit, helmet and oxygen mask of Group Captain Clive Caldwell (right). Visible is the embroidered garland of flowers and and hearts that his wife, Jean, embroidered under the right pocket flap of his flying suit just before he deployed overseas. Photo: Julian Tennant
Flight Control panels from the old Darwin Airport. In the foreground is a Dual Flight service console circa 1974, whilst the structure in the background is the Approach Controller’s Radar Console, circa 1990. Photo: Julian Tennant
1940’s single engine, four seater Auster J-5P Autocar VH-BYS as flown by the Salvation Army’s first ‘Flying Padre’ in northern Australia in the 1950’s and early 60’s. Photo: Julian Tennant
The Darwin Aviation Museum. Photo: Julian Tennant
The museum also has a small cafeteria and bookshop which, in addition to their range of aviation and military histories also has model aircraft as well as generic Northern Territory related paraphernalia for sale. Overall, this is an interesting museum well worth the few hours I spent examining the exhibits. It is quite easy to get to using public transport as the number 8 bus stops at the front gate, but if you have a hire car and can set a day aside, I’d suggest combining it with a trip to the Defence of Darwin Experience and Darwin Military Museum at East Point which is about 20 minutes away.
The Darwin Aviation Museum
557 Stuart Highway
Winnellie Darwin, NT 0820
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Whilst my collecting interests are focused around military insignia I occasionally find a piece that is impossible for me to resist. I stumbled across this Portuguese Timor era civilian airline pilot’s wing several years ago and it remains a favourite of mine. The small island of Timor-Leste had long been of interest to me due to the activities of the 2/2nd Independent (commando) Company on Timor during WW2. Then between 2000 and 2012 I was lucky to visit Timor on several occasions, which helped strengthen my affection for the country and it’s people. So, when I found this Transportes Aéreos de Timor pilot’s brevet I had to have it and if anybody can help me find any other insignia from this little known airline, I would love to hear from you.
The Transportes Aéreos de Timor (TAT) was an airline of the Portuguese-Timor colony, based in Dili, which flew between 1954 and 1975, serving connections within Timor and neighbouring areas. In 1967 the TAT commenced flights between Baucau and Oecusse as well as between Baucau and Darwin (Australia) with two de Havilland D.H.104 Dove aircraft.
One of the TAT Doves is on display in the Darwin Aviation Museum after it was used to escape Timor during the Indonesian invasion in 1975. By 1969 the TAT provided services to Atauro, Baucau, Dili, Maliana, Manatuto, Oecusse and Suai, plus a weekly flight between Darwin to Baucau using a chartered Fokker F-27 from Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) flew the Darwin-Baucau route. In June 1973, the airline commenced twice weekly services to Indonesian Kupang in West Timor. Transportes Aéreos de Timor ceased to exist after the Indonesian invaded and occupied Timor on the 7th of December, 1975.
Situated approximately 30km west of Melbourne at Point Cook, the RAAF Museum was established in 1952 as a repository for the preservation of aircraft, documents and memorabilia associated with the AFC and RAAF. The location is apt as Point Cook is also the birthplace of both the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) and its successor, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). In 1972 the museum opened to the public and the collection has subsequently grown to over 100,000 items. I first visited the museum back in 1981 and have returned several times to see it evolve and grow. Smaller items such as heraldry and ephemera are changed reasonably regularly and some of the things I saw on my previous trip were no longer on display, so for this week’s post I have again included a lot of pictures. Note that as with all my weekly posts, when the pictures are laid out as a mosaic pattern, you can click on them to see a larger view with the caption.
My last visit to the museum had been back in 2014 when I spent some time in the Research Centre trawling through the records relating to the insignia worn by the Australian Flying Corps as part of my research and contribution to Bob Pandis’ book Flight Badges of the Allied Nations 1914-1918, Volume II, but I have been wanting to visit again and reacquaint myself with the exhibits. The opportunity presented itself this past week when I made a trip to Melbourne to visit my ageing parents and I am glad that I was able take a few hours out of my schedule to take another look.
The museum consists of several parts including external displays of aircraft and a Bristol Bloodhound missile launcher. However, most of the aircraft are housed in the various hangar displays which are divided into different sections across the complex. These are descriptively named the Technology Hangar, Training Hangar, Aircraft Display Hangar 180, Strike Reconnaissance Hangar 178 and the Restoration Hangar 187 where one can watch the conservators restore various aircraft including a de Havilland Mosquito (A52-600).
The aircraft collection is no doubt fascinating for the plane buffs, but as an insignia collector for me the really interesting stuff is housed in the Heritage Galleries which are situated in the main building. These galleries feature objects tracing a chronological the history of the AFC and RAAF from its birth as the Central Flying School on the 7th of March 1913 up until the present day. My main aviator collecting interest is focused on wings of the Australian Flying Corps up until the formation of the RAAF in March 1921 and the museum has some incredibly rare pieces on display including the very first set of wings (known as the AMF Pilots Badge) awarded.
NSW Aviation School Insignia. This badge shows the New South Wales Government aviation school which operated from an airfield at Ham Common, near Windsor, NSW during WW1. In 1925 RAAF Base Richmond was established at the same site and remains operational to the present day. Photo: Julian Tennant
Australian Flying Corps shoulder title and colour patch. The small ‘A’ on the patch indicates that the owner had participated in the Gallipoli campaign. Photo: Julian Tennant
Uniform detail showing the Australian Flying Corps colour patch and ‘Australia’ title on the uniform of Private Arthur Goodes of No 1 Sqn AFC. Photo: Julian Tennant
Australian Flying Corps pilots wings and unit colour patch on the tunic of Captain Roby Manuel DFC. Born at Kerang in Victoria in 1895, Roby Manuel enlisted at the age of 20 and served with the 43rd Battalion AIF in 1916 before transferring to the AFC. Manuel flew a SE5a fighter with No 2 Squadron AFC and shot down twelve German aircraft during his service. Photo: Julian Tennant
Wing and ribbon detail from the tropical dress tunic worn by Wing Commander Stanley Goble during his round Australia flight in 1924. Note that the uniform still features the Royal Air Force (RAF) wings. Photo: Julian Tennant
The First World War gallery also includes items such as the maternity jacket with RFC wings worn by Captain Douglas Rutherford (1 Sqn AFC) who was rescued by Lieutenant Frank McNamara V.C. after being shot down behind enemy lines in Palestine in 1917. It was this rescue that resulted in McNamara being awarded the Victoria Cross, the first for an Australian aviator.
WW1 trench warfare diorama detail from ‘Spotting for the guns’. The diorama depicts an Australian forward artillery observation post communicating with an RE8 aircraft of No 3 Sqn AFC (not visible in the photo) to determine enemy positions for artillery bombardment.Photo: Julian Tennant
Royal Australian Air Force Busby used by Air Marshal Sir Richard Williams, Chief of the Air Staff, on ceremonial uniforms for State and Royal occasions during the 1920’s and 30’s. An unpopular form of head-dress, the Busby ceased to be worn by the time of the outbreak of WW2. Photo: Julian Tennant
Maxim MG 08 ‘Spandau’ machine gun captured by Australian forces during WW1 and one of two that were located at the head of the parade ground at Point Cook until the 1960’s. Photo: Julian Tennant
In addition to exhibits relating to Australia’s air power contributions in the world wars, post war conflicts including Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq plus the various Peacekeeping deployments and Civil Aid Operations, the galleries also feature exhibits about specific branches such as Chaplains, the RAAF Medical Service and Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (later Women’s Royal Australian Air Force). There are also displays that cover aspects such as basic training, life at postings such as the RAAF Base Butterworth in Malaysia and the RAAF Marine Section.
Australian Light Aircraft Pty Ltd (Dominion parachute) ‘Roo Club’ and IRVIN Air Chute Company ‘Caterpillar Club’ pins awarded to Allied aircrew who bailed out using the respective company’s parachutes. Photo: Julian Tennant
‘Caterpillar Club membership card belonging to Warrant Officer David Milne who was taken prisoner after bailing out in Germany. Membership of the ‘Caterpillar Club’ is achieved by people who have saved their lives using parachutes manufactured by the IRVIN company. In addition to the membership card each individual is also presented with a gold pin of a caterpillar with ruby eyes, with their name engraved on the rear. The caterpillar being symbolic of the silk used in the manufacture of early parachutes. Photo: Julian Tennant
World War 2 war in the Pacific display in the Heritage gallery. Photo: Julian Tennant
Japanese life preserver and control wheel from a Mitsubishi Ki-21 heavy bomber. The life-preserver vest was worn by Japanese pilot Hajime Toyoshima who flew a Mistubishi Zero fighter during the first raid on Darwin on 19 February 1942. Toyoshima became the first prisoner of war taken in Australia during WW2 after his aircraft made a forced landing on Melville Island. He later became one of the leaders of the breakout from Cowra POW camp in NSW and committed suicide following recapture in August 1944. Photo: Julian Tennant
Painted steel helmet belonging to Jack Toliday who served in Northern Australia and the South West Pacific area of operations between July 1941 and June 1946. Photo: Julian Tennant
Nose-Art panel from Wellington bomber ‘Y Yorker’ which flew at least 53 operations over Europe as part of No 466 Squadron (Bomber Command) during WW2. Photo: Julian Tennant
RAAF P-40 Kittyhawk pilot in the South-West Pacific theatre of operations during 1943-44. Photo: Julian Tennant
Distinctive Slouch Hat worn by a RAAF Meteor pilot of No. 77 Squadron in Korea. The hat bears the signatures of many of the squadron’s pilots. Photo: Julian Tennant
Propaganda leaflet directed at North Korean soldiers and dropped over enemy positions during the Korean War. Photo: Julian Tennant
Membership card and patch for Junior Staff Club of the Long Range Weapons Project based at Woomera, South Australia. Photo: Julian Tennant
Model of the Mk II Air Sea Rescue boat used by the RAAF Marine Section. These watercraft were built in 1953 and still used in the late 1970’s. Photo: Julian Tennant
Vietnam period Australian Special Air Service Regiment beret, featuring the distinctive beige headband of that period and AN/PRC-9 FM backpack radio set. Photo: Julian Tennant
Medals, log book and No 9 Sqn patch belonging to Corporal William O’Rourke who completed over 4000 combat missions as an assistant crewman and demonstrated a high degree of skill with the M60 machine gun, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) in March 1969. Photo: Julian Tennant
Patch worn by Caribou aircrews of No 38 Squadron while on operations in Vietnam. Photo: Julian Tennant
Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East Area of Operations display in the Heritage gallery. Photo: Julian Tennant
RAAF ground crewman wearing the distinctive Australian Desert Pattern Disruptive Uniform (DPDU) in the Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East Area of Operations display. Note the selection of sub-unit patches in the background. Unfortunately my iphone could not capture usable quality images of the insignia. Photo: Julian Tennant
Patches made as souvenirs for different RAAF pilot graduation classes. Photo: Julian Tennant
Militia Cap: East Timor. This cap belonged to one of the organised local groups opposed to East Timorese independence. These militias conducted a campaign of violent resistance before and after the ballot on August 30, 1999. Photo: Julian Tennant
CT4A Airtrainer in the Training Hangar. Photo: Julian Tennant
Training Hangar display area. Photo: Julian Tennant
Aermacchi MB 326H (A7-001) on display in the Training Hangar. A Maurice Farman Shorthorn used to train pilots during WW1 can be seen in the back left. Photo: Julian Tennant
Avro 643 MkII Cadet (A6-34) in the foreground, with CAC CA-12 Boomerang (A46-30), de Havilland DH-84 Dragon (A34-92), CAC CA26 Avon Sabre (A94-101) and Hawker Demon (A1-8) on display in the Display Hangar 180. Photo: Julian Tennant
Restoration Hangar 187. The fuselage of a de Havilland Mosquito (A52-600) can be seen in the right foreground and (I think) that’s a DH60 Gypsy Moth behind it. Photo: Julian Tennant
A Flying F-111garoo. Model of a combined F-111C and Kangaroo made by Major Jim Potts of the USAF who worked on the F-111 Program Office in Ohio, USA and presented to Colonel Bradley Heterick (USAF) when Heterick completed his posting as Manager for the RAAF F-111C acquisitions at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Photo: Julian Tennant
General Dynamics F-111G (A8-272) on display in the Strike/Recce Hangar 178. Photo: Julian Tennant
Avions Marcel Dassault presentation pin given to RAAF test pilot Derek’ Jell’ Cuming in recognition of his first flight at the speed of Mach 2 on 3 June 1960. Derek Cuming was a renowned test pilot and the first to fly a jet aircraft, a Gloster Meteor, in Australia. He achieved the rank of Air Commodore in 1968. Photo: Julian Tennant
There is also a small gift shop which includes books, souvenir items and a comprehensive selection of Squadron patches for purchase. As far as I am aware, these are the same patches that are used by the squadrons, originating from the same manufacturer, the only difference being the lack of Velcro backing. In addition the shop sells some REPRO aviator brevets and collectors should not confuse those with the issue wings.
Every-time I visit this museum I find something new to look at and this visit was no exception as there were pieces on display including some items from recent deployments to the Middle East which had not yet been displayed during my previous trip. There were also some things such as the rare Roo and Caterpillar Club pins that resonated with my parachuting/special forces collecting interests. For a visitor to Melbourne it can be a bit difficult to get to as it is located on the RAAF base about 25 minutes’ drive from Melbourne although there is also a bus service, the Werribee Park Shuttle, which stops at the RAAF Museum on flying days (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays). However, despite its location, the RAAF Museum should be on the agenda for anybody visiting Melbourne with an interest in aviation or military history.
RAAF Base Point Cook
Point Cook Road
The Museum is closed on Mondays (except public holidays), Good Friday, and Christmas Day.
Admission to the RAAF Museum is free, however, donations are gratefully accepted.
Note that as the museum is located within the grounds of the RAAF Base, all visitors over the age of 16 will need to bring photo identification to enter the Base.
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On the 20th of March 1917, Lt. Frank H McNamara became the first Australian aviator to be awarded the Victoria Cross after landing his aircraft behind enemy lines to rescue a downed comrade, whilst serving with No. 1 Squadron Australian Flying Corps in Palestine. The citation for the Victoria Cross reads,
“most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during an aerial bomb attack upon a hostile construction train, when one of our pilots was forced to land behind the enemy’s lines. Lieutenant McNamara, observing the pilots predicament and the fact that hostile cavalry were approaching, descended to his rescue. He did this under heavy rifle fire and in spite of the fact that he himself had been severely wounded in the thigh. He landed about 200 yards from the damaged machine, the pilot of which climbed on to Lieutenant McNamara’s machine, and an attempt was made to rise. Owing, however, to his disabled leg, Lieutenant McNamara was unable to keep his machine straight, and it turned over. The two officers, having extricated themselves, immediately set fire to the machine and made their way across to the damaged machine, which they succeeded in starting. Finally, Lieutenant McNamara, although weak from loss of blood. flew this machine back to the aerodrome, a distance of seventy miles, and thus completed his comrade’s rescue.”
Frank Hubert McNamara was born at Rushworth, Victoria, on 4 April 1894. After completing secondary schooling in Shepparton, he studied teaching at the Teachers Training College and the University of Melbourne and went on to teach at a number of Victorian Schools where he joined the senior cadet units. In 1912 he transferred to the Brighton Rifles and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in July 1913. After the outbreak of the First World War he served at Queenscliff and then Point Nepean before attending the Officers Training School at Broadmeadows, then between February and May 1915, instructed at the AIF Training Depot at Broadmeadows.
In August 1915 McNamara was selected to attend the Point Cook Flying School, graduating as a pilot in October that year. In January 1916 he was posted as an adjutant to No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps and sailed for Egypt. In May 1916 he was seconded to No. 42 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps to attend the Central Flying School at Upavon, England. Following this he was attached as an instructor to No. 22 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps in Egypt before returning to duty with No. 1 Squadron.
On 20 March 1917 McNamara, flying on a bombing mission in Gaza, saw a fellow squadron member, Captain D. W. Rutherford, shot down. Although having just suffered a serious leg wound, McNamara landed near the stricken Rutherford who climbed aboard, but his wound prevented McNamara from taking off and the aircraft crashed. The two men returned to Rutherford’s plane, which they succeeded in starting and, with McNamara at the controls, they took off just as enemy cavalry arrived. For this action McNamara was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Portrait, maternity jacket and items belonging to Douglas Wallace Rutherford, No. 1 Sqn AFC, who was rescued by Frank McNamara in the action for which he was awarded the VC. These items all comprise part of the collection held at the RAAF Museum at Point Cook in Victoria. Note that despite being an AFC pilot, Wallace’s jacket features the pilot wings of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), whilst the portrait shows him with the Observers brevet for which he originally qualified. Douglas Wallace Rutherford was born in Rockhampton, Queensland on 29 September 1890. He joined 5 Light Horse Regiment on 7 December 1914 and departed Australia later that month with the second contingent destined for Gallipoli. He went into action in May 1915 and was wounded on 28 June. After receiving medical attention in Alexandria, Egypt and London, UK, he returned to the 5th Light Horse in April 1916 and soon transferred to the Australian Flying Corps, qualifying as an Observer in August 1916. After promotion to Captain in November 1916, Rutherford commenced pilot training with the 5th School of Military Aeronautics at Aboukir, Egypt and by 1917 had returned to No. 1 Squadron AFC as a qualified pilot. Rutherford undertook operations against Turkish forces with No. 1 Squadron until being forced down in the Amman area and was captured by the Turks. He was imprisoned in Constantinople for six months before being returned to Australia in December 1918.
In April 1917McNamara was promoted to captain and appointed Flight Commander, but his wound prevented further flying and he was invalided to Australia in August. His appointment with the AFC ended in January 1918 but he was reappointed in September and became an aviation instructor. In 1921 he transferred to the newly established Royal Australian Air Force as a flight lieutenant and held a number of senior RAAF appointments between the wars, including two years on exchange to the RAF in the mid-1920s.
At the outbreak of the World War Two, McNamara was promoted to air commodore and then an air vice marshal in 1942. From 1942 until 1945 he served as Air Officer Commanding British Forces in Aden before returning to London as the RAAF’s representative at Britain’s Ministry of Defence. In July 1946 he became Director of Education at the headquarters of the British Occupation Administration in Germany. He remained in the UK after retiring and died in London on 2nd November 1961.