Veterans rekindle decades of memories at RAAF Base Edinburgh

Royal Australian Air Force veterans who served at RAAF Base Edinburgh from as far back as the 1950s recently returned to their old stomping ground.

CAPTION: Members of the South Australian branch of the Air Force Association stop in front of a Jindivik target drone at the officers’ mess, during a visit to RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia. Story by Group Captain Gregory Weller. Photo by Leading Aircraftwoman Annika Smit.

They rekindled memories and saw how much the base had changed up to this, its 70th year.

The group enjoyed a windscreen tour of the base that highlighted not just the base’s heritage but also its significant recent development.

They visited key units such as 24 Squadron, Aircraft Research and Development Unit, and 92 Wing – units that have a long history with the base.

Hands-on aspects of the tour involved a Pilatus PC-21 from the Aircraft Research and Development Unit, as well as the new 92 Wing aircraft maintenance facility.

They also enjoyed morning tea in the officers’ mess, connecting and sharing stories with today’s veterans.

All the Air Force Association – South Australia division veterans had spent time at RAAF Base Edinburgh, either at initial military training or at 24 Squadron, 92 Wing or Aircraft Research and Development Unit.

Three of those who attended served at Edinburgh in the 1950s, shortly after the base was opened by Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, on 22 March 1954.

For 95-year-old Kevin White, the visit was particularly special as he had served at two bases – RAAF Mallala in the 1950s and RAAF Edinburgh in the 1960s and 1970s.

Many of the group, including Rex Reddacliff, had not been to Edinburgh in several decades and were astonished by how much the base had changed.

However, they could also see many common buildings, the same hangars and flightline, and the same enduring roles – such as maritime patrol and aerospace test and development – for which the base has become known.

Mr Reddacliff said he really didn’t know what to expect on this visit.

“After more than 30 years since I was last on the base, I was utterly amazed –  not only at the improvements, but the increase in base responsibilities and how modern it all looks,” he said.

“It is even hard to believe there are still to be many more changes and responsibilities in the coming years.

“Domestic facilities available for single members was also quite an eye-opener.

“I thoroughly enjoyed this visit.”


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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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