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Aerogram December 2014
The Museum hosted a couple of visiting aircraft recently.
The first was Corsair owned by Graham Hosking. The
aircraft had been restored to airworthy condition in Darwin
and stayed for a couple of weeks at Point Cook on its way
from Darwin via Alice Springs, Cowra and Point Cook to
Tyabb. Whilst at Point Cook the Museum was able to have
the aircraft participate in our Interactive Flying display on
Sunday 26 October (see page 25). The crowd of >1500
visitors who attended the Museum on the day were treated
to wonderful flying demonstrations not only by the Corsair,
piloted by Peter Clements, but also a PC-9 aerobatic
demonstration by Roulette Solo from East Sale. In early
November a Fokker Dr1Triplane replica dropped in for an
overnighter at the Museum – and brought back memories
of the Triplane operated by the Museum some time ago.
The aircraft had flown down from Queensland to participate
in the Avalon Airshow media day. The Museum Sopwith Pup
also participated in that media day.
The Museum hosted the Friends’ annual George Merz
Memorial Lecture in the Tech Hangar on 21 November. It
was quite a fitting venue being held adjacent to UH-1B
1020 particularly when the theme of the evening was ‘RAAF
UH-1 Iroquois in Vietnam”. The evening was well attended
and the Museum has received laudatory comments on the
venue, speakers and presentations. The Editor will give a
coverage in this Aerogram (see page 31).
I haven’t missed the Curatorial section. They have been
busy finishing the Aircraft Life Support Equipment display.
This display will be ready for February. In addition to this
they are planning and preparing the Avalon ground display
which, as previously mentioned, will present a WW I display
of aircraft and memorabilia. The Air Power Development
Centre will complement the Museum’s display with short
lectures and historical footage and images.
In November the Museum experienced a difficult period of
no cleaners for almost a month as a result of a contract
changeover. Staff and Volunteers ‘mucked in’ and carried
out cleaning duties to ensure the Museum provided that
expected professional image to the visiting public. The
cleaning of the Museum has been resolved but requires a
bit of fine tweaking to get back to the old procedures.
Thanks again to those Volunteers who provided that
additional elbow grease when the chips were down.
The Museum recently
received a DFC* group of
medals which belonged to the
late Wing Commander Derek
Jack French. Flying Officer
French was the first
Australian airman to receive
the DFC in World War II.
Derek French was born in
Brunswick and joined the
RAAF in 1935. He completed
his pilot training at Point Cook
before being sent to the UK
prior to the outbreak of World
War II to fly with No.50
Squadron RAF, initially in
Hawk and Hind biplanes. At
the outbreak of war, he was
given less than four hours
night flying experience before
being sent into action in
March 1940 on Bomber
Command’s first night attack against Hornum, a German
seaplane base. Derek French survived an amazing 41/2
operational tours with five different squadrons in Europe,
Asia and the Middle East and was wounded several times.
He had a small kangaroo painted on his aircraft after each
raid with an RAAF squadron. French was a forthright
individual who was unafraid to express an opinion to a
superior officer which led to clashes with higher authority,
but was a superb pilot who was held in the highest regard
by his crews. This acquisition is a valuable addition to the
ever-increasing RAAF Heritage Collection.
A Fokker Dr1 made an overnight stay at the Museum, having
been flown all the way from Queensland. Point Cook was selected
as an alternative landing ground as a grass strip was not available
at Avalon on the day
While on aeroplanes, the Boxkite starred again by having a
number of souvenir envelopes in the back seat recently. Air
Marshal Errol McCormack (Retd) sought Museum
assistance in having the envelopes photographed in the
Boxkite as they had been flown in an F-35, and to finish off
2014 as the centenary of military aviation the envelopes
came to Point Cook. I believe that a limited number of
these envelopes are being sold through Australia Post.
Commemorative envelope for Centenary of Military Aviation
and Submarines package of envelopes in back seat of the
RAAF Museum’s Bristol Boxkite
Flying Officer Derek French
at Buckingham Palace to
receive his DFC
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