Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Strength in the air: histories of the RAAF cadets and support staff in Wagga Wagga

The Australian Defence Forces have a long history in Wagga Wagga. We have some great Royal Australian Air Force histories in the local studies collection, and here are four studies grouped around the cadet, technical, engineering and other service personnel experience.

From the ground up by C.D Coulthard-Clark

This book starts with a history of how ground staff were trained up to 1945. During the first year of  World War Two the supply of technicians slowed so the RAAF had to advertise extensively for skilled (and then unskilled) people to train. A training structure was established and an intense advertising campaign was run. There is also a chapter on the restructuring of the RAAF in the 1980s.

Above: first intake to the Radio Apprentice School 1948                           Daily Advertiser 1942

12 Squadron Air Training Corps by Christopher McQuelin
I'm including this book on 12 Squadron Air Training Corps because although it is mostly about the Albury training centre, but local Bill Cheney, educated in Wagga Wagga , originally from Humula, is mentioned, and there is some detail about the Wagga Flying School and Training Unit at Forest Hill.

Bill Cheney 

Wombats 50 years on by Ken Stone and Mac Weller

Another comprehensive history of RAAF engineering and support staff  apprentices, this time covering 1958 to 2008. Lavishly illustrated with photographs, anecdotes, and breakdowns of the different trade areas , it gives a real insight into their day to day life in these very important roles. 

No 12 Airframe Fitter Apprentices with a training model 

Us Appies, by Phil Jones, is a compendium of facts, behind the scenes photographs, anecdotes and professional information about the apprentices attending the RAAF School of Technical Training 1966-1968.  This is one of the more well documented histories covering the personal and social aspects of the RAAF apprentices life.

 Books in the local studies collection are available to view within the library. 

                                    Above : images from the Daily Advertiser circa 1942 and 1943

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