Home' Air Force News : December 10th 2009 Contents 27
AIR FORCE December 10, 2009
No matter how you slice it--
the difference is real.
With 247,750 hours of
combat flight in five years,
Insitu's ScanEagle is a
proven success. Now our
technologically mature, user-
evolved Integrator ---continues
our tradition of providing the
Australian Defence Force with
the best UAS resources possible.
When lives are on the line,
07.3613.9400 | www.insitupacific.com
Field Proven. Field Focused.
4SQN shows path
for FAC future
A UNIQUE piece of Air Force history
was created after 4SQN stood up for the
fourth time on July 3 this year.
It was the first time since WWI that 2,
3 and 4SQNs had all served together and,
now, all from the same airfield.
4SQN has three main roles: to pro-
vide a Forward Air Control (FAC) air-
borne capability; to provide a platform to
assist ADF Joint Tactical Air Controllers
(JTAC) conduct training in a cost effective
manner; and to support other Air Combat
Group assets in the conduct of close air
support training missions.
CO WGCDR Dave Paddison said Air-
land integration had been an important
component of the Australian war-fight-
ing ethos since WWI and "4SQN had an
important role as it would link the effects
of air power with surface operations".
4SQN will deliver the JTAC training to
the ADF that was previously done by the
Forward Air Control Development Unit.
This training is critical to providing close
air support as JTAC personnel deploy for-
ward with ground units, integrating offen-
sive air support into their operations.
4SQN has also gained an operational
role as its new special tactics capability
has personnel deploying forward to inte-
grate air power to support joint operations.
4SQN stood up on October 6, 1916
and commenced combat in France in
January 1918. With the cessation of
hostilities, it returned to Australia and
disbanded on June 16, 1919.
In 1936, 4SQN reformed but was
renumbered 6SQN on January 1,
With the outbreak of WWII, 4SQN
reformed at Richmond on June 17,
1940, and by November 1942 was
deployed forward to New Guinea as an
Army co-operation unit.
In November 1945, 4SQN returned
to Australia. On March 7, 1948, it was
renamed 3 Tactical Reconnaissance
Squadron and 4SQN as an entity
ceased to exist.
By Peter Johnson
THE latest chapter in the re-
markable story of French orphan
Henri Hemene (Digger) Tovell
was written at Fawkner cemetery
in Melbourne on November 29.
The restored gravesite of Henri,
smuggled back to Australia by
4SQN from France after WWI, was
re-dedicated by Air Force chaplain
SQNLDR Keith Lanyon.
A German bombardment
orphaned young Henri, who after
wandering homeless, reached 4SQN
on Christmas Day 1918.
Air mechanic Tim Tovell smug-
gled him to Australia with the
knowledge of the squadron officers,
including CAPT George Jones, later
Sir George Jones KBE, CB, DFC,
Chief of the Air Staff 1942-1952.
Smuggled from France to
England in 1919, Henri was spirited
aboard the troopship bringing the
squadron home in a sack contain-
ing loaves of bread, and was later
adopted by Tovell and his wife in
He wanted to join the RAAF but
had to wait until he could be natu-
ralised at the age of 21. He became
a civilian apprentice mechanic
at Point Cook but was killed in
a motorbike accident outside the
Windsor Hotel on May 23, 1928.
Members of the Tovell family,
the Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Alan Griffin, and serving and
former members of 4SQN, attended
the re-dedication ceremony.
CO 4SQN WGCDR David
Paddison said the compassion
shown to those less fortunate was
still a trait present in the modern
Mr Griffin said the men of
4SQN displayed ingenuity, courage,
larrikinism and mateship, all quali-
ties associated with the Anzac leg-
end. He congratulated the Air Force
Association, Victoria, for helping
to keep this fascinating story alive
by restoring and re-dedicating the
The Association flew Henri's
adoptive sister, Ms Edith Lock, now
aged 89, and her niece, Sally Elliot,
down from Queensland. Niece
Marilyn Elliot also came from
Queensland, and nephew Rick and
his wife Carol came from country
Before the service, Ms Lock
kissed a bouquet of roses then
placed it on the grave. She said the
re-dedication was one of the hap-
piest occasions in her life and the
memory would remain with her for-
President of the Association,
Peter Colliver; Peter Hammond,
representing the Deputy
Commissioner for Veterans' Affairs;
WOFF Gina Goninon, represent-
ing Commander Air Force Training
Group; and CO 21SQN SQNLDR
Marcelle Mitting, also attended.
No volley was fired at Henri's
funeral nor the Last Post sounded
because he was not a member of the
Air Force. However, his coffin bore
Australian Flying Corps colours,
uniformed airmen were pall bear-
ers, and an Air Force wagon and
trailer took the coffin to Fawkner
4SQN members raised money
for a sandstone memorial through
a public appeal. The Air Force
Association, Victoria, instituted
a renovation project, aided by a
Department of Veterans' Affairs
contribution. The dilapidated sand-
stone memorial was removed and
a new granite ledger placed over
Henri's resting place.
Ms Lock approved the inscrip-
tion, which included words his
adopted father had wanted on the
SAFE: Far left,
Tim Hovell and
the bread sack
in which Henri
Left, a group
of 4SQN pilots
front the camera
in France in
IN HENRI'S HONOUR: From left, CO 4SQN WGCDR Dave Paddison, Ms Edith Lock and Minister for
Veterans' Affairs Alan Griffin at Henri Tovell's restored grave site in Melbourne. Photo: SGT Dave Grant
They can be deployed into austere,
denied locations and to do so they are
required to train with Special Operations
Command. They have a number of spe-
cialist air skills including controlling air-
craft conducting close air support in a high
threat environment. Further development
of their roles will enable them to conduct
landing zone reconnaissance in a denied
environment in support of air operations.
Commander Air Combat Group
AIRCDRE Neil Hart said: "As modern
air power continues to develop, 4SQN has
an important role to play in the education
and training of personnel on the integra-
tion of new air power. Additionally, as the
new systems become more complex, it is
equally important that specialists exist to
ensure the integration is done effectively.
This is the role of the special tactics per-
4SQN is playing a role in the opera-
tional test and evaluation of the Super
Hornet and, as other new systems enter the
inventory (including the replacement of
the PC-9), its tempo will remain high.
PRIZES: 4SQN and Army members
examine two captured Japanese
swords in New Guinea in WWII.
Photo: courtesy 4SQN
4SQN's grand heritage
Links Archive November 26th 2009 February 4th 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page