Home' Air Force News : August 19th 2010 Contents 5
August 19, 2010
MEMORIES and tears were all the go
when Air Force reformed another iconic
squadron from WWII during a number of
events at "the home of the airman", RAAF
Base Wagga, at the end of July.
31SQN was reformed at Wagga to
assume the duties of the Combat Support
Unit (CSU), which was disbanded. It is
now officially known as No. 31 (City of
Wagga Wagga) Squadron.
A passing-out parade of the latest
graduates from 1 Recruit Training Unit on
July 28, the 70th anniversary of the base
(see page 7) and the 31SQN ceremonial
parade on July 29 combined to add weight
to the occasion.
CAF AIRMSHL Mark Binskin was
the reviewing officer.
The ceremony began with the parading
of the Base Squadron Wagga Governor-
General's Banner. It was followed by a
ceremony where CAF officially signed
over command to the new CO, SQNLDR
Nigel Webster, before the parade marched
off.The reformation of the squadron and
disbandment of the CSU occurred offi-
cially on July 1. However, the ceremony
was delayed until July 29 to coincide with
the 70th anniversary of the base's found-
ing at Wagga.
Speaking at the parade, CAF said it
was an opportunity to acknowledge the
tremendous rapport Air Force enjoys with
the Wagga Wagga community.
"31SQN has a very proud and dis-
tinguished history and it is only fitting
the name and tradition should continue at
RAAF Base Wagga," CAF said.
The spirit of the squadron lives on
today -- demonstrated through the base's
motto 'We Prepare'.
"After 64 years we welcome the
squadron back to its home where its lega-
cy will live on."
SQNLDR Webster said that 10
members of the 31SQN Beaufighter
Association attended the day.
Also in attendance was former VCDF
AIRMSHL Doug Riding (ret'd) whose
father was killed on November 17, 1942
when his Beaufighter crashed into the sea.
CAF's speech included reading a letter
from the first CO, AIRMSHL Sir Charles
Read who was unable to atttend.
After the parade, everyone assembled
in the Sergeants' Mess for an official
morning tea and cake-cutting ceremony.
The formalities over, the veterans were
then given a tour of the new squadron's
headquarters and the base.
SQNLDR Webster said that his squad-
ron members were very proud to be part
of its history.
"I know that they are looking forward
to a close relationship with the associa-
tion," he said.
"Being appointed to command 31SQN
is the proudest moment of my Air Force
career and I only wish that my father
(retired WGCDR Lancelot Webster) was
still alive to see it.
"My 82-year-old mother and eldest
brother attended all the ceremonies and
I know that for my mother in particu-
lar it was a very moving and emotional
time. She made comment that my father
was watching from above and that he was
responsible for keeping the rain away dur-
ing both parades just for me."
WOFF Ken Robertson, who was
the parade WOFF, said the 31SQN
Association members were very proud of
their old squadron being stood up once
"There weren't too many dry eyes
when CAF spoke of his pride in stand-
ing up one of Air Force's proudest WWII
squadrons," he said.
The original 31SQN formed at Wagga
in August, 1942, but deployed north
three months later and was soon in action
against Japanese forces in PNG. It dis-
banded in July 1946.
31SQN is welcomed back home
RIVERINA PRIDE: Above,
CAF AIRMSHL Mark
Binskin is flanked by 31SQN
veterans Jack Anderson
and Fred Anderson at the
reception held after the
official reformation parade
of No. 31 (City of Wagga
Wagga) Squadron at RAAF
Base Wagga. Left, the
escort squadron marches
past AIRMSHL Binskin, who
was the reviewing officer for
the special parade.
Photos: LAC Terry Hartin
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