Home' Air Force News : February 17th 2010 Contents 23
February 17, 2011
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A VETERAN from WWII, Korea and
Vietnam, AIRCDRE David Hitchins
(ret'd), died on January 18.
David Hitchins was born in
Katanning, Western Australia, on
January 13, 1923.
He enlisted in the RAAF on
February 1, 1942.
After completing his flying train-
ing at RAAF Base East Sale and con-
verting to Beaufort torpedo bombers,
he was posted to 100SQN at Milne
Bay where he flew anti-submarine and
anti-shipping strikes and bombings of
Japanese land targets.
After the war the then FLGOFF
Hitchins was posted to 33SQN flying
C-47 Dakotas before posting to Port
Moresby where he flew Catalinas with
111FLT (Air Sea Rescue).
In March 1947, he posted to Japan
and during this tour flew into Nanking,
China, to evacuate Australian Embassy
staff as communist troops prepared to
overrun the city.
After the Korean War broke
out, the then FLTLT Hitchins flew
transport aircraft, resupplying cru-
cial bombs and rockets for 77SQN
Mustangs and returning to Japan with
wounded soldiers. He earned high
regard from 77SQN's fighter pilots as
he flew large cargoes of high explo-
sives into the Taegu valley, all within
the range of North Korean artillery
and frequently while under fire from
After returning to Australia in June
1951, he posted to 34SQN to pilot
Governor-General Sir William Slim's
aircraft before postings to a range
of duties, including 38SQN and the
Department of Air in 1956.
That was followed by a posting to
Britain (as SQNLDR) as CO 24SQN
(RAF) in 1957, and from 1964-67, he
commanded 36SQN as WGCDR and
flew into Vietnam.
From 1968-70, he held administra-
tive posts at Headquarters Operational
Command (as GPCAPT), then was
OC of RAAF Base Amberley from
1971-72 and OC of RAAF Base
Darwin from 1973-75.
AIRCDRE Hitchins' final posting
was as OC of RAAF Base Pearce from
1976 (as AIRCDRE) to his retirement
on February 14, 1978.
During his retirement, he worked
with Legacy assisting war widows,
taught painting and also contrib-
uted to the construction of the Air
Force Memorial on Anzac Parade in
Information for this obituary provided by
SQNLDR Jim Pritchard, Military Services
Officer, DCO Hunter.
CPL Zenith King
AFTER 14 months of construc-
tion at a cost of $4.5 million,
the refurbished Hall of Valour
at the Australian War Memorial
(AWM) re-opened to the public
on December 24.
On display are 66 of the 98
Victoria Cross medals, including
the two British VC recipients,
Australia's highest military hon-
our awarded for valour during
war.AWM spokeswoman Debra
Holland said that it was not con-
sidered effective to present the
VCs as a single mass as this pro-
vided no opportunity to develop
"Each VC is identical in
design; it was considered nec-
essary to concentrate on the
individuals, exploits and events
in seeking links to provide logical
groupings," she said.
"The decision was made to
group the VCs chronologically
by war, and then campaign or
"The final exhibition includes
21 chronological groups or
sections. The VC recipients
within each group or section are
arranged in order of date of VC
Ms Holland said that more
than 1300 hours of conservation
work had gone into the med-
als and ribbons by memorial
specialists in textile and objects
The stories of the Australian
VC recipients that line the walls
of the Hall of Valour date back
to Australia's first recipient,
Sir Neville Howse, who was a
lieutenant when he received the
accolade in 1900.
The Hall of Valour will be offi-
cially re-opened later this month.
Hitchins served the Air
Force with distinction
for 36 years. He is
pictured here as OC of
RAAF Base Pearce in
1976. Photo: RAAF Museum
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