Home' Air Force News : March 31st 2011 Contents 11
90TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
March 31, 2011
Engines: Four Allison turboprop
Combat range: 5100km
Load: 128 troops, 74 paratroops, carg
A dent left in a hangar by CAPT
Thomas White in 1914 remains a
bumpmark in history
HANGAR P95 at RAAF Base
Point Cook is unique among the
multitude of hangars in the Air
That's because it has a dent in
the gable above the central part
of the front sliding doors which
has been there since 1914 and is
not allowed to be fixed or touched
up, although the hangar itself has
In essence it is a heritage listed
dent, possibly the only one in
Now why would a dent be her-
itage listed, you ask?
Located on the southern tarmac
near the ocean, it has historical
significance dating back to the
first days of the Australian Flying
Corps and the RAAF.
RAAF Museum director David
Gardner said it was CAPT Thomas
White who caused the dent by
flying his Bristol Boxkite into the
side of the hangar in 1914.
"It happened on September 11,
1914," he said.
"What was routine in those
days was for the pilot to bring his
aircraft in close to the hangar on
a windy day and the maintainers
would run out and do what was
called 'wing walks' and give the
pilot a hand down.
"He came in too high and too
fast and hit the hangar straight on.
He ended up walking away."
Mr Gardner said CAPT White
"It just goes to show, you have
to bend an aeroplane to get pro-
CPL AARON CURRAN
THE Air Force's 90th anniver-
sary celebrations are set for
a fitting climax on March 31
with the scheduled arrival of 58
warbird and antique aeroplanes
at RAAF Base Point Cook.
It is part of an air pilgrim-
age, which was to start at the
Temora Aviation Museum on
March 28 with stopping points
at Tocumwal and Ballarat.
Many of Australia's iconic
military and civilian aircraft,
representing decades of avia-
tion history, were scheduled to
They included a Wirraway,
a Temora Aviation Museum
Spitfire, a P-51 Mustang, a
Hudson bomber and a Catalina
They were joined by train-
ing aircraft over the eras from
the Avro Cadet and Tiger Moth,
along with the Winjeel and the
Other aircraft included an
Auster used for artillery spotting
and vintage civilian passenger
Each of the stops en route is
important in Air Force history.
See next edition for full coverage.
still standing tall
A SMALL but important piece of
Air Force history is still standing in a
lonely and quiet corner of RAAF Base
Affectionately known as the
Caretaker's Cottage, the five-room
house was built between 1914 and
1915 when Central Flying School was
established at Point Cook for the care-
taker of the fledgling airfield.
The cost was £553.
William Lord and his family were
the first occupants of the cottage.
Mr Lord's sons, Will and Hector,
became air mechanics in the first Half
Flight of the Australian Flying Corps
RAAF Museum director David
Gardner knows the cottage intimately.
As an Air Force WOFF posted
to the museum as its curator, he
and his family lived there for 10
years until 1997 -- the last to do so.
"We brought our two children
up in it and they had a ball," Mr
"The two families who were in
it before me were both curators,
so in effect it became the curator's
He said it was a great and beauti-
ful old house which was well looked
after when he lived there.
"It is just an unbelievable place,"
"It was an honour to look after it
and I would move back in tomorrow
if I could."
CPL AARON CURRAN
OOPS: Sir Thomas White,
pictured above in his official
portrait at the RAAF Museum,
was born in 1888 in Melbourne.
The then CAPT White was a
serving officer in the Militia
when he was accepted for
the first pilots' course at Point
He became the second student
pilot to gain his wings and
proceeded to Mesopotamia
(now Iraq) with the Half
Flight as an Australian Flying
Corps officer. During a
reconnaissance flight in 1915
he was captured by the Turks
after his aircraft force landed
near Baghdad. He eventually
escaped to England via Russia
MARK IN TIME: RAAF Museum director David Gardner outside Hangar
P95 at Point Cook with the heritage listed dent that was caused when
Sir Thomas Walter White crashed his Bristol Boxkite (shown in black and
white photo) into it in 1914.
Photo: CPL Aaron Curran
Avro the first in a very long line
WHAT was the
RAAF's first aircraft?
All evidence sug-
gests it was the Avro
Britain gave several
different types of air-
craft to Australia.
They included the
Avro 504K, De
Havilland DH9 and
DH9A and SE5a,
and a number of each type were
uncrated and entered service with
However, the Avro 504K was
already in service at Point Cook
since 1918 and obviously those
aircraft would also become part of
the RAAF fleet.
The Avro 504K was a two-seat
trainer modified from the highly-
out the first
ing raid of
September 1914. Today, the only
Avro 540K left is in the Australian
War Memorial collection,
although an airworthy replica is
operated by the RAAF Museum.
ONLY ONE: The Avro 504K, shown above on display at the Australian
War Memorial, and inset at Point Cook in 1918, was used as a training
aircraft for pilots during WWI.
Photos: LAC Vailis Solomou / RAAF Museum
SPECIAL: The Caretaker's
Cottage is a small but important
historical landmark at Point
Cook. Photo: CPL Aaron Curran
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