Home' Air Force News : July 21st 2011 Contents 19
July 21, 2011
FIFTY-FIVE years after a group of teen-
agers started their Air Force careers at
RAAF Base Wagga, members from the
group have come together for a reunion.
The group call itself the Rosebuds.
On January 23, 1956, 170 teenag-
ers aged between 15 and 17 started
with No. 10 Engineering Apprentices
and No. 5 Junior Equipment and
Administrative Trainees (JEAT) at the
RAAF School of Technical Training at
RAAF Base Wagga.
Recently, 52 of them and their part-
ners celebrated at a reunion hosted by
2SQN at RAAF Base Williamtown.
The celebrations included a tour of
the base and inspections of Wedgetail,
Hornet and Hawk aircraft.
Former armament fitter Ted
Arnason, who served for 39 years, was
delighted to see so many old colleagues
"We have held 30, 45, 50 and now
55-year reunions," Mr Arnason said.
"Our camaraderie is really strong,
although a few members have passed
away in recent years and that is sad.
"It was fantastic to spend time with
serving members and to see the advanced
aircraft. There is not much left from our
days here but it was still familiar and real-
ly nostalgic to be back on the base."
Of the graduates of the 1956 intake,
about a quarter were commissioned and
most of those who served for 20 years
or more became WOFFs.
The Rosebuds are now making plans
to celebrate their 60th anniversary.
AN AIR Force legend who flew more
than 100 combat missions against the
Japanese and Germans in WWII was
laid to rest with full military honours on
Former AIRCDRE Keith Parsons
died on June 27, just one day short of
his 97th birthday.
His funeral service was held in the
chapel at the Berry's funeral home in
Chaplain FLTLT Mark Kleemann
led the service and members from
RAAF Base Edinburgh formed an hon-
our guard and acted as pallbearers.
Keith Parsons was born in Tasmania
on June 28, 1914, and joined the Air
Force in 1935.
His first duties were as an instruc-
tor, teaching students on the Tiger Moth
training aircraft and later on the B-24
From December 16, 1942 to March
7, 1944, the then WGCDR Parsons
commanded 7SQN flying Beaufort
bombers out of Townsville, although
the squadron had detachments at Horn
island and Wards Strip. The squadron
was involved in action against Japanese
ground, air and naval forces, including
the damaging or possibly sinking of at
least one submarine.
WGCDR Parsons was awarded the
Distinguished Flying Cross for his cour-
age, hard work and devotion to duty.
In 1944, he was posted to the RAF's
Bomber Command and from October
to December 1944 he commanded
460SQN, flying missions against targets
in Nazi-occupied Europe. During this
time he almost lost his life after another
Lancaster collided with his at 19,000
feet. The crew baled out but just as he
touched the ground his badly-torn para-
He was promoted to GPCAPT and
commanded RAF Station Binbrook in
Lincolnshire for the remainder of the
war.After the war, he returned to
Australia and held a number of sen-
ior positions, including as Air Attaché
Washington and OC RAAF (now
RMAF) Base Butterworth.
He was promoted to AIRCDRE in
1961 and retired in 1969.
Speaking at his funeral, command-
er Aerospace Operational Support
Group AIRCDRE Noel Derwort said
THE Office of Air Force History's travelling art
exhibition, Our Art, Your Heritage, was a big hit at
the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne between
March 25 and May 28.
Manager Exhibitions and Collections Neil Sharkey
estimates the exhibition was seen by more than
Mounted as a key item of the Air Force's 90th anni-
versary, the exhibition comprised 13 paintings from
the office's collection.
It was opened on March 24 by then CAF AIRMSHL
"Deputy Air Force Historian Gregory Gilbert also
gave an informative and entertaining talk examining
many of the exhibition's themes," Mr Sharkey said.
"A public program to coincide with the exhibi-
tion took place on April 5 when Air Force historian
Chris Clark gave a public lecture on the history of the
service. The lecture was attended by 62 people, the
second largest turnout for a public lecture in the month
"The Office of Air Force History provided us with
4800 copies of the exhibition catalogue. More than
3000 were souvenired by exhibition visitors."
Mr Sharkey said that the exhibition was an excellent
opportunity for showcasing the Air Force art collection
and raising awareness of the importance of the 90th
anniversary this year.
"The Shrine is always keen to keep the Air Force
in the thoughts of our visitors, highlighting its tech-
nology and traditions, the many ways its members
have served in it have served the nation, and the
stories of its exploits and triumphs over the past 90
years," he said.
The artworks are now back on display in Air Force
Final salute to
AIRCDRE Parsons was a man who had
led by example.
"He showed great courage and lead-
ership throughout his 34 years in the
Royal Australian Air Force," AIRCDRE
AIRCDRE Parsons' other honours
and awards included appointment as a
Commander in the Order of the British
Empire, the Distinguished Service
Order and Air Force Cross.
Air Force art hits mark
FOND FAREWELL: Members from RAAF Base Edinburgh
salute AIRCDRE Keith Parsons' casket as it is taken from the
Photo: CPL Glen McCarthy
55th reunion of Rosebuds
From left, Al Meizer, Ian
West, Laurie Dicker, Dave
Cornish, Rod Garrett
and Ted Arneson at the
Rosebuds' 55th year
reunion at RAAF Base
Photo: CPL Clint McKay
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