Home' Air Force News : March 1st 2012 Contents INQUIRY INTO UNRESOLVED RECOGNITION FOR PAST ACTS
OF NAVAL AND MILITARY GALLANTRY AND VALOUR
The Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal (the Tribunal) is directed to
inquire into and report on the appropriate recognition for specific acts of gallantry
or valour perfor med by the following naval and military personnel:
Gunner Albert Neil (Neale) Cleary - Ar my
Midshipman Robert Ian Davies - Navy
Leading Cook Francis Bassett Em ms - Navy
Lieutenant David John Hamer - Navy
Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick - Ar my
Lieutenant Commander Robert William Rankin - Navy
Able Seaman Dalmorton Joseph Owendale Rudd - Navy
Ordinary Seaman Edward Sheean - Navy
Leading Aircrewman Noel Er vin Shipp - Navy
Lieutenant Commander Francis Edward Smith - Navy
Lieutenant Commander Hen ry Hugh Gordon Stoker - Royal Navy
Leading Seaman Ronald Taylor - Navy
Captain Hector Macdonald Laws Waller - Navy
The Tribunal is directed to make recom mendations on the eligibility of the naval
and military members, as listed, to be awarded the Victoria Cross, the Victoria
Cross for Australia or other forms of appropriate recognition for their gallantry or
The Tribunal is conducting public hearings to hear evidence in relation to this
matter. The following hearings will be conducted in March 2012.
Brisbane -- Tuesday 13 March 2012 commencing at 1pm at the Royal on the Park,
Cor ner of Alice and Albert Streets, Brisbane.
Canber ra -- Wednesday 14 March 2012 commencing at 9am at the Alastair Swayn
Theatre, 35 Brindabella Circuit, Brindabella Business Park, Canberra.
After a preliminary consideration of the submissions received concerning the
naval and military members listed above, the Tribunal has invited a number of
those who have made written submissions to appear as witnesses at these hearings.
Interested members of the public are invited to attend the Tribunal's hearings.
For administrative purposes, please register your interest in attending by
contacting the Tribunal via telephone
(02) 6266 3486 or e-mail DHA.Tribu nal@ defence.gov.au.
The ter ms of reference for this inquiry can be obtained by reviewing the Tribunal
website at: www.defence-honours-tribunal.gov.au
March 1, 2012
Bombing of Darwin
LEUT Peter Croce
BRIAN Winspear can still remem-
ber being the first man to emerge
on the battered RAAF Base Darwin
airfield after the first attacks on the
town on February 19, 1942.
FSGT Winspear, now 92 and
living in Tasmania, was in Darwin
as a member of 2SQN when 188
Japanese aircraft attacked the town,
resulting in the loss of about 250
lives, 10 ships and 30 aircraft.
Having returned from Timor
with a load of ground staff, he was
at the airfield during the raid and
took shelter in a trench while hang-
ars were attacked about 50m away.
During a second raid, he also
experienced near misses and with
many others took shelter in the
Afterwards, he helped quell the
many blazing buildings.
"You could clearly see the faces
on the Japanese pilots as they came
flying in and started attacking,"
"I was probably the first person
to get up and see the damage soon
after the raids. Nobody was man-
ning the fire engines and I ended up
putting out a bit of a fire in the post
As a special gift to the Air
Force veteran, the Joint Task Force
639 detachment at Darwin took the
former navigator for a tour of an
Deputy Commander JTF639
AIRCDRE Ken Watson, a former
navigator on the AP-3C, said it was
"Though the climate might be
similar to 70 years ago, certainly
the aircraft have changed and I am
sure Brian got a thrill out of sitting
in the cockpit of the Orion -- I don't
think he really wants to leave,"
AIRCDRE Watson said.
"It is great that he could share
his story with us and it's up to the
Air Force, Navy and Army per-
sonnel to ensure that stories like
Brian's are remembered and shared
to preserve those special moments
in our history."
Dressed in his 68-year-old
uniform, which still fit perfectly,
Brian said the Air Force looked
after him beautifully throughout the
"The tour of the Orion and base
were fantastic," Brian said.
"This was the first time I've
been back to Darwin in 70 years. It
certainly has grown since then."
He enjoyed the re-enactment
and festivities throughout the
"People forget and some have
not even been taught about the air-
crew that died protecting Darwin,"
"My motto for the event was
'don't forget to remember'."
Brian initially joined the Air
Force in the RAAF Reserve in
1939. He became a wireless air-
gunner in light Hudson bombers,
an extremely dangerous posting
because Hudsons were a pre-war
twin-engine passenger aircraft and
were easy prey for roving Japanese
He fought on during the war in
missions emanating from Australia.
After commissioning as an
officer, he continued his training in
Australia and then posted to New
Guinea for the remainder of the war.
Brian lives in Hobart with his
SEE THE DIFFERENCE: Former WWII navigator Brian Winspear recounted his days flying in the
cockpit as he sat in an AP-3C alongside FLGOFF Justin Hayter.
Photo: CPL Andrew Eddie
TALES TO TELL: Above, in his original
RAAF uniform, Brian Winspear, centre, was
given the VIP treatment from a 92WG AP-3C
crew deployed on Operation Resolute in
Darwin, who took time to share stories and
experiences with him. From left, WOFF Paul
Cheek, FLTLT Troy Holmes, AIRCDRE Ken
Watson, SQNLDR Brett Williams, WOFF Ron
Day and FLGOFF Justin Hayter.
Photo: CPL Andrew Eddie
REMINDER: Above, Brian Winspear with a Vultee
Vengeance dive bomber in 1943; left, looking
down the barrel ... "People forget and some have
not even been taught about the aircrew that died
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