We started marching together here in Brisbane on ANZAC Day 1993 as 35 Sqn/RTFV. Then after that march we formed an ANZAC Day march committee to attend parade meetings and organise the after march function every year. As the number of marchers increased every year, the “committee” decided to ask our fellow marchers, would they wish to form as association, and on ANZAC Day 1997, 35 SQUADRON/RTFV ASSOCIATION was formed. On ANZAC Day 1998, it was agreed by the newly elected committee and fellow members of our Association to change the name to RTFV/35 SQUADRON ASSOCIATION.
No. 35 Squadron was formed at RAAF Base Pearce on 11 March 1942. Initially flying only within Western Australia and later to cover all of Australia and New Guinea from August 1943. It also flew the south west Pacific following the Japanese surrender in August 1945. No. 35 Squadron flew Australian soldier and ex-prisoners home in early 1946. It supported No. 81 wing as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. The Squadron was disbanded at Townsville on 10 June 1946.
In 1964, the Australian Government decided to deploy an Australian transport unit to Vietnam. The first of the rugged RAAF DHC-4A Caribou aircraft. Three of these aircraft (A4-171, -179 and -185) were diverted direct to Vietnam, arriving Vung Tau on 8 August 1964. The first deployment to Vietnam was known as RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam. RTFV -35Sqn. used the call-sign “Wallaby’ and later became known as “Wallaby Airlines”.
On 1 June 1966 it was redesignated No. 35 Squadron at Vung Tau in South Vietnam. The aircraft that No. 35 Squadron operated were Fox Moth (1942 -1943), de Havilland Dragon (1942 -1943), de Havilland Moth Minor (1942 -1943), Fairey Battle (1942 -1943), de Havilland Tiger Moth (1942 -1943), Avro Anson (1942 -1943), de Havilland Dragon Rapide (1942 -1943), Northrop Delta (1942 -1943), Douglas Dakota (1943 -1946), de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou (1966 – 2000), Bell UH-1 Iroquois (1977 – 1989).
There has always been rivalry between all three military services but as for me, I now wave a flag of truce as I reflect on days gone by in peace and war. There are so many memories, the reliable and beloved Huey helicopter, the seemingly vulnerable Spartan patrol boats and then of course those magnificent …
As the RAAF is planning to demob Caribous it is an appropriate time that the origins of “Wallaby” are explained. The like most tales of origins the name “Wallaby” Airlines was a combination of different events. To the best of my recollections this is how the nameless form; a name which later became famous in …
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