Suggy’s Men – Book

Suggy’s Men – Book

July 8, 2020 0


Suggy’s Men – Book $50ea. – Available on Backorder as Fundraising to facilitate the reprint of the revised edition coming out in the next couple of months, early 2022. Includes Postage

Available on backorder

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About late 1968 an article was printed in, I believe, the RAAF Flight Digest about the origin of the callsign “Wallaby” by which RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam and later 35 SQN was identified. As I recall, the article was factually incorrect in a few aspects. At that time, I did not respond. Many years later, at a reunion, Dave Grierson who had written his Vietnam memoirs, issued a challenge to the first group to write a history. After dithering for about a year, I accepted the challenge on behalf of the first “group.” Personally, I thought “Suggy’s Mob” had a better ring to it but I was persuaded to alter the title to “Suggy’s Men.”

With the able assistance (and occasional direction) from Des Lovett and Kev Henderson, we cobbled a history together. Des wrote the chapter on Suggy because he had been Suggy’s copilot during the second ferry. Kev had the experience and contacts to assemble as many details as could be found on the actual formation of RTFV, its mission, structure, and complement. A brief perusal of the documents will show a unique command structure with Sugden being commanded directly by the Air Board and administratively supported by RAAF Base Butterworth. What could have gone wrong? Kev’s research on the complement lead directly to the memorial role being composed. Most members would have received a copy. Some did not because they had expired or just faded into the blue.

My duty was to assemble as many incidents from as wide a group as possible. In my view the experiences of as many men as possible was necessary to detail what had gone on rather than a “bare bones” historian’s view gleaned from monthly reports. Although my task was satisfying, several points need to be made. Those most essential members of RTFV, the ground crew, who contributed the services to maintain the aircraft and the daily flying effort, were mostly modest and often stated they had little to contribute. Many hours were spent coaxing stories from reluctant men. Suddenly, after fifty years, there was an added urgency to assemble the stories and print the book. Members were no longer with us and those that were, often had significant health issues. So, it was print and be damned.

Now the team has been tasked to produce a second edition. There will be more stories, some certainly never told while we were active members of the RAAF. The reasons will become apparent when the second edition is printed. Disappointingly, there are still many events unrecorded because those that knew them are deceased or those that survive believe they have little interest. Every man in RTFV was essential to the total effort and their stories should be told. If you have a story concerning the first group, please get it to Sambo ASAP and certainly before the end of this month. In the main, stories should not include events after Sugden left Vietnam, say, end of 8 April 1965.

Stay safe.

Don Pollock

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