22 May 63 – Prime Minister Menzies announced DHC-4/Caribou purchase

Caribou A4-173- South Vietnam

 A4-173 not having the best of days at Ba To, South Vietnam, Aug 66

Caribou A4-173- South Vietnam

Photo Details: The aftermath of the accident pictured above left is described in “The RAAF in Vietnam” by Chris Coulthard-Clark (Australian War Memorial 1995), pp 117-119.

“A party of ground staff was immediately flown in under Wing Commander Melchert, the Commanding Officer, to make an attempt at recovery – an undertaking of considerable urgency since the camp was under direct threat of Viet Cong attack, including from mortar fire. To make A4-173 flyable it was necessary for the team to repair or change the wing, flaps and aileron, engine, propeller and undercarriage, as well as the nose. The essential spares for this work were not available through normal logistic channels, but Sergeant E.G. Allen (an equipment assistant back at Vung Tau) managed to ensure that the replacement parts were obtained; the resourcefulness and initiative shown by this airman were to earn him a mention in despatches.

Ten days later the aircraft was able to be flown back to base by the Commanding Officer, albeit with its undercarriage chained into position.  The perils of this flight were to win Melchert the Distinguished Flying Cross, although – as events proved – the greater perils lay in the aircraft remaining longer at Ba To.  Several clashes had taken place while the RAAF technicians were at the camp (eight enemy being killed during one night), but an attack on the airfield later in the day of A4-173’s departure would have seen its certain destruction.  Return to Vung Tau marked the beginning of six months of hard work by the unit’s engineering staff to get the Caribou fully serviceable again. One of Melchert’s last official duties before handing over command to Squadron Leader A.J. Fookes in March 1967 was to test fly A4-173 after its restoration.”

A4-173 at the Queensland Air Museum, Oct 16

Caribou A4-173- Queensland Air Museum

On this day, Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies announced an order for 18 de Havilland Canada DHC-4/Caribou to replace the DC-3/C-47 in RAAF service.  Originally 12 aircraft were ordered with the intention of buying a number of Chinook helicopters; however, when the Chinooks were not going to be available for some years, the Caribou order was increased to 18 and, later, increased again to 29.   Under the purchase contract, the de Havilland company provided training for the first crews at at its airfield in Toronto, Canada after which No 38 Squadron at RAAF Richmond assumed responsibility.   No 38 Squadron’s first CO, WGCDR T.S. Fairbairn, flew the RAAF’s first Caribou familiarisation sortie on 18 February 1964 and, five weeks later, the first three aircraft departed Toronto for Richmond via Gander (Newfoundland), Lajes (Portugal), Gibraltar, Luqa (Malta), Al Adem (Libya), Khartoum, Aden, Al Masirah (Trucial Coast), Karachi, Calcutta, Butterworth, Jakarta, Darwin and Alice Springs.  Some later deliveries were diverted to Vietnam; as an example of the flight duration, A4-173 flew from Toronto to Vung Tau (via a similar route described) during the period 23 July – 29 August 1964, accruing a total flight time of 89 hours and 20 minutes.

A copy of the Prime Minister’s speech is available here: http://pmtranscripts.pmc.gov.au/release/transcript-748

RTFV/35SQN has now got facebook!

Follow our Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/rtfv35sqn/

Closed Chat Group!! Click the link below to join! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1057919401025931/?source_id=882066381932900

Wallaby Airlines Lunch Meetup

Hi Everyone,

Don’t forget about the Wallaby Airlines Lunch Meetup.

At Jade Buddha Bar & Kitchen on the Second Thursday of Each Month.

Click the link to register: http://radschool.org.au/Lunch%20Club/

Check out our facebook page! Follow it to be added to the closed discussion group to keep in touch and find us when for the next lunch meetup!

Look forward to seeing you there!


The Gross Denial of Defence Force Superannuation and Invalid Benefits

Hi Everyone,

This is a must watch by ALL who either served or their relatives served from 1965 on wards.

I and many others have been campaigning for many many years ( I from 1991 ) to have the Government rectify their theft of Military Superannuation Entitlements.

At this time, my Super has been reduced by 50% of entitlement.  If that happened in any other walk of life eg unions, politicians etc., all hell would break loose.

Tony Horsington

DFRDB Presentation – Executive Summary

RAAF Caribous Service Periods in Vietnam by Periods

C3192 Caribou

Hi Everyone,

We have been contacted by Wayne Buser from USA. He has asked for some help from 35 Squadron.

He has a web site about the de Havilland Caribou and Buffalo aircraft  www.dhc4and5.org. And also a section on the RAAF Caribous  – have a look when you get a chance:  http://www.dhc4and5.org/http://www.dhc4and5.org/Caribou_Photos.html 

Wayne has added 11 photos of a RAAF Caribou he took at the 1999 Downunder Airshow in Avalon and that started his RAAF section. Over the years many people from Australia have sent him photos and data.

Some of you may have info about the RTV/35 Squadron time in Vietnam. Wayne is redoing the RAAF section and hope to do a section on the RTV/35Squadron. He has also made a time line for the Caribous in Vietnam (attached PDF file). If you have time to contribute please verify the data the Wayne has entered. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PDF RAAF Caribous in Vietnam PDF

If you know of any members of the RTV/35 Squadron who may have photos of data I would like to get in contact. I am happy to credit them for the photo or data.

Wayne is a Vietnam Vet who serviced in Vietnam in 1963 and 65. He is also the historian for the Army Otter and Caribou Association.

In the later 90’s Wayne worked in Canberra for the Hughes Aircraft Company.

Again, any help provided would be much appreciated.

Warm Regards,



ANZAC Day Order Of March & Event Info & Accommodation Information


Make sure you register via our Events page.  CLICK HERE

Attached find the Administrative instruction, containing the Order of March, and Map for the 2018 Brisbane Anzac Day Parade for your notification. Group 5 forms up in both George Street & Mary Street. These items, in addition to the Road closures and March protocols are also available on the website – click the link below:

Click Here for ANZAC DAY Parade Information from South QLD RSL

This is the order of march. ANZAC Day – Order of March

Celebrations @ Jade Buddha Cost: $30
$30 Entry Includes:

  • Lucky door entry ticket
  • Food & Discounted Drinks
  • Schooners $5.00
  • Wine $5.00
  • Spirits at Full bar prices
  • Entertainment ETC

Click Here for ACCOMMODATION @ OAKS on Felix Street

(Jeeps will take you from Cnr Elizabeth & Creek Street to top of Elizabeth St)