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Project Outline:

Part 1 is to establish a cataloguing system to record the description of all relevant documents/items, where held and by whom. From 26-28 March 2010, ten AAA volunteers descended on Defence EO Training School (DEOTS) at Orchard Hills to begin the cataloguing process by scanning hundreds of pages of semi-official documents, photos and items held at DEOTS. The AAA doesn’t own any documents or items but we need to know who does and where the originals are kept. The next step is to catalogue materials held by other Gunnies and people. Stand by for further info on that subject.
Part 2 is the real meat of the project and involves researching the material for a book to be published probably in a 3-4 years. We have been advised by the Office of Air Force History (OAFH) that our book would fill a void in the overall RAAF history and that we should try for the RAAF Heritage Award. That means that our document will not look out of place on the OAFH shelves but by taking that route it means that the style and content of the book have to meet the standards (and scrutiny) of the OAFH.
We expect the project to continue to evolve with time but at this stage the leading particulars are set out below.
Working Title“Gunnies – A history of RAAF Armament and Armourers 1921 to 2011”, “How Armament Fitters/Technicians and Armament Officers were trained and employed in the Royal Australian Air Force from 1921 to 2011”
Purpose: to show how Gunnies have contributed to the RAAF warfighting capability from 1921 to present.  We want to highlight the vast array of non-aircraft work that Gunnies did (and still do), of which many ex- and serving RAAF members are unaware. Of course we will also describe what Gunnies did in relation to aircraft EO operations.
Note, the focus of the book will not be on RAAF aircraft, RAAF pilots, RAAF squadrons or RAAF bases. The book will focus on Gunnies working with EO and associated Armament equipment. The aircraft are important but only a means to an end, ie to deliver our EO.
Objectives: seek RAAF Heritage award and publish an authoritative, historical book on Gunnie history.
Target Audience: Military historians; current & ex-RAAF members, particularly ex-Armourers/ Armament Officers/Engineers, families; and persons interested in RAAF and/or Gunnie history.
Scope: Activities of RAAF Armament Fitters/Technicians and Arm Officers from 1921 to 2011 (the first 90 years of the RAAF.)
Approach: Build a skeleton of the document by describing how RAAF Armament activities were conducted, based on official records/references.  The ‘flesh’ will be added using personal accounts from RAAF Armament Fitters/Technicians and Armament Officers who were present at the time. We may also record interviews with selected Gunnies and may build up a collection of oral histories.
Outline of Book Parts/Chapters. The following table is how we see the outline of the parts and chapters of the book.


Description of Contents
Part 1: Armament Personnel
Overview of how were they recruited & trained, 1921-2011
1.1     Airmen/Airwomen
Recruiting, AAFWC/WRAAF, National Service, Fleet Air Arm, TTR, Recruiting from UK/elsewhere
1.2     Officers
Recruiting, DCS/ECS, Recruiting from UK/elsewhere, Direct Entry, From Ranks, from other Categories
Part 2: Armourers at Work in the RAAF – An Historical Overview (The First 90 Years)
Describe how Arm operations changed (or not) over the years
2.1     The Early Years – 31 March 1921 to 1933
21 Offr, 128 Airmen. 128 Gift Acft from RAF. Reliance on RAF, Virtually all RAF EO, EO Inspectors and other Spec Arm trained by RAF. Incremental technology with new acft.
RAAF Bases: Laverton (1921), Richmond (1923)
(Sqn/Base work, training, Arm org, EO Storage? Specialist Arm pers?)
2.2     Expansion to Meet World War – 1934-1939
Recruiting Perm AF vs CAF
Late 1934 Gov announced new funding to build RAAF.
1st Ansons 1936 delivered. Aust Beaufort prodn-1936. Hudsons purch from US.
Switch to RAAF in-house support, new acft & EO.
RAAF Bases: Pearce (1934), Darwin, Archerfield and Rathmines (1939)
9xPAF Sqns formed: 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12, and 14 + 4xCAF Sqns 21, 22, 23 and 25 were either raised or re-raised.
3xB&G Schools, 7xTechTrg & Spec Tech Trg Schools
2.3     World War Two
2.3.1 UK, AU, PNG Ops
2.3.3 Demobbing/Contraction
10SQN pers enroute to UK to get Sunderlands, stayed war in UK Coastal Cmd. Gunnies?
EATS – a’crew to Canada & Africa, then to UK. RAAF moved away from “RAF child” to more of an independent force, moving closer to USAF?
Defence of Aust ops
@ end WWII 173,622 men and women working in 570 Units around the globe, maintaining 5,620 flying aircraft. -249 Liberators, 280 Mosquitoes, 378 Mustangs, 109 Dakotas, 109 Catalinas, 328 Beaufighters, 370 Kittyhawks & 367 Spitfires
Shut down to save money, mothball acft, EO? Interim Air Force was formed.
Armament School 23-Jan-1940 Laverton
Armament School 25-Apr-1940 Pt Cook
Armament School 25-Jul-1942 Hamilton, Vic
Armament School 13-Dec-1943 Nhill, Vic
Air Armament School 13-Jan-1944 Nhill, Vic
Air Armament & Gas School 7Feb44 Nhill, (Renamed)
2.4     Post World War 2
2.4.1 1945-1965 (Japan, Malta, Korea, Malayan Emergency, Confrontation, Butterworth)
Deployments, new acft, start of GW era, new EO.
1945 -76, 77 & 82 Fighter Squadrons, 381BSQN & 481 MNTSQN assisted with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) in Japan.
1948 – 76 & 82 SQNs disbanded.
Air Armament & Gas School 13Feb46 Nhill Reformed
Air Armament & Gas School 30Jul49 E'Sale Disbanded
Jun 1950 – 1SQN Lincoln bombers and No 38 Squadron Dakotas to the anti-guerrilla operations (RAF Op ‘Firedog’), Changi and Tengah, Singapore with a detachment at Kuala Lumpur, until 1958. Lincolns dropped 85% of the total tonnage of all bombs during Operation ‘Firedog’.
2 July 50 Korea. No 77 SQN worked with the UN
Jul52 - Feb54 - 78 WG to Malta. 75 and 76 SQNs, 378 BSQN & 478 MNTSQN - flew Vampire FB-9, leased from RAF.
Mirage 1964 intro
2.4.2 1965-1972 (Vietnam/ Ubon)
Butterworth – 2SQN Canberra bombers in June 1958.
3SQN Sabres arrived at Air Base Butterworth in Oct58 followed by more Sabres of 77 SQN in Feb59.
Jan63-Aug66, the Indonesian ‘confrontation’. 3 and 77 SQN Sabres from BUT flew border patrols over Borneo from the airfield at Labuan. 79 SQN Sabres met SEATO commitments to the air defence of Thailand from June 1962 until July 1968.
Vietnam War. Caribou aircraft of RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam (renamed 35 SSQ on 1 June 1966) arrived at Vung Tau on 8 August 1964.
9 SQN Iroquois @ Vung Tau May 1966-Dec.71. Aerial spraying ops??.
In 1968, UHI gunship mods., 9SQN ret to AMB Dec71.
Apr67-Jun71 2SQN Canberra @ Phan Rang,
75QN Mirage from B’worth to DAR, BUT handover to RMAF?
2.4.3 1972-1990 (Post Vietnam Run-down, ‘deep peace’, TTR)
No visible threat to AU, reduction of HE programs, TTR, RAAF capability reduced?
May 1985, 1st of 75 F/A-18s arrived - replaced the Mirage IIIs (in service since 1964).
December 1987 the first contingent of RAAF personnel and their families arrived at Tindal, the 1st new operational air base to be built in AU since WWII. 75 SQN to Tindal. Tindal was officially opened on 31 March 198
2.4.4 1990-2011 (East Timor/Gulf War1&2, Afghanistan)
Gunnies in peace keeping?
2.4.5 Deployment of Bloodhound Surface to air Missiles
Part 3: Specialist Armament Work – Relating to Aircraft
3.1     Armourers at Work - Aircraft Practice EO Operations and First & 2nd Line Maintenance
Describe work in SQNs: Fighter (incl OCUs), Bomber/strike, Maritime, Transport, Basic Flying Training, Chopper, Target Banners, Ejection Seats, Guns, Anti-GW Flares/Chaff, Pylons, Racks, Launchers
3.2     Armourers at Work - EO and Aircraft Operations
3.2.1 Bombs
Storage, transport, Prep, Load, Unload, Unprep
3.2.2 Ammo and Rockets
HE etc (not ball – see 3.1), ASP
3.2.3 Guided Missiles
3.2.4 Depth Charges & Torpedoes
3.2.5 Illuminating Flares
3.2.6 Decoy Flares & Chaff
3.2.7 EOD/IED
Sqn/Base Level only (see also 4.1 for specialist EOD/IED)
3.2.8 Base Armo/Base Arm Advisor
3.3     Armourers at Work – Egress Systems Maintenance
2nd & 3rd line maintenance
3.3.1 Fighter Ejection Seats
3.3.2 FIII Capsule
3.3.3 Canberra
3.3.4 Other?
3.4     Armourers at Work – Armament Associated Equipment
3.4.1 Racks
3.4.2 Launchers
3.4.3 GSE
3.4.4 Guns
3.4.5 Other?
Part 4: Specialist Arm Work – Non-Aircraft
4.1       Armourers at Work - Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Improvised Explosives Device Disposal
4.1.1 Bomb Disposal/EOD
Training, AWR Clearance, EO Recovery from civies, crashed acft. 1st Bomb Disposal Course Apr1942, 6Bomb Disposal Unit/52OBU DAR
4.1.2 IEDD
RAAF Bases in AU, UN ops
4.2     Armourers at Work – Air Weapons Range Operations
Targeting, AWR maintenance, EOD, Sighting/plotting,
4.3     Armourers at Work - Procurement of EO and Armament Associated Equipment
4.3.1 New EO & Am Assoc Equip Procurement
4.3.2 Spares Assessing and Procurement of In-Service EO&AAE
4.4     Armourers at Work - Basic and Specialist Arm/EO Training
4.4.1 Airmen
4.4.2 Officers
4.5       Armourers at Work - Guided Weapons Depot Level Maintenance
4.6       Armourers at Work - Technical and Engineering Logistics
4.6.1 EO Engineering
4.6.2 Non-Guided Explosive Ordnance Depot Level Maintenance
Ground Attack EO, Maritime EO, Ammo,
4.6.3 Guided Missile Depot Level Maintenance
4.6.4 Chemical Weapons Depot Level Maintenance
4.6.5 Associated Non-EO Depot Level Maint
Racks, launchers, Pylons, Guns
4.7     Armourers at Work - EO Safety
4.7.1 Explosive Inspection Service
4.7.2 Proof Testing of EO
4.7.3 Command Maintenance Visits
4.7.4 Licensing of EO Facilities and Operations Areas
4.7.5 Audit of EO Safety Management
4.7.6 Australian Ordnance Council
4.8       Armourers at Work - Aircraft-Stores Clearance
4.9       Defence Higher Level Committees Working Groups
Part 5: Annexes/Appendices
A. Details of Weap & Egress Systems (eg cockpit Arm Panel?, Rack/Launcher/Dispenser types, Gun type, EO & Prac EO types, Egress System)
B. Leading Particulars of each item of EO
C.Leading Particulars of each item of Associated Arm Equip (eg GSE) & relevant Acft
RAAF Armament Associated Equipment and EO
D. RAAF Air Bases/Stations and Squadrons
E. Air Weapons Ranges


What do we want from all you Gunnies out there?
We want first hand accounts of people who were there – we want to get an idea of what is out there in diaries, books, record of interviews, oral histories, documents, photos, personal accounts. The sort of info we are after relates to Gunnies at work with the following:
·              EO operations 1921-1939
·              EO ops during WW2.
·              EO ops overseas non-WW2
·              training on new EO or aircraft weapons systems, particularly overseas training and accounts of the differences between working with the EO or aircraft being replaced and the new EO/aircraft.
·              Stores Depots and Aircraft Depots.
·              major Arm activities (eg Gunnie trainers, US bombs on Canberra, stores clearance, EO safety, etc)
·              Any ‘first’ Gunnie activity (eg first Apprentice Gunnie course, first GW training/, first ops at Butterworth, etc)
·              Anything else you consider important
We want volunteers to conduct research and complete the following Annexes:
·              RAAF Aircraft & Their Weapons Systems (Date In Service/Withdrawn, Weapon Stations, Fixed EO(eg guns), Weapons, Bombs, Ammo, Rockets, Guided Missiles, Carriers/Launchers/Racks/Dispensers, Home Base, Sqns, OS Ops, Bases)
·              RAAF Air Bases (location, dates opened/closed, RAAF & other Sqns on Base)
·              RAAF Flying & Maintenance SQN’S  (Location - Formed & Ops from, Date Formed/ Deployed, Date Closed/ Ceased Ops, Acft Flown, Ops Types, EO Used, ARM Pers Nos, Ranks?)
·              RAAF Stores & Aircraft Depots (name, location, dates opened/closed, ARM Personnel, ARM Work)
·              RAAF Armament Schools (location, dates opened/closed, EO & ARM Equip, course types)
·              RAAF EO (bombs, fuzes, ammo, rockets, GMs, Pyrotechnics, Egress Systems EO, other?)
·              RAAF ARM Associated Equipment (Racks/Pylons/Launchers, Egress Systems, Chaff/Flare Dispensers, other?)
·              RAAF Air Weapons Ranges (location (GPS?), Admin Base, EO employed, Manning, Sighting/Plotting equip, Range maint equip, other?)

Your contribution and suggestions will form an integral part of the History of all Gunnies

The project team consists of Neil Ratcliff (Chair), Norm Andrews & Jason Rose,  plus many gunnies providing input.



We now have a draft of the WW2 chapter from the AAA Gunnies History Project team added to the website. Please take the time to have a read and if you have any suggestions or feedback there is a submission form on that page of the site to do so.


First two Books Launched see Home  page

We need some volunteers to provide input into the History Project

Check out the plan for 2013 below, can you help then contact Neil or Norm ASAP




Meeting Venue: Australian War Memorial Cafe

Time/Date: 1200 to 1330 hours 22FEB13

Attendees: Norm Andrews, Jason Rose and Neil Ratcliff



  • Any submissions for ebook publication will need to be top – down format, therefore no page numbers to be added and pictures to be inserted centrally. This will enable Jason to easily transfer data into the ebook format.

                Action: Any personnel submitting projects.

  • The current two ebook submissions (Gunnie Roll Call and Tales & Stories of Armourers from WWII) to be available for the public “as is” and actioned when Jason can organise the website and ebook interface. Any future changes to these publications will be addressed as a second, third..... editions as required.

                Action: Jason Rose

  • Jason Rose stated that no funding is required at this stage to organise ebooks on the AAA website. However, if funding is required the History project committee will seek access to the DVA Research funding.  AIRCDR Bill Hayden’s offer of funding relevant software is gratefully appreciated. However, at this stage there is no need to take up Bill’s offer.

                Action: Jason Rose to access sponsorship monies for any software if required. Norm Andrews is the liaison member for DVA research funding.

  • It was decided to have available “free” page samples of the ebook for public viewing on the website – this will encourage interest to any prospective buyers. Perhaps five or six pages will be ample for viewing.

                Action: Jason Rose

  • It was also decided that the AAA website will be the media for the ebook purchase. Using the Amazon website was also considered but not at this stage.

                Action: Jason Rose

  • Jeff Plunkett’s publication on Chemical Warfare in Australia to be linked on the AAA website.

                Action: Jason Rose

  • Norm Andrews stated that five research projects have matured and ready for further research and/or preparation for publication. Norm has painstakingly progressed through these projects over the past three years and is basically “over-researched”. To progress with these in 2013 will require “new blood” into the History Project. The five projects are as:


  1. Tales & Stories of Armourers from Japan (BOCF)
  2. Tales & Stories of Armourers from Vietnam
  3. Tales & Stories of Armourers from Ubon
  4. Armourers of 30SQN (Bloodhound Missile)
  5. Tales & Stories of Armourers from Malaya/Malaysia – Emergency Period, Confrontation period and post-emergency period.


The history project committee is seeking four volunteers to liaise with Norm Andrews and to take carriage of completing the individual research  project. Neil Ratcliff has volunteered to take over the 30SQN Bloodhound project and the remaining four projects to be advertised seeking volunteers via the National AAA media.

                Action: Rod Smith (President) to advertise and seek out any keen volunteers.

  • At least one research project to be ready for release into ebook by August 2013.

                Action: No action at this stage

  • Neil Ratcliff discussed the inclusion of the complete suite of Weapon Journals onto the AAA Website. There has been some issue with the security classification of these publications as they were Restricted between 1979-1991 during the active period of release. It has been 22 years since the last journal and now requires a down-classification before they can be available on the website. It was suggested that when their classification has been down-graded these publications will require a “log-in” for members only to access on the AAA Website.

                Action: Neil Ratcliff to liaise with Rod Smith regarding RAAF Branding and the action of down-classifying these fabulous publications. Once authorised Jason Rose will insert these into the AAA Website using the “members” only access.




If you want to contribute or have information to support the project please contact one of the above or email 


Update to the Piano story

 Gunnies on Tour, Minute to RAAF Medical, The Paino, The Kiwi Version of the Paino, Fire Power Display and The Can added to Stories

Joint Strike Fighter "RoadMap" added - interesting read submitted by Norm Andrews




 JASSM Video supplied by Terry (Stompa) Stamp - this one has no sound




RADAR news

Jet Fuel Exposure

 Explosive Composition Report

 Hazardous Materials & Substances in the RAAF






RAAF Super Hornet (JSOW) Movie

Click on the play button below to view the test footage of the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) movie submitted by Terry (Stompa) Stamp








77 SQN Association News

Todays Gunnies

 Stand To Web Site

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