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No 9 Squadron was formed in January 1939 at Point Cook.





No 9 Squadron was formed in January 1939 at Point Cook Victoria from No 5 Fleet Co-operation Squadron. The Units Seagull V amphibious aircraft - commonly referred to as the Walrus - were designed to be embarked on Royal Australian Navy cruisers to provide reconnaissance, anti-submarine and artillery spotting for the Navy. 
After the declaration of war in September, several Walruses and their crews - embarked with their Australian cruisers - found themselves in the Mediterranean where they continued serve until early 1942. 

With the entry of Japan into the War in December 1941, the Australian cruisers returned to the Pacific theatre where they could play a direct role in the defence of Australia. 

During the War 9 Squadron personnel invariably suffered the same fate as the ships in which they were embarked. In a night action off Guadalcanal on 8 August 1942, five Squadron personnel were killed and a further two wounded when HMAS "Canberra" was sunk. Similarly, when HMAS "Sydney" was lost with all hands in an action on 19 November 1941, six squadron members were among those killed. Another five personnel died on 1 March 1942 when HMAS "Perth" was sunk in the Sundra Strait. 

9 Squadron's combat record continued with its deployment to Vietnam in 1966. Equipped with Iroquois helicopters the unit provided essential support for Australian and New Zealand forces. 

In late 1967, 9 Squadron was re-equipped with the more capable "D" and "H" models and, for the first time, Royal New Zealand Air Force and Royal Australian Navy pilots joined the Unit. 

In order to provide vital suppression fire during the "hot" extraction of troops under fire, a number of 9 Squadron Iroquois were converted into attack helicopters or "gunships". These helicopters often came under enemy fire and on several occasions gunships were either shot down or badly damaged. 
Link to No 9 Squadron at RAAF Museum Point Cook

Back Row L to R:  D Long, S Polzin, K (weeds) Harris, M Rust, B Butler, Doug Lennox, Geo Ferlito

Sitting:  P Christiansen, P Buesel


Shoalwater Bay Mid 1980
(Ollie Hastie)


Vietnam Sep 1971. 9 Sqn.

FLTLT Norm Goodall, chopper pilot, is presented with the Golden Thumb Award
 by ArmO FLTLT John Payne. 
The award was for firing over 1,000,000 Rounds.


Helly 3 Saigon 
when crew picked up 455 on the 19Jun1971.
(John Payne)

L - R. Fred Jones [ AFFITT ], Ern Buchanan [ Pilot ], John Payne [ ArmO ], Mac Weller [ S Eng O ],
Dennis Pearce [ ENG FITT ] Gordon Charlton [ RAD TECH ].

9 Sqn Feb 69
(Ted Maxwell)
(from the March 2002 RSL Calendar

Photograph from DepAir
An RAAF Iroquois helicopter gunship. UH-1B A2-1025, commonly known as "Ned Kelly" which was used during the Vietnam war. This aircraft was the first RAAF helicopter to be fitted with a trial armament system on both sides. The armament system included an XM157 airborne rocket pod containing seven Folding Fin Aircraft rockets twin side- mounted M60 C machine guns and twin door mounted M60 machine guns Standing next to the new armament system are members of the project tram, Left to right: Sergeant E.E. Moore, Flight Lieutenant R.C. Thompson pilot and Squadron Leader J.H. Cox, armament fitter and Leading Aircraftsman E.G. Maxwell. Australian War Memorial P01999.001



Peter Howe's Photo Album



‘… and so, a Gunship was born’
by Wing Commander Brian Dirou, DFC (Retired)
Bushranger CD

First Edition, November 2007 Written and published by Brian & Diane Dirou, Tanilba Bay, NSW, Australia
Copyright © Brian & Diane Dirou, 2007 – All rights reserved Except as provided by the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.
ISBN 978-0-9804474-1-5
A unique version of the ubiquitous Bell Iroquois family of helicopters, identified as a ‘Bushranger’ gunship, was created by No. 9 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force during the Vietnam War. The emergence of this military capability is outlined in the story which derives principally from my personal recollections of happenings during progression of the Bushranger development project. The events related have been correlated with official unit records (where existing) and/or verified by dialogue with others with whom I served in that theatre of war.
This compact disc includes the following segments embracing supplementary documents reflecting various aspects of No. 9 Squadron unit history:
The Story ‘…and so, a Gunship was born’ by Wing Commander Brian Dirou, DFC (Retired) [pages 1-53]
Poem ‘Vung Tau Taxis’ by ‘Ned’ Falconer, 7 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment [page I]
Ballad ‘A Salute to the Bushrangers’ by Wing Commander Mike Hennessy (Retired), formerly Commanding Officer, No. 35 Squadron RAAF [page II]
Poem ‘I am…’ by Anthony Pahl, OAM, No. 9 Squadron [page III]
Statistics & Awards, No. 9 Squadron RAAF, Vietnam War [page IV]
Unit Commanding Officers – No. 101 Fleet Co-operation Flight
No. 5 Fleet Co-operation Squadron
No. 9 Fleet Co-operation Squadron
No. 9 Squadron [page V]
Bushranger Gunship Project Progression [page VI]
Imagery Album [pages VII-XX]
Readers are invited to tender information and imagery relating to the project and Australian Hotel model Iroquois helicopter gunship operations so future editions of this publication and other military history accounts created may embrace a more comprehensive record of that meritorious chapter in Australia’s military history.
Brian Dirou Telephones: (02) 4982 3606; (02) 4997 3242; 0407 217 773

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