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A/L 1: Insert Alan Ely into “Dewdrops’ Stories.”


I guess most of us have, during squadron life, at one time or another, had the job of “amending” documents.

Tech manuals, Dept. of Air orders, study volumes for promotion exams including manuals of Airforce Law and the like, all of which, when signed out from the library, or received in the appropriate Section were out of date by who knows how many “Amendment Lists”?

This became a quite boring job requiring much referencing between the manual and the usually incomprehensible instructions provided in the aforesaid “A/l 27” or some such.

Well, this is another A/l and it is No1 and hopefully, A/l the last.

Al Ely provided his story at the same time as did the rest of the contributors but, somehow the editor managed to misplace and then forget Al’s effort.

Alan, gentleman that he is, was quite calm and non-judgemental when he informed your editor that the document had been overlooked.

Al has provided a replacement and a sheepish and apologetic Saundo presents it herewith to all concerned. Please enjoy.

Thank you my old Gunnie mate.

A/l 1: Insert amendment in “Dewdrops’ Stories.”

Alan Ely receives a Certificate of Outstanding Service


Following the submission of an application to join the RAAF as an Aircraft Apprentice, notification and a Rail Warrant was duly received requiring me to present myself at the RAAF Recruiting Depot in Melbourne.

So began my journey as an Armament Fitter in the Royal Australian Air Force.

On arrival at, as was then the RAAF Ground Training School located at Forrest Hill outside the NSW town of Wagga Wagga, induction into the RAAF Apprenticeship Scheme began, culminating on the 24th January 1950 with the taking of the oath of allegiance to King George the VI, his heirs and successors.

Just what had I and 100 + of my fellow Dewdrops let ourselves in for?

Well whatever it was we survived the initial shock of separation from family and friends and following 3 years training, both academic and technical joined the ranks of the Permanent Air Force.

Postings and Attachments.

No 1 Aircraft Depot, RAAF Base, Laverton.

Servicing small arms and involved with the conversion of the Lincoln bomber for Maritime duties and after six months was posted to:

Maintenance Squadron, East Sale 1953/54.

East Sale was the home of the Air Armament School and School of Air Navigation. These 2 lodger units made life hard but interesting for the Armourers, the final Armament/Air Gunners course and the bomb-aimer’s portion of the Navigators made for almost nonstop action day and night. The variety of aircraft maintained included Lincoln, Mustang, Wirraway, Mosquito and Beaufighter.

No 1 AD (again)

Sabre and Canberra acceptance into RAAF.

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology 1955/56.

Basic Electronics. Return to No 1AD on completion. Selected (?) as one of the Officials for the Trap Shooting for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.

No 21 City of Melbourne (F) Squadron. 1956/59.

All aspects of airborne Armament for the Vampire Mk 31, 35.

RAAF Staff London. Jan 1960.

Martin-Baker Ejection Seat training and on completion posted to

No 1 AFTS Pearce. 1960.

Maintenance and Modification of M-B ejection seats.

478 (M) Sqn RAAF Base Butterworth, Malaya 1961/63.

Avon Sabre/Sidewinder Maintenance. On the initial deployment of 79 Sqn to Ubon 02/06/62.Great trip home on the Oronsay and posted to ARDU.

ARDU 1963/64.

Acceptance and installation of ejection Seats Mirage 111O on behalf of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation and then acceptance checks for the RAAF on delivery.

RAAF School of languages Point Cook 1964.

French Language training.

RAAF Air Attaché’s Office Paris. 1964/65.

Matra R530 Air/Air Missile training.

RAAF Base Williamtown 1965/67.

Matra Training and Missile Maintenance.

No 478 (M) Sqn, RAAF Base Butterworth, Malaysia 1967/69.

Matra Maintenance and operational training.

ARDU 1969/70.

Macchi MB 326H Armament Trials.

No 9 (H) Squadron RAAF VungTau, Republic of Vietnam 1970/71.

SNCO i/c Armament Section.

No 482 (M) Squadron Amberley. 1972/73

Phantom F4E Maintenance, F111 training.

RAAF Washington 1973.

The preparation of the first six F111 aircraft prior to ferry to Australia.

No 482 (M) Squadron Amberley 1973/74.

F111 maintenance and flight line duties.

What were the highlights of my service? Too many to mention.


Amberley 24th January 1974 (Australia Day Floods Brisbane).

Left Amberley for the last time Friday 24 Jan and in retrospect ended the most satisfying period of my whole working life.

Post RAAF.

I guess like most long term servicemen the transition from service to civilian life was not at all easy but it was necessary to persist.

I tried many things, maintenance fitting (Hardboards Australia), Security (Wormalds Australia), Job turning with an irrigation company, Gunsmithing and finally I found meaningful employment with the Qld State Government in the emerging field of

Information Technology.

How did this come about? Don’t know, just lucky I guess.

When I finally retired from State employment Grace and I went to the Apple Isle for a short motor home holiday but ended staying for ten wonderful years.

We returned to Bundaberg in 1998 (our spiritual home) for 10 years before finally settling down in Toowoomba, it’s here we intend to live out our remaining years in peace and tranquillity.

Dewdrop Al and his wonderful wife Grace (married for the past 65 yrs. and still counting).

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