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Dewdrops Graduate

Updated: Apr 3, 2020

from Daily Advertiser 6th December 1952


Nearly 100 R.A.A.F. apprentices paraded before the Chief of Air Staff (Air Vice Marshal Sir Donald Hardman, K.C.B, CB.E, D.F.C) at the Forest Hill School of Technical Training yesterday morning, to mark their graduation after three years of training.

More than 260 parents, relatives and friends of the apprentices travelled from all States of the Commonwealth to attend the ceremony.

The Graduation ceremony was the fourth since the inception of the Training School, and was remarkable for the nearly 100 per cent pass by the apprentices.

It was the highest percentage of passes in the history of the Forest Hill unit.

Sir Donald was accompanied by three members of the Air Board. They were the Member for Supply and Equipment (Air Vice Marshal J, E. Hewitt, C.B.E.); Member for Personnel (Air Vice Marshal F. M. Bladln, C.B, CB.E.); and Member for Technical Services (Air Vice Marshal E. C. Wackett, C.B.E).

The Officer Commanding Southern Area (Air Vice Marshal A. M. Charlesworth, C.B.E A.F.C.) flew from Melbourne to attend the graduation ceremony.

Steady rain fell during the Passing-Out Ceremony and presentation of prizes to the outstanding apprentices, and caused the sports programme set down for the afternoon to

be abandoned.


After the Chief of the Air Staff had taken the RoyalSalute at the Parade Ground and inspected the parade, the graduating apprentices were called forward for graduation and promotion.

The presentation of Individual awards was followed by a march past, led by the graduating apprentices, who made an impressive sight with their fine marching, white webbing and white webbed rifles. They wen followed by the rest of the camp personnel, including first and second year apprentices, W.A.A.F’s and Instructors.

Nearly 1000 took part In the march past. Sir Donald made the presentation of a slide rule to the outstanding graduate, Corporal Apprentice D. R. Flint of New South Wales. Corporal Flint gained the highest assessment for all round efficiency. Second prize for all round efficiency went to W.O. Apprentice R. R. Croft, also of N.S.W.

The N.C.O. In charge of Ross Smith Squadron (Fit.Sergeant Peake) accepted the Black Shield for the squadron attaining the highest aggregate points, on behalf of his squadron.

He also gained the Commanding Officer's Cup as N.C.O. of the winning squadron.

Ross Smith Squadron was also awarded the Brown Cup for showing the greatest

achievements In hobbies; the Bedford Trophy for the highest points on drill and dress;

and the Wagga Police Cup for the highest points in discipline and conduct.

Eddison Cup

Fit. Sgt. Sklmmln, of Adelaide, South Australia (N.C.O.for Whittle Squadron) accepted the Eddison Cup on behalf of his Squadron for obtaining the highest points in Technical and Educational achievements; and the Australian Air Force Women's Association Trophy for bar

rack cleanliness.

In his brief address to the graduates, Sir Donald Hardman firstly congratulated them on the successful completion of this phase of their apprenticeship. 'I expect you have found some of your training fairly arduous, but I think you realise now that the hard work was worthwhile and that you would not have achieved the high standard of training without It,' he said.

Sir Donald said that the course was primarily concerned with training the apprentices in the trades essential to duties, but that It also helped turn out 'fine young Australians with a sense of civic pride.' 'You will now realise the responsibility all of us share as members of the R.A.A.F. Sir Donald said. He said that their training also stressed the importance of service discipline and esprit de corps.

'This school, as in any other school, can only Instill the rudiments of these lessons. From now on it is up to you yourselves to develop them and become a worthwhile part of this great service,' Sir Donald said.

The Air Chief pointed out to the apprentices that there was no room for slipshod work or poor tradesmanship in the Air Force.

'The margin for error is very slight. Errors have, of course, been made, and almost invariably the errors have resulted in catastrophe,' Sir Donald said.

More complicated

He said that because of the race between world nations today for air superiority, the mechanics of flying were becoming more and more complicated.

If you apply yourself properly to your training, you will be able to keep abreast of the

scientific developments,' Sir Donald said.

concluding, he said that the graduates would form the hard core of any Air Force which had to be raised in time of war.

He congratulated the graduates on their success, and wished them further success in the units to which they will now be posted.

In the afternoon, first year apprentices gave a display of calisthenics. Prior to this display. Air

Vice Marshal Charlesworth presented the sporting; awards to the champions of the various sporting sections.

The full list of awards to individual apprentices is: —

Chief Instructor's Trophy, to the apprentice obtaining the highest aggregate of points in all subjects in the winning Squadron: Apprentice Melvlne (3rd class).

Third year awards

Highest assessment for all round proficiency: Cpl. Apprentice D. R. Flint; 2nd W.O. Apprentice R. R. Croft; 3rd, Sgt. Apprentice P. A. Moller.

Highest Assessment for Academic subjects: CpL Apprentice D. R. flint.

Highest Trade Assessment: Leading Apprentice B. J. Lennon.

Best exhibit of work in leisure hours: Leading Apprentice S. W. Wooler (model aircraft), Leading Apprentice Denning (photgraphy), Flt. Sgt. Apprentice Trive (glider work).

First year of training.

Highest assessment for all round proficiency: Apprentice D. Melvln.

Highest assessment for trade proficiency: Apprentice N. R. Thompson.

Best exhibit of work in leisure hours: Apprentice B. F. Hushes (model aircraft).

Apprentice Moore (photography).

Highest assessment of academic subjects: Apprentice D. Melvln.

Greatest improvement In year: Apprentice N. R. Thompson.

Second year awards

Highest assessment for airmanlike qualities and leadership: Corporal Apprentice B. A. Carter; second, Corporal Apprentice, G. W Blair; third. Corporal Apprentice C. B. Preece.

Best exhibit of work in leisure hours: Leading Apprentice R. A. Killen( photography); Sgt. Appprentice B. West. (newspaper).

Sporting awards

Tennis champions: Singles, Leading Apprentice J. Bridekirk ; doubles. Apprentices K. Neely and H. Pldgeon.

Cricket: Leading Apprentice G. P. Bauman.

Rifle Shooting: Leading Apprentice BL C. Smith.

Rugby: Sgt. Apprentice J. North.

Australian Rules: Leading Apprentice R. K. Richards.

Soccer: Apprentice L W. Campbell.

Hockey: Leading Apprentice K. V. Ingersole.

Boxing: Apprentice A. P. Grey (lightweight champion); Leading Apprentice B. C. Cook (welterweight); Leading Apprentice A. F. Gwilliam (middleweight); Leading Apprentice J.E.Aldis, (heavyweight).

Wrestling: Leading Apprentice C. R, King (lightweight), Leading Apprentice H. Shakoor (welterweight) Corporal Apprentice W. McDonald (heavyweight).

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