town south-west of Wagga might appear to be an unlikely location
for an Air Force memorial but it is a place where hundreds of brave
young men sacrificed their youth as they trained for battle more
than 60 years ago.
Peter Hollingworth inspects the RAAF Central Band before
unveiling a new panel of the No. 5 Service Flying Training
School memorial at Uranquinty.
Wirraway Park in Uranquinty is the site of a memorial to No. 5 Service
Flying Training School and signifies the service by hundreds of
pilots who trained and graduated under the Empire Air Training Scheme
from November 1941 to February 1945.
Governor-General Peter Hollingworth unveiled a new panel of the
existing 5SFTS memorial on September 23.
There was standing room only in the 300-seat marquee as a catafalque
party and contingent from RAAF Base Wagga paraded, the RAAF Central
Band marched, local school children raised flags and representatives
laid wreaths to mark the occasion.
At the end of the ceremony, guests moved to the former aerodrome
to watch an air display by Flight Lieutenant Mark Broadbridge, of
the Roulettes, in a PC9 and the landing of a Wirraway from Temora
At the controls of the Wirraway were two former 1944 graduates of
No. 39 Course, 5SFTS Ken Love and Jack Curtis. Their arrival
was timely considering a Wirraway had not been seen on the aerodrome
since the last one departed for Tocumwal in 1957. This historic
moment is depicted on the new display panel at the memorial.
The memorial, erected in 1999, signifies the service and sacrifice
of all who trained and served in the Wagga Flying Training Schools,
especially those who served in various theatres of war.
5SFTS formed at Uranquinty in October 1941 and was part of No. 2
Training Group. Other units located in the region included No. 2
Service Flying Training School Wagga and No. 1 Basic Flying Training
School Uranquinty (later derived from 5SFTS). These units were collectively
known as the Wagga Flying Training Schools. More than 3000 pilots
were trained at the Wagga Flying Training Schools during conflicts
of the 1940s and 50s.
More information on the Wagga Flying Training Schools and the Empire
Air Training Scheme is included in Peter Ilberys book Hatching
an Air Force, launched after the unveiling of the memorials
new panel. Inquiries: (07) 4123 0255.