On 28 October 2016, Air Force marked the Centenary of Australia’s first flying squadrons, Numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 Squadrons (1916 – 2016) with both ceremony and celebration at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW.
With the theme Celebrating the Centenary of Australia’s First Flying Squadrons, the official program commenced with a full Colours Parade, reviewed by the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), as Commander-In-Chief.
The Officer-In-Charge of the Centenary Planning Committee, Group Captain Terry van Haren DSM, said it was an important event and a significant milestone in the Australian Defence Force history.
“Centenary celebrations have been simple, yet elegant acknowledgments of the contributions and achievements of Number 1, 2, 3 and 4 Squadrons throughout the last 100 years. Building on Air Force’s earliest beginnings, with the formation of the Australian Flying Corps, Air Force has transitioned into the modern integrated force that we know today.”
Group Captain van Haren said that whilst the day showcased the innovation and evolution of ‘Air Power’, celebrations centered on currently serving members, veterans and families.
“Importantly, Centenary events have brought into focus the dedication, commitment, sacrifice and exemplary service of Army and Air Force personnel past and present highlighting the enduring spirit of mateship, with the opportunity to come together as one, in celebration of a proud history that continues with ongoing operations today,” Group Captain van Haren said.
“Today’s celebrations have also provided the opportunity to thank Defence family members for ‘their’ Service – acknowledging the important contributions of parents, grandparents, spouses and children and the support they have provided and continue to provide serving personnel.”
Attending the event were personnel and staff at RAAF Base Williamtown and their families, veterans and their families, as well as a contingent of Number 1 Squadron personnel from RAAF Base Amberley; making the journey to Williamtown to join in official Centenary festivities.
The parade flypasts featured current Royal Australian Air Force aircraft types as well as historic warbirds – in acknowledgement of this significant milestone in Army, Air Force and Australian Defence Force history. Following the parade, invited guests enjoyed static displays and a flying program showcasing the Squadrons’ rich history in flying combat.