Tuesday 1 October 2013 by Jeffrey Wray. 1 comment
Collection, Royal Australian Air Force, Canberra Bomber, Pilot, Malayan Emergency, Vietnam War, 2 Squadron RAAF

To complement the release of the film collection online, the film and sound team are creating a series of show reels to give you a taste of the material that is now readily available at your fingertips!

This show reel highlights the RAAF Public Relations 16mm cine films in the Memorial's Film Collection.  The RAAF PR collection is the last in the trio of the Directorate of Public Affairs series with over two hundred RAAF PR  titles available for download (F02710 to F02829 RAAF News and F10351 to F10459 RAAF Stock Shots). It also pays tribute to the Canberra bomber and the Canberra's long career with the RAAF. The Canberra entered service in 1953 and was only finally retired from the RAAF in 1982.  During that period Canberras of No 2 Squadron RAAF were deployed on combat operations from 1958 to 1960 against Communists guerillas during the Malayan Emergency and from 1967 to 1971 in Vietnam.

The show reel consists of two parts with the footage taken a decade apart.  The first part is made up of clips from almost one hour of camera original Kodachrome out-takes (F10431) from the RAAF newsreel Operation Eastbound (F10465). The snippets of audio were lifted from the newsreel as the out-take footage is silent.  Operation Eastbound was an around the world flight by a contingent of three Canberra bombers from No. 82 Wing RAAF and a Hercules transport of No. 36 Squadron RAAF. As the operation's name implies the flight was in an eastward direction and was then the longest flight by RAAF aircraft.

Image from Canberra show reel












The second section shows the Canberra ten years on, losing the sporty silver and white finish, now looking somewhat menacing in a dark camouflage and festooned with bombs. This footage (F02800 and F10431) was shot on Ektachrome by the USAF cameramen and is also silent. A sound track from our Sound collection of intercom and radio communication (S04258) accompanies the film. The voice traffic was recorded in Canberra bomber, call sign Magpie 61, crewed by Wing Commander Francis Downing (pilot) and Squadron Leader Allan Pinches (navigator/bomb aimer) and is best listened too with head phones as you would in a Canberra bomber.

Please enjoy exploring, researching and, most importantly, viewing our collection.
Links to collection items used in the show reel -- F10430, F10431, F10465, F02800, S04258

Antoni Rudnicki, Curator Film & Sound


Lance Halvorson

3 x Canberras departed Amberley and flew to Nigeria for Independence Day celebrations in September 1960. The aircraft flew via the USA, Bermuda, Azores and Malta to Nigeria. They returned to Australia via Entebbe, Aden, Gan (Maldive Islands), Cocos Islands and Perth. Communications and weather were the biggest problems faced throughout flight. 2SQN Canberras were part of 224 Group RAF from 1958-1967 and were on operational training and readiness during this period, including Indonesian Confrontation - you might add this in your narrative. The full authoritative history of the Canberra in RAAF service is in a CD that I published in 2003; soon to be published in E-Book form.