Rear Admiral William John Rourke AO RAN (Rtd) as Flight Deck Engineer HMAS Sydney, Korea 1951-1952, interviewed by Colonel David Chinn MBE (Rtd)

Accession Number S02775
Collection type Sound
Measurement 1 hr 48 min
Object type Oral history
Physical description 1/4 inch sound tape reel; BASF SM 468; 15 ips/38 cm.s; two track mono; 10 inch NAB
Maker Australian War Memorial
Date made 6 June 2002
Access Open
Conflict Korea, 1950-1953
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Source credit to AWM Oral History Program
Description

William Rourke talks about his training at the Royal Australian Naval College from the age of thirteen and his training as an engineering officer at the Royal Naval Engineering College; serving aboard several Royal Navy ships; being posted to HMAS Sydney in January 1950; a rocket misfiring that damaged a New Zealand boat; his appointment as Flight Deck Engineer; working up for service in Korean waters; some incidents during the work up that resulted in the loss of aircraft; the batman¿s role; the deployment to Korea; the daily routine in support of flying operations; the Sydney's aircraft complement; Sydney's operational, revictualling and maintenance routine; relaxing in Kure; relations with the Japanese; Commander Smith, captain of the Sydney. the balance between RAN and RN personnel; the aircraft catapult and its maintenance; improving components of the catapult; increasing the frequency of catapult launches; the Sydney's flight deck; surviving Typhoon Ruth at sea; difficulties in winter caused by the removal of the catapult¿s steam heating; accommodation and clothing; the work load of aircraft maintenance personnel; a US- manned helicopter used as a rescue helicopter during flying operations and an actual rescue; combined operations off the east Korean coast; a Minister for the Navy leaving a bad impression; a wounded pilot quickly losing his flying pay; Sydney's officers making a happy ship; more about the catapult and its crews; a posting to HMAS Leeuwin: being part of the Coronation Contingent: his postings culminating in his appointment as Chief of Naval Materiel; restarting Australian naval ship-building; a review of his career; his service on the Sydney and some memorable naval personnel from that time; The falling through of the purchase of HMS Invincible from the RN and the discontinuance of fixed-wing flying in the RAN.

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