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Civilian Air Crew (Skippy Squadron Plaque) Print Page Print this page

28-November-2015
28-November-2015
Photographs supplied by Ian Bevege

Plaque dedicated by "Skippy Squadron" commemorates civilian air personnel who served during the Second World War and the Vietnam War and is in memory of those who lost their lives during World War Two. The plaque was rededicated in 2012 and is unique as it is the first one to honour civilians killed at war.

Eighteen people died in 1942 while operating unarmed aircraft in Papua New Guinea and over the Indian and Pacific oceans.

The Skippy Squadron also known as the Red Tailed Rats was made up of the Qantas Crews who crewed Qantas aircraft into war zones during the Vietnam War. Between 1965 and 1972 Qantas flew civilian charter flights from Sydney to Saigon, carrying approximately half of all Australian service personnel sent to the Vietnam War. These flights were given various nicknames, the most common being “Skippy Squadron”, but they were also called “Champagne Flights”, and the “Red Tail Rats”.

More than five hundred Qantas staff crewed, maintained, serviced, and coordinated Skippy Squadron flights. There was no shortage of volunteers to fly or service the Boeing 707s, even though it was understood they would be going to a war zone.

 

Location

Address:Fairbairn & Limestone Avenues, Australian War Memorial, Campbell, 2612
State:ACT
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.281167
Long: 149.148469
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Conflict
Sub-Theme:Multiple
Actual Event STart Date:03-September-1939
Actual Event End Date:15-August-1945

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 30th January, 2007
Front Inscription

In memory of those civilian aircrew and ground staff - who under control of the RAAF - operated unarmed aircraft in Papua New Guinea and over the Pacific and Indian Oceans during the Second World War.  Their roles included evacuating civilians and soldiers from threatened areas, dropping supplies to troops, and keeping the air routes and lines of communication open.

Eighteen Australian civilian aircrew were killed during the war.

During the Vietnam War members of the Australian Task Force and other personnel of Australian Forces, Vietnam were transported to and from the country by chartered QANTAS aircraft flown by civilian aircrew.

Dedicated by "Skippy Squadron" (QANTAS civilian aircrew - Vietnam) on 30 January 2007, the 65th anniversary of the first QANTAS aircraft and crew lost to enemy action in the Second World War.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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