There were compelling reasons for building this inaugural website for our Veterans who served with No. 458 RAAF Squadron during WWII. The chief reason is to Recognize, Honour and Respect our Veterans and their spouses. This website tells the story of their service & sacrifice, and so provides enduring recognition, support and respect for them, preserving their heritage.
EVERYONE from our Youth to Squadron families to the general public to Researchers (war time and post war), will benefit from the wealth of Educational, Historical and Commemorative material provided by the Squadron. Some of the key website Educational content:
- Displaying and recording the collective history of 458 Squadron in significant detail. For the first time on the web this is readily available to all. (Of course not forgetting our Official Squadron History in hardcover). It provides a rich, otherwise inaccessible source of primary educational and research data. It will describe 458's contribution to the defence of our democratic values
- Describing and recording pictorially the individual stories and Honour roll / Nominal Roll of all the Veterans of 458 Squadron. This will include their photographs, copies of artwork, photos of log books, written stories & poems, photos of memorabilia etc
- Displaying the 458 Squadron Newsletter. The Journal is a key post-war historical record of wartime memories, events and Flight activities. It has successfully unified and held the Squadron together across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the UK for over 60 years (just published #243)
- Embedded in the pages of this site are numerous stories of heroism, courage, determination, at times jaw dropping, at other times humorous. Some examples of these untold and extraordinary stories are:
- Flying Officer, John Bilney had an audience with Pope Pius XII
- Pilot Officer, Bill Fordyce took part in the "Great Escape"
- Squadron Leader, Gordon Orchard met Fred Astaire on board the Queen Mary
- A 458 Squadron aircraft escorted a ship convoy transporting Prime Minister Churchill to a rendezvous with President Roosevelt and Stalin
- In North Africa, four crew from a crash landed Wellington traveled 400 miles behind enemy lines on foot, and returned to safety!
- 458 Squadron took part in the invasion of Southern France on the 15th August, 1944 (Operation Dragoon)
Generations to come will benefit from this insightful and informative/definitive Educational resource, and especially primary, secondary, and tertiary aged students. This will increase the collective awareness of our heroic Veterans and also their needs in the community today. Lest We Forget