The RAAF Wagga Aviation Heritage Centre has launched an exhibition to honour a squadron that operated during World War Two.
The ‘31SQN Beaufighter Exhibition’ pays tribute to defence personnel part of 31 Squadron Beaufighter that formed at RAAF Base Wagga on August 14, 1942.
Attending the launch today was Lake Albert resident Judith Williams, who came to remember her father, Bill Mackinnon.
Mr Mackinnon was a pilot in the squadron and some of his belongings form part of the exhibition.
“Some of the items from my father are photographs and his books of when he was learning to fly,” Mrs Williams said.
“And all the bits and pieces given to him during his time as a pilot.
“Things like a leather pouch to carry his notes and some of the silk mats they used.”
Mrs Williams remembered her father as “an ordinary farmer, but when the war came he did go to learn to fly”.
“He started around 41 for about four years until the end of the war.
“The exhibition is a good way to keep the history going.”
Similarly, Richard Horton said the exhibition was significant for the community.
“My father was a navigator in the squadron and he did his initial training in November 1942 here,” Mr Horton said.
“He was always good and very proud of his association with the Air Force.”
Mr Horton remembers the friendships among his dad and the pilots.
“The friendship between dad and Reg, his pilot, just lasted for years until my father passed away in 1971,” he said.
Group Captain Robert Coopes, director of the heritage centre, said the squadron reformed in 2010 and the exhibition was a way to honour the members.
“It was a long-serving WWII squadron,” he said.
“It operated Beaufighter aircraft and we’ve got a pod of the aircraft’s cockpit on display for the next three months.”
The exhibition also has a mural of the members at their base station at Coomalie Creek, about 90km south of Darwin.
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