Congratulations to former Army General & Chief of the Defence Force Peter Cosgrove on his appointment as our next Governor-General. In this year marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War and next years commemoration of the Gallipoli landings, it is appropriate that a military man is in our highest office at this time.
Two Bristol Fighters of the Australian Flying Corps c. 1918 see 200 page novel on RAAF Formation
We often think of Army soldiers as our “Diggers” but they are also the airmen and sailors of the Air Force and Navy. “Going over the Top” was what our soldiers did in the trenches of WWI but the foundations of the RAAF were also established 100 years ago during that conflict by the men of the Australian Flying Corp who went “Over the Front”. Established in 1912 as a branch of the Army, the AFC sent an aircraft to assist in capturing German colonies in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in 1914, well before the Gallipoli campaign. These airmen served in the Middle East, Egypt and France during the war, often flying low level combat air support by strafing and bombing enemy lines. Other duties included air reconnaissance and artillery spotting along with air-to-air fighting engaging enemy planes. In 1921 the Royal Australian Air Force was founded and continues the fine traditions established by the AFC in WWI. The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century’s major conflicts including the Second World War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. More recently the RAAF participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and is still involved with the War in Afghanistan. The motto on the RAAF’s coat of arms is the Latin phrase Per ardua ad astra, which means “Through Adversity to the Stars” Across this year in 2014 we will begin to look at the traditions and accomplishments of our Defence Force 100 years ago along with the men and women who serve our great nation. “Lest We Forget”