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Army June 9, 2011
By Sgt Dave Morley
ENGINEERS from Kapooka paused
on May 21 to commemorate the 66th
anniversary of the deaths of 26 sappers
in the Army’s worst training accident.
More than 90 people attended the ser-
vice including serving and former ADF
members and residents from across the
The accident occurred in 1945 when
Kapooka was the national training cen-
tre for the Corps of Royal Australian
A routine explosives lesson conducted
in a bunker went horribly wrong and four
instructors and 22 soldiers were killed.
Commandant RMC Brig Dave Luhrs
said few families of those killed were
able to attend the funerals at the time.
“But they could rest assured knowing
their loved ones were buried with dignity
on Australian soil,” Brig Luhrs said.
“We have not, nor will we ever, forget
the sacrifice of the 26 sappers who died
on this site 66 years ago.”
Eleven of those killed were just 18
years old, some with service numbers
only a few digits apart.
ARTC Commandant Col David Hay
said he was unaware of the tragedy before
being posted to Kapooka.
“But I intend to ensure this commem-
oration will continue to be held,” he said.
“We propose to make sure this event
becomes more widely recognised and
have approached the Australian War
Memorial with this in mind.”
For many years a service was held on
the roadside near the accident’s actual
However, a permanent memorial was
constructed last year by engineers from
SME on land set aside by the Army about
100m opposite the site.
RAE training deaths
Service: Visitors lay wreaths at the memorial for 26 sappers killed in the
Australian Army’s worst training accident in 1945.
Photo by Sgt Dave Morley
By Sgt Brian Hartigan
AMBERLEY-based Army truck-
ies were involved in a major and
unusual road move in May when
they transported one of the ADF’s
former hard-hitting bombers to
Members of 9FSB helped DMO
and the Air Force move a retired
F-111 strike aircraft from its former
home in south-east Queensland to
the RAAF Museum at Point Cook
from May 24-27.
Drivers Cpl Owen Dobos and
Ptes Andrew Anderson, Jacob
Ardrey, Trent Booth and Paul Walsh
temporarily joined 82 Wing’s F-111
Disposal Team to move A8-125
across three states in a 12-vehicle
The transport unit’s involvement
amounted to four semi-trailers and
an escort vehicle. The semi-trailers
moved the aircraft’s wings, fin, hori-
zontal stabilisers and radome, which
were removed for the journey, as
well as support equipment required
to reassemble the aircraft at the
A special wide trailer was
required to take the 25-tonne aircraft
OPSO 26 Tpt Sqn Capt Andrew
Jones said the task was not unusual
insofar as his personnel carried
several large loads as part of a well-
planned and coordinated convoy.
“Obviously, as a transport squad-
ron, we move large military loads
all the time,” Capt Jones said.
“However, this move was a little
different because there was a lot of
media interest in it and journalists,
locals and school kids came out in
numbers at various scheduled stops
to see the unusual main load.”
Flt-Lt Jake Romanowski, Air
Force spokesman for the convoy and
former F-111 Air Combat Officer,
said it was great working with the
Army drivers, who fitted seamlessly
into the team.
“Considering we had DMO,
RAAF, Army, private contractors
and numerous interested parties with
patchy mobile and internet coverage
on the move, the teamwork went
really well,” he said.
A8-125 is the most significant
F-111 operated by the Air Force,
being the first aircraft to roll off the
production line for the RAAF, the
first to land in Australia on June 1,
1973, and the last to touch down
anywhere in the world on December
Handle with care
Precious cargo: F-111 A8-125 is lifted off the transportation vehicle by crane after arriving at the Air
Force Museum in Point Cook, Victoria. Inset, the Army drivers who joined the 12-vehicle convoy – from
left, Pte Andrew Andersen, Pte Paul Walsh, Pte Trent Booth, Cpl Owen Dobos and Pte Jacob Ardrey.
Photos by LAC Benjamin Evans
“However, this move
different because there w
media interest in it and
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