In 2022 the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm is celebrating the 75th year since the Australian Government of Prime Minister Ben Chifley decided that aviation at sea would be an RAN and not an RAAF activity.
The illustrated presentation will trace the story of some of the people aircraft and operations in war and peace which the FAA has been engaged in during those 75 years.
In 1998 Allen & Unwin published Flying Stations to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm in 1947. It was edited by Mike Lehan, Director of the Australian Naval Aviation Museum and written by a team of experts and historians. In 2006 the RAN resumed full control of the Museum and restored its original name, the Fleet Air Arm Museum. Flying Stations had a picture on the dust jacket painted by the late David Marshall which depicted an S-2E Tracker of 816 NAS landing on HMAS Melbourne with flight deck personnel and a parked Sea King helicopter of 817 NAS in the foreground, clear of the wingtip safety line. The island is depicted to the left of the picture.
Like its predecessor, this book has no single author but contains text which, in many cases, was written by people who took part in the events they describe. The material has been expertly edited by Desmond Woods to create a chronological narrative with added chapters enlarging upon specific subjects. The earlier volume made use of black and white images, but its successor takes advantage of improved printing technology to include many coloured images, often several to a page, and many of them are the work of Navy photographers and imagery specialists. The result is a beautifully illustrated volume that captures the spirit of the Fleet Air Arm from the perspectives of its history, aircraft, and people during the period from 1998 to the present
Presenter – Lieutenant Commander Desmond Woods, RAN
Desmond Woods has served for more than 45 years in the RNZN, the RN the British Army, and the RAN as an education officer teaching naval
and military history to junior officers. From 2003 – 2010 he was the Course Officer for the Strategic Studies Course at the RANC. While on the staff of the Australian Command and Staff College he ran the CDF’s 2010 International Counterinsurgency conference.
He was the Military Support Officer to the Defence Community Organisation in Canberra for two years before joining the staff of the RAN’s International Fleet Review in 2013. This was followed by a year as Staff officer Centenary of Anzac (Navy) before joining CN’s personal staff as his Research Officer. After time as a Heritage Research Officer at the RAN’s Seapower Centre in Canberra he became the Navy’s Bereavement Liaison Office in which role he is still serving.
He is a councilor of the Australian Naval Institute and the Australian Institute for International Affairs (ACT) a member of the USI (ACT) and is a regular contributor of naval articles and book reviews to Australian and international naval historical journals.