President's Report - Winter 2017
I am pleased to advise the Division’s membership has reached 800, and I expect by early 2018 it will achieve 900. The B24 Liberator Branch will be established in mid-July. B24 Liberator Restoration Australia is anxious to become more closely engaged with the Air Force Association and the serving Air Force community following the very successful ‘Meet a Mate’ event at the B24 Hangar in Werribee. Incidentally, some of our aircraft weapon aficionados or anyone else who likes to hear and see things that go ‘bang’ may be interested in attending a Browning 50 calibre demonstration fire at the Little River Firing Range to be held later in the year. I’ve yet to weave this opportunity into our events program but I’ll let you know when more details become available.
I recently presented long-standing membership certificates and I was particularly pleased to present 70-year membership certificates to Ian Clark, Stan White and Roy Bett. I am scheduled to present a 70-year certificate to Jack Fay at Bendigo in July. I am sure you would all applaud this level of membership commitment. I was stunned to learn Roy Bett drove solo from Hamilton to Ballarat to receive his certificate.
Tony Pilli, Director History & Heritage, accompanied me on a recent Branch visit to Ballarat when we were provided a tour of the heritage listed buildings that comprised the former RAAF’s Wireless Air Gunners School at the local airfield. It appears the branch will have a permanent home in the former Officers’ Mess after renovations have been completed.
There’ll be no excuse for not doubling the branch membership when this occurs.
I am expecting our new website to be operational in July but don’t tie me to a date just yet.
You can expect improved communication between members and the Division, online subscription payment, online ability to amend your membership details, opportunity to identify and contact other Association members (privacy guards installed), online ability to record your attendance at functions, etc. We’ll be asking you to update your details when the system is operational.
June is the month when the Division, on behalf of the Air Force Association National Council, assembles care parcels to be dispatched to Air Force deployed personnel. This program has been widely acclaimed as a morale enhancing initiative and I am very proud the Division was not only the originator of the program but continues to do the ‘heavy lifting’ and funding (hopefully we’ll identify a corporate sponsor).
The Division arranged for the manufacture of the 1st Training Wing AFC Memorial Plaque to be presented to the Tetbury, UK community on Remembrance Day 2017. This was a Division initiative that was supported and funded by the National Council. You will recall the Division organised a memorial service at the AFC Memorial Point Cook in November last year. This year, at our Annual Pilgrimage to the memorial, we will unveil a bronze plaque that records the existence of the two scrolls containing the names of AFC and RAAF airmen and airwomen who have lost their lives on operational service.
Watch our website for the mid-year function details at which I am very much looking forward to catching up with as many of you who can attend.