Sneak Peek at Flying Corp Bear

Lieut. Hendy shares the story of the Flying Corps and Australia’s early adoption of military flying. All pilots of the A.F.C. were officers of the Australian Imperial Force.

Sneak Peek at Flying Corp Bear

Military Voice readers are getting a sneak peek at Lieutenant Thomas Hendy, an amazing new Australia in the Great War Flying Corps bear that commemorates the brave young Australians and their flimsy flying machines during the First World War.

Lieut. Hendy shares the story of the Flying Corps and Australia’s early adoption of military flying. All pilots of the A.F.C. were officers of the Australian Imperial Force.

Interestingly, Australia was the only dominion of the British Empire to establish its own flying corps for service in the war. Around 460 officers and 2,234 other ranks served in the Middle East, over the Western Front, and in training schools in England.

While a small number of A.F.C. pilots graduated from the Central Flying School at Point Cook in Victoria or from the NSW State Aviation School at Richmond, most completed training in England, where it generally took eight months of intensive training to qualify.

The first full A.F.C. squadron to deploy was No. 1 Squadron, which left Australia for Egypt in March 1916. By 1917 No. 2, 3, and 4 Squadrons were operating over the Western Front, while in England A.F.C. No. 5, 6, 7 and 8 Squadrons formed the Australian Training Wing to prepare replacement pilots and ground crew.

Lieutenant Hendy’s uniform reflects the full-length leather ‘Maternity Pattern’ flying jacket and leather flight helmet worn by many aircrew of the A.F.C. to provide warmth during flights in open cockpit aeroplanes.  The large angled external pocket on the left-breast provided quick access to maps, while beneath his flight jacket he would wear his standard dismounted troops’ khaki uniform of the Australian Imperial Force.

A.F.C. squadrons operated under the control of Britain’s Royal Flying Corps and were involved in air-to-air combat; reconnaissance and artillery spotting, as well as in bombing operations over enemy territory.  In the Centenary of the Great War Lieut. Hendy helps us honour these pioneers of Australian military aviation.

Military Voice


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