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First Nations Aviators

[Australian Air Campaign Series – 4]



RAAF History and Heritage Branch

Newport, NSW: Big Sky Publishing, 2022

Paperback   230pp   RRP $19.99


Reviewer: Neville Taylor, March 2023


This is an impressive collection of ‘pen pictures’ of 33 men and 21 women who have served or are still serving in the RAAF. A brief childhood history, education, adult life before enlistment and what tempted them to enlist, their RAAF career (so far) and is supplemented by numerous high-quality photographs. The oldest was born in 1910, and the youngest in 1994. The first enlistee was in 1940, and the latest in 2021. Both men and women have occupied all the ranks available from aircraftman/aircraftwomen to wing commander. There is a noticeable preponderance of warrant officers who are still serving today.

There are representatives in all Australian campaigns since World War II. Outstanding service has been recognised by the award of the British Empire Medal, the Order of Australia Medal (OAM), the Distinguished Flying Cross and Member of the Order of Australia (AM) to those listed in this title. Warrant Officer Leonard Waters was the only First Nation fighter pilot in World War II [see Rees, Peter (2018),The Missing Man. Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW]. It is interesting to read of numerous changes of speciality/branch by individuals as their service in the RAAF has progressed.  

This is a very readable record of First Nations aviators in a collection that intentionally ignores to gender, date of service and rank. It is pleasing that so early in this RAAF series attention has been turned to their First Nations members.



The RUSI – Vic Library thanks the publisher for making this work available for review.

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