Warriors in the Sky

Magnificent men - but magnificent flying machines?

Host – Craig Stockings

Armageddon to OKRA – Australia’s Air Forces, 1914 – 2014

Lewis Frederickson

Australia’s air forces have grown from humble beginnings, as Lewis Frederickson will demonstrate in this discussion of Australian military aviation in Palestine during the Great War, compared with the recent RAAF Air Task Group experience over Iraq and Syria.

Australia’s ‘Battle of Britian’? Allied ‘fighter boys’ over Darwin

Anthony Cooper

The legendary Spitfire was the glamour aircraft of the Second World War, its reputation a product not only of success in the Battle of Britain, but also of assiduous myth creation by official media. Beyond the Spitfire, all fighter aircraft were heroized as wonder weapons, the acme of speed, dexterity and national virility, worthy steeds of another carefully-crafted national icon – the fighter pilot. Here too the ‘fighter boys’ of the Battle of Britain provided the definitive archetype.

The Darwin raids, featuring both fighter planes and fighter pilots aplenty, were grist to the wartime propaganda mill, but also news copy in the hands of Allied commanders needing to associate themselves with the right narrative. The story of the Darwin raids is one of fighter pilots who flew and fought not only to defeat the enemy, but to establish a reputation and uphold a tradition.

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Professor Craig Stockings

Craig Stockings is the Official Historian of Australian Operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor. He is a graduate of both the Australian Defence Force Academy, and the Royal Military College, Duntroon. As an Infantry Officer he served in a range of regimental appointments within the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. As a junior officer he served during the INTERFET deployment to East Timor in 1999-2000, followed by an appointment as the Aide-de-Camp to the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. Craig holds a First Class Honours Degree in History, Masters qualifications in International Relations and Education, and a PhD in History. Prior to his appointment as Official Historian, Craig was a Professor of History at the University of New South Wales (Canberra). His areas of academic interest concern general and Australian military history and operational analysis.

Dr Lewis Frederickson

Lewis Frederickson is an RAAF officer currently serving as the Chief of Air Force Fellow at UNSW Australian Defence Forces Academy. He has enjoyed 28 years of service as an Air Combat Officer and has relished roles as an educator and qualified aviation instructor. Lewis has an undergraduate degree in history and literature, and a Master’s degree in history. He was fortunate enough to complete his doctoral thesis on an aspect of Australia’s involvement in the Great War at UNSW in 2015. Lewis is scheduled to qualify with a bachelor’s degree in teaching in 2019. He deployed to East Timor in 1999, and to the Multi-National Force – Iraq (2007). He was the lead RAAF Officer in the Australian War Memorial Historical Mission to the Middle East Region (twice in 2016).

Dr Anthony Cooper

Anthony has had five books published. He has written four substantial campaign histories of RAAF units in World War II, covering both the European and Pacific Theatres: Darwin Spitfires: the real battle for Australia (2011 & 2013); Kokoda Air Strikes: Allied air forces in New Guinea, 1942 (2014) , RAAF bombers over Germany 1941-42 (2016), and Paddy Finucane and the legend of the Kenley Wing: No. 452 (Australian) Squadron, 485 (New Zealand) Squadron and 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron with the Kenley Wing, 1941 (2016). Anthony’s second book, Darwin Spitfires, told the story of the RAAF Spitfire Wing’s air defence of Darwin against the Japanese air raids of 1943, winning the Chief Minister’s NT History Book Award in 2013. He also wrote a condensed campaign history of the American 49th Fighter Group’s air defence of Darwin against the Japanese raids of 1942, entitled, ‘Darwin 1942: the missing year’, published online by The Territory Remembers in The Territory at war: a collection of stories (2017).

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