IN a coup for the Far South Coast, the local “Nashos” have organised an official flyover by a C130 Hercules on Anzac Day.
The Eurobodalla and Far South Coast National Servicemen’s Association of Australia received confirmation from the Directorate of Centenary Events Air Force, that a C130 Hercules aircraft will fly over the marching and assembly sites in eight South Coast townships on Anzac Day.
The flight will pass over Batemans Bay at 10.53am and continue through to Moruya, Tuross Head, Dalmeny, Narooma, Bermagui, Bega, and finally Merimbula at 11.17am.
“This announcement follows nearly 12 months of lobbying and negotiations, and although the operation is dependent on weather and any external problems, we are hopeful it will illustrate and strengthen the bond that exists between past and present servicemen and women,” Alan Shepard, president of the local Nashos Association, said.
Australia was the first operator of the aircraft after the United States.
The RAAF's first major airlifter, the Hercules has frequently been used to deliver disaster relief in Australia and the Pacific region, as well as support military deployments overseas.
A number of the planes were quickly put into the air to carry emergency supplies to Vanuatu following the recent devastating cyclone there, and Australia was among the first countries to respond to calls for assistance.
The idea for the flyover was first mooted at a National Servicemen’s meeting following last year’s Anzac Day when members asked what they could do towards the centenary day of remembrance.
“This led to discussions with local RSL organisations and town Anzac Day committees where we asked for and received strong support,” Mr Shepard said.
“Formal approaches were then made to Member for Bega Andrew Constance, who has always been supportive and though now appointed a minister, attends meetings when possible.
“Federal member for Eden-Monaro Peter Hendy made sure our application reached the right people.
“Information from retired Air Vice-Marshall Hans Roser OAM, who is a close friend of one of our members Kurt Pisk, was invaluable in that it ensured the correct procedure was followed and obtainable goals could be achieved.”
Contact with the director of the Australian War Memorial Brendan Nelson was also a positive move as although he advised he had now been out of the political arena for some time he would very willingly offer support.
When Tim Fischer AO was advised this week by event coordinator Paul Pereira that the flyover request had been approved, he asked people attending Anzac Day ceremonies to remember some of the more elevating things that came out of World War 1.
“He said, ‘As the RAAF swoop over this Anzac Centenary Day we should salute the fallen, especially WW1 aviators such as young Clifford Peel whose letter to John Flynn while sailing to war helped and perhaps inspired him to create the Royal Flying Doctor Service’," Mr Pereira relayed.
Group Captain Frank Grigson, who processed the flyover application in his role as director of Centenary Events Air Force, advised local Nashos secretary Trevor Kohlhagen early in the year that although the request had been passed onto Headquarters Air Command, it was one of 700 similar applications.
“Our National Servicemen’s Association are very grateful that this RAAF flyover can help acknowledge the role that the Anzacs fulfilled in the establishment of our nation,” Mr Shephard said.
C130 Hercules flyover timetable is: Batemans Bay 10.53am, Moruya 10.57am, Tuross Head 11am, Dalmeny 11.02am, Narooma 11.03am, Bermagui 11.06am, Bega 11.13am, and Merimbula 11.17am.