RAAF birthday a time to reflect

By Captain Jarrad Baldwin

31 March 2020

Flight Lieutenant Michael Truscott, Flight Sergeant Russell Vine and Squadron Leader John Millar at the main logistics base in the Middle East. This image is a composite of three photographs.

On the 99th birthday of the Royal Australian Air Force, three personnel deployed on Operation Accordion with more than 99 years of combined experience have reflected on how the Air Force has changed during their careers.    

Flight Sergeant Russell Vine, who is deployed as the Visa Coordination Cell Second in Command, joined the Air Force in 1984 as a clerk medical. 

Throughout his 36 years in the orderly room he has witnessed type writers become computers, filing cabinets become floppy disks and the pay line migrate to PmKeys. 

“A to K, L to Z, lining up every fortnight to collect your pay. I was a V so I was always right down the back waiting for my pay in the envelope,” Flight Sergeant Vine said.

Having worn a few different uniforms in the past 30-odd years, one stands out to him.  

“I miss the ‘drabs’, or tropical dress as it was known,” he said. “In two postings to Butterworth I used to wear the drab shorts, the drab shirt and the long socks.”   

Squadron Leader John Millar enlisted in 1988 as a direct entry tradesman, posting to No. 5 Squadron at RAAF Fairbairn to work on Iroquois helicopters. 

In a career spanning 32 years he has since gone on to instruct recruits, maintain a variety of aircraft and is a former Warrant Officer of the Air Force.   

Squadron Leader Millar said no single experience stood out because his whole career had been memorable.  

“From 1988 to 2020 I’ve seen the Air force change dramatically thanks to the technological enhancement,” Squadron Leader Millar said.

“The greatest thing I do is work with young people. They are smart and they are the Air Force of tomorrow. You see the excitement in their eyes and I know the Air Force is in phenomenal hands.” 

Flight Lieutenant Michael Truscott joined under the RAAF apprentice scheme in 1983 and was an aircraft technician initially on P3 Orion and a variety of other roles before commissioning. 

After 37 years Flight Lieutenant Truscott is on his first operational deployment in the Middle East, where he works as the Assistant Host Nation Liaison Officer. 

He said the opportunity to deploy had been a highlight of his career and he has enjoyed the challenge. 

“Put your hand up and take opportunities as they arise, don’t sit back and wait for other people to do things, and experience as much as you can,” he said.   

Big Gay wedding 7th March 2020

OPERATION BIG GAY WEDDING Saturday 7th March 2020

The National Military Vehicle Museum was asked to provide Military Vehicles for a Wedding for a current serving member of the ADF and her soon-to-be wife, in Aldgate, in the Adelaide Hills.

Members of the National Military Vehicle Museum proudly supplied a 1941 Jeep and a GMC Truck which were driven by the vehicle’s owners Daryl and Grant.

To the glee of the couple and guests alike, the vehicles were used in photo shoots and used as wedding vehicles for the wedding of Alex and Jay.

The members of the museum wish the bride and groom their best wishes for a happy and long marriage and both members of the museum had a wonderful time supporting this event. All the best to Alex and Jay.


SANTOS M4 High Speed Tractor

The Museum’s latest arrival are 2 M4 High Speed Tractors.  These have been kindly donated by Santos and for many years have been on display at the Moomba airport.  The vehicles were used to tow water trailers from Coopers Creek to the newly developed oil well in the Simpson Desert.   The search for oil was unsuccessful but they did find large quantities of natural gas and the Moomba operation is one of the world’s larger gas fields.  The tractors were abandoned in the desert until one of the Moomba fire officers saw them and had them brought into Moomba along with the first drill rig used on the field, which had also been abandoned in the desert.

Jeff Pinney (the museum’s Public Relations Officer), through the efforts of Tony his brother-in-law had arranged the donation and transport of these tractors to our site.  After being abandoned in the desert for a long time and they have suffered at the hands of scavengers and the elements. The Santos M4 High Speed tractor is a full tracked vehicle designed as a prime mover for towing heavy artillery.   They were only in production during WW2.   One of the five guns towed was the 155gun carriage, one of which is on display at the entrance to the Port Wakefield Proof range.

The vehicle uses the same tracks idlers road wheels and front and rear sprockets as the M3 and M4 tanks of WW2.  The suspension was unique to the M4.  They were developed in response to a desire by the artillery to move guns by tracked vehicles which could traverse difficult terrain when emplacing artillery.   The tractor was powered by a six cylinder Waukesha petrol engine of 817 cubic inches.  Power was transmitted via dry clutch to a torque convertor to 3 speed transmission and final drive.   This is a very rare vehicle in Australia and parts are going to be very difficult to obtain.   For those interested there are some great Utube images of operating M4’sand one under construction.

The M4 18-ton High Speed Tractor was designed as a prime mover for towing large field artillery guns such as the 90mm Anti-Aircraft gun, the 155mm Long Tom, the 8in. Howitzer, or other heavy weapons (See the Towed Artillery Chart). In addition to moving the gun, the M-4 High Speed Tractor carried ammunition in cargo space racks. Ten men plus the driver could be carried. The M-4 HST was manufactured by Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co. of Milwaukee, WI starting in 1942 and was in U.S. military service until approximately 1960.

The M-4 High Speed Tractor was equipped with air and electric brakes that would match any types of brakes on the towed load.

An anti-aircraft .50 cal. machine gun on a ring mount was accessed through a hatch above the crew compartment.

Specifications of the M-4 High Speed Tractor

Crew Driver
Weight 31,500 lbs.
Height 7 ft, 10 in.
Width 8 ft, 1 in.
Length 17 ft, 2 in.
Engine Waukesha 145GZ 6 cyl. gasoline
Horsepower 210hp
Road Speed 35 mph
Range 180 mi.

Australia day awards 2020 Salisbury Council

Mayor Gillian Aldridge presenting Australia Day award to Bill and Eileen Prior Museum members

Australia day awards – Salisbury 2020

On Australia Day at Salisbury 2020 two members of the museum were presented with Australia day Medallion.

Bill and Eileen Prior who give countless hours of their time to the museum by providing catering for various events such as: ANZAC day BBQ’s, Christmas Pageants, Veteran organisations support work and both Bill and Eileen provide catering at the museum open days, club meetings and major event catering.

Bill and Eileen are also very active outside the museum by providing volunteer work at school canteens.

The museum was invited to display some of their members vehicles on the day at the new Salisbury Hub.

The museum hosts open days, tours by appointment, the museum hosts weddings and birthday parties, AGM’s and car shows.

For further details please contact the museum’s Public Relations Officer, Jeff Pinney Ph 0401 454 515 or send an email: militaryvehiclemuseumpro@outlook.com.

BAE Systems Australia Donation to the museum – February 2020

David Barrill (Ex BAE) handing over Betsy to Ray Hall (museum workshop manager)

BAE Systems Australia, donation to the National Military Vehicle Museum. Vehicle handed over from David Berrill (ex BAE) to Ray Hall (Museum workshop Manager)

Details of the vehicle is as follows:

The Shorland S600 internal security vehicle (Betsy) was developed in the late 1990s by British Aerospace Australia based at Wingfield in South Australia. This particular vehicle was the initial production vehicle for the fleet of S600 vehicles designed and manufactured for the Kuwait National Guard and was competed in early September 1997.

This vehicle was used for driver and maintainer training and numerous marketing and demonstration activities in Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and Australia. She is affectionately known as “Betsy” and was donated to the National Military Vehicle Museum by BAE Systems Australia on 18 December 2019.

For further information on tours, wedding and birthday functions please phone Public Relations Officer Jeff Pinney 0401 454 515

Military Surplus Store

Military Surplus Store, the National Military Vehicle Museum has a Military store, with various uniform and webbing and other Military surplus.

The shop is open by appointment, please ring Jeff Tun Tin Ph: 0419 835 883 or email: tuntin@adam.com.au and contact Jeff if you are looking for anything in particular.

Donations of Military items are always welcome. All funds raised go to the museum.

Presidents Report 2017/2018

Another 12 months has passed and the AGM is this month. In May we passed the 2 year anniversary of purchasing the property and have we been busy. As mentioned in last year’s report we had 2 major projects which were on the top of the priority list, the installation of a Fire Service and the replacement of the roof on the meeting room. I am pleased to report that the roof replacement is completed after a successful grant application and the Fire Service is close to completion funded by the Society and supported by a number of members over numerous working bees both during the week and on weekends for the last 6 months.

As a bonus we were able to incorporate other improvements into the latter project which maximised the use of the trenches such as the replacement of the aging domestic water pipes, wiring for a future public address system, underground power to the white ant building and to the front gate as well as for future street lighting. By fortunate coincidence the Salisbury Council provided the recycled water connection at the same time so we have also laid the recycled water pipes. This has set us up well for the future with the only down side being that the Society bank balance has taken a big hit which will have to be addressed. Still we have been here before and we have always come out ahead.

The other major project has been the upgrade of our eating area through the Work for dole programme. The old sails have been replaced by a steel pergola and the paving replaced and extended. We still have to do some final work ourselves due mainly to an increase in area for the BBQ and servery but this should be completed soon. It will be a great asset for Group visits and other events.

Visits to the museum have been steady; however group visits were down over recent months largely due to the onsite works but have improved over the last few weeks. This is something we will need to work on over the coming year particularly promoting the availability of the new facilities. The Beersheba event in October was a huge success both from a public attendance and financial point of view, raising in the vicinity of $7000.

In the workshop the restoration of the Bedford Utility for the Salisbury Council was completed in time for the Christmas Pageant in November. Earlier this year the Studebaker 6×6 was completed and is now on display. The FWD restoration has continued and is now being accelerated after a recent Grant being provided under the Centenary of the Armistice. Our goal is to have it ready for the Armistice commemorations on Remembrance Day this year. The M548 is now also in the workshop undergoing restoration and is progressing well and the Landrover Project in conjunction with the Bowden Brompton Community School is also moving forward. We are lucky to have such a group of dedicated and talented volunteers.

For Society members a number of outside events were attended this year including the Playford Christmas Pageant, Salisbury Christmas Pageant, Port Adelaide Christmas Pageant, and of course we continued to provide vehicle support for the Anzac Day March. Further afield members attended and enjoyed the Landrover 70 anniversary Birthday bash event at Melrose over Easter and the Annual Corowa Swim-in during March was well attended as usual. An overnight run to Swan Reach a few weeks ago was attended by some members who enjoyed a cruise on Sam’s ex RAN Torpedo Recovery Boat, many campfire stories and good wine. An increase in runs for members like this should be on our agenda so if anyone has some ideas feel free to start organising. As it is every year the Annual Christmas Show in December was enjoyed by all who attended on a day of perfect weather.

On a sadder note last month we lost Kevin McQuillan who had been a past member and a longstanding member of the Nine Mile Snipers.

Finally I wish to convey my thanks to the committee and subcommittee who again this year have put in many hours of work and to all members who have contributed with their time or donations during the last 12 months. It has been another good year and although we have some challenges ahead we can look forward to more progress in the coming year.

Dave Carmen

President, MVPSSA

Holden Wartime Production – Not Just Cars

From the Boer War to WWI, Holden and Frost of Adelaide, South Australia produced ammunition bandoliers, bayonet holsters, saddlebags and other leather products. However, by WWII the dynamics of the company had changed dramatically into motor vehicle assembly. During that period, they oversaw 700 Manufacturing and Engineering companies. Their WWII War effort was truly staggering. At the beginning of the war, 750 employees had enlisted in the armed forces.

Overview list of the type of manufacturing products:-

  1. Truck assembling and manufacturing in hundreds of configurations
  2. Artillery
    1. 2-Pdr Anti-Tank Gun
    2. 6 Pdr Anti-Tank Gun
    3. 20mm Polsten Anti-Aircraft Gun
    4. 25-pdr Field Gun was a gun/howitzer, also artillery gun limbers
  3. Caravan and trailers, included Jeep trailers
  4. Aircraft parts and components, included aero engines
  5. Bridging pontoons and boats, tents haversacks
  6. Munitions, ammo boxes, magazines and bombs
  7. Late war 250 Holden Jeep Ambulances

Post WWII Holden products for the Defence Force

  1. Station wagons, sedan staff cars and Utes supplies to the Defence Force
  2. 2. Holden supported the CMF Army Reserve, Army Cadets and Civil Defence Teams by allowing many of their employees to service in the above organisations


This page is dedicated to the Holden employees who made the supreme sacrifice in WWI and WWII.


Story & Photos by Jeff Pinney and Maggie Bogar

Jeff Pinney (36 years employment with Holden, 17 years serving in 3/9 South Australian Mounted Rifles, on retirement from Holden is now Public Relations Officer at the National Military Vehicle Museum overviewing Holden WWI and WWII History).

Keysight Technologies at the Museum Site

Article by Tony Bell

No doubt some members have seen the unusual looking shipping container with Keysight Calibration Laboratory written on the side. The container has been in the south-east corner of the Museum precinct, next to the toilet block.

First of all, what is a calibration laboratory/facility/centre? I can recall many years ago when buying petrol, a person at a nearby petrol bowser carefully filling a strange looking conical container with a spout and handle to a prescribed level. He was from ‘weights and measures’ and checking the accuracy of the bowser. Similarly I can recall a person weighing some blocks of steel at a supermarket. The blocks of steel kept in a felt lined wooden box were obviously very accurate weights and he was checking the accuracy of the supermarket scales. With electronic test equipment, it may also be necessary for it to be calibrated, particularly if the test equipment is being used to test or calibrate critical equipment. Electronic test and measuring equipment is generally calibrated annually.

When I retired 9 years ago, most of the larger organisations using electronic test equipment, such as the R.A.A.F. and BAe Systems, had closed their internal calibration centres and outsourced the calibration. The Army actually had a calibration facility built in to a standard equipment shelter mounted on a F1 Mk 5 truck. This truck moved from base to base, calibrating equipment. When I retired, the R.A.A.F. facility at Edinburgh had closed and my wide range of test equipment was either out-sourced by the unit or I outsourced the more specialised equipment to the original equipment manufacturer (o.e.m.) or the Australian agent.

So who are Keysight Technologies? In 1938 two friends, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard formed a company, Hewlett Packard (the order determined by the toss of a coin), which soon gained a reputation of producing high performance test and measuring equipment. In the 1960s, HP, as the company became known as, began to divest its interests, particularly in to the digital world, producing some of the earliest small computers and scientific calculators. I can recall buying a HP 35, the world’s first scientific calculator, in about 1973 for about $270, its price had just fallen from about $470 on the release of the HP 45 at the latter release price. The rapidly growing computer industry was run side by side with the electronic test and measurement division. In 1999 HP “spins off” Agilent Technologies, consisting of HP’s former test and measurement and medical divisions. In 2013 Agilent Technologies “spins off” Keysight Technologies consisting of Agilent’s former test and measurement business.

What is the container? Agilent, as a major supplier of test and measurement equipment had a responsibility to provide a prompt calibration service in Australia for its customers due to the risk of maintaining calibration of test equipment when transporting the equipment over long distances. In Australia, Agilent developed a portable laboratory in a rather cleverly modified shipping container and visiting all of the mainland capital cities annually. The container is moved by one of the larger transport companies. Two crews operate the facility, alternating at roughly monthly intervals. The sign writing was changed to Keysight after 2013.

So what has this to do with the M.V.P.S. or Museum? When Agilent/Keysight has come to Adelaide they have found that the site that they used in the previous year has become unavailable for one reason or another. Phu, my technical officer in the R.A.A.F., knowing of my association with the N.M.V.M. suggested to my successor, Paul, that the Museum would be an ideal site, particularly considering that the R.A.A.F. and BAe Systems are two of Keysight’s larger customers, Paul contacted me with Peter, the Keysight facility manager’s , contact details. I presented the idea to both Peter and the Committee, and the rest is history. Due to severe damage to the facility in Perth, this year’s schedule is somewhat unusual in that the Laboratory will be here for two separate periods, 13th to the 23rd of June and the 31st of July to 11th of August. The facility is required in Melbourne in July. Next year Peter anticipates that the Laboratory will be in Adelaide continuously for some 5 weeks in the June to August time frame.

What is the benefit to the Society and Museum? Keysight offered a rent rate that the Society could not, and did not have any reason to refuse. It certainly helps with the mortgage. The benefit to Keysight is that they do not have to seek out a new site with suitable facilities every year and their customers will soon get to know where the site is, if they do not already know. So it is a case of both parties winning. An extra lock will be placed on the gate for their and their customers’ access. Peter intends keeping the gate locked when there are no M.V.P.S. personnel present.

What about the future? Peter can envisage still being at the N.M.V. M. in 20 years.

And the fringe benefit? Peter is an ex-R.A.E.M.E. calibration technician and commented on social media to former colleagues about the signals collection. We are likely to get some 50 more visitors through the door.

Newspot Motors 75th Anniversary Jeep Promo

On Saturday Jeff Pinney and a team of Jeep owners that are members of the Museum attended a promo at Newspot Motors on Main North Road along with their vehicles that were on display. The reason for the visit was to help the car yard advertise and to also promote our 75th Jeep Anniversary Family Fun Day that will be open to the general public on Sunday the 9th of October. There will be plenty of activities to see and do on the day.

To make the visit a little more interesting we will have a number of vehicle rides from Terry’s 1953 Avis Saracen Mk 5 APC, Weapons Display, 25 Pounder Field Gun Firing, Vehicle Manoeuvres, Weapons Simulation, Music and much more. There will also be food and drinks available, with free parking on the day.

Editorial by Maggie Bogar and Photos provided by Snapit.First Photography

Wheels and Tracks – Motorfest 2016

As part of Motorfest, Monday the 26th of September 2016, the Military Museum was open to the general public to attend a guided tour of our facility and also partake in a BBQ lunch and then followed by vehicle rides by the adventurous that took the opportunity to ride in “Miss Stuart” with an occasional gun firing, as well as Alvis Saracen Mk 5 vehicle rides.

We had visitors from the Federation Historic Motoring Clubs of South Australia:

Peter from the Cadillac La-Salle Car Club of S.A. John (volunteer) from Brighton with his Land Rover. Visitors from Port Lincoln, Victoria, Dance group Holden Club, The Early Ford V-8 Club of America (Regional group 94). Anne Ford and her husband from the Morris Register (Original Cars) Car Club, Holden Club and a gentleman by the name of Martin Jansen who was enthusiastic enough to travel 5000 km’s from Queensland over a 5 week period in his Buick from the (Buick Car Club), to participate and be a part of the various events held during the two week period.

Anne Ford and her husband from the Morris Register (Original Cars) Car Club

Martin Jansen, from Queensland (Buick Car Club)

The Early Ford V-8  Club of America

There was also a good selection of vehicles from individual car owners put on display for all the visitors and general public to view.

We would like to thank everyone that attended, also a big thank you to the volunteers for all the help on the day. A thank you to Michelle for taking care of the certificates and memorabilia that was handed out on the day. An Air Force silk WW2 handkerchief and three 1944 vehicle log books were donated by some of the visitors that attended on the day.

Editorial Article by Maggie Bogar and photos provided by Snapit.First Photography