Air Marshal Sir Richard Williams, widely recognised as the father of the Royal Australian Air Force, will be inducted into the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame in October, it was announced yesterday.
Williams will join three other inductees announced in 2020 that weren't formally inducted as scheduled last Novemeber because of COVID restrictions.
Air Marshal Sir Richard Williams KBE CB DSO was one of the first cadets trained for the Australian Flying Corps at Point Cook, and went on to serve as Commanding Officer of 1 Squadron in Palestine. After the war, Williams was instrumental in establishing the RAAF in 1921 against opposition from the Army and Navy, and is considered the "founding father" of the air force. He later served in WWII in London in charge of all Australian air assets overseas.
After a highly distinguished military aviation career Sir Richard became Director-General of Civil Aviation from 1946-1955. Point Cook air base in Victoria is named RAAF Williams in his honour.
The 2020 nominees who will be inducted along Williams are:
- Captain Deborah Jane Lawrie AM – Captain Lawrie has been involved with aviation for over 50 years, commencing her flying training at age of 16 and becoming the first female airline pilot for a major airline in Australia. She is regarded as a trailblazer and standard bearer by all those women who have followed her lead.
- Basil South Brown – Basil Brown was a co-founder of East West Airlines and was the inaugural President of AAAA in 1958. He established Airfarm Associates in NSW in 1953 and was in the forefront of the Australian ag flying industry for decades to come.
- John Weymouth is a national pioneer in the use of helicopters for commercial and emergency purposes. These include firefighting, search and rescue, mustering, training, infrastructure inspection to name just a few. Due in part to John’s extensive vision for the helicopter, Australia now operates the world’s second largest fleet of civil helicopters.
In addition, the 2020 Southern Cross Award will be presented to the Australian Helicopter Industry Association (AHIA) and the Australian Aerial Application Association (AAAA) for their significant contribution to battling the bushfires in the summer of 2019-20.
The induction dinner is scheduled for 30 October at the Historial Aircraft Restoriation Society (HARS) in Albion Park, NSW. AAHOF chairman Steve Padgett confirmed the dates yesterday.
“On behalf of the Board of AAHOF, our sponsors and supporters, I would like to thank everyone who has been so understanding with the postponement of the 2020 Dinner and other activities during 2020-21 and the many and varied COVID restrictions associated with that.
"However, we are delighted to confirm that we are going ahead with the 2021 Induction Dinner scheduled to take place on 30 of October”
More information is on the AAHOF website.