No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School RAAF

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9 EFTS.jpg
Aerial view of Cunderdin with airport mid photo

Brief History

No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School (9EFTS) was formed in late 1940 at Cunderdin, east of Perth. During World War II the unit averaged 50 aircraft, with 40 officers and 550 airmen providing instruction and support for the Flying training. During the operation of 9EFTS many men were trained as pilots and aircrew, providing a significant contribution to the defence of Australia. There was only one fatality during the course of the School's operation. There were, however, many crashes, most of which required minor repairs to both aircraft and crew. The unit history is full of reference to aircraft being sent off to Perth for repair. For the duration of the War, the base itself was used as a staging depot for aircraft flying between Perth and the eastern States, providing fuel and rest for the aircraft and crew.

Problems were experienced in the early days of operation at the base with damage to the runways being caused by the skid shoes of the de Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth training aircraft.. A modified shoe was made for U1e aircraft using the airfield. Wear and tear to the runway was not helped by the efforts of the trainee pilots teaming to take off and land. Eyewitness accounts of 'herds' of Tiger Moths hopping down the runways may be the reason for the adoption of 9EFTS by a kangaroo named Elizabeth and her trusty side-kick, Spot the fox terrier. These two companions would faithfully arrive each morning for parade, taking up their place of honour at the bottom of the flagpole, remaining at attention for role call, displaying a proper regard for the ceremony. There they would remain until it was time to lead the marching troops from the headqu11rtcrs building to the tarmac. When the parade was dismissed Elizabeth and Spot would make their way to their next important appointment-morning tea in the orderly room. At 0955 precisely the two animals would present themselves for thc1r da1ly ration of biscuit. Elizabeth also had a secret vice: she was addicted to Minties, a vice wh1ch was pandered to by the orderly room staff.

9EFTS also played host to United States servicemen during the War who flew B-24 Liberators. With the cessation of flying training in December 1944, the base was turned over to No. 86 Operational Base Unit and the No. 25 (City of Perth) Squadron which was also flying B-24 Liberators.

Following the war the base was used as a migrant camp from 1949 until 1952 with a capacity of 700 persons..

Unit Personnel



Content has come from Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History - Volume 8 Training Units - Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995.

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