As we approach 2022, I hope all members are winding down and looking forward to enjoying Christmas and New Year with family and friends. It has been a torrid two years, with the last twelve months having provided challenges not seen since the generation of our founders; the Spitfire pilots and crews.
It is more important than ever for the Spitfire Association to continue to support the defence of Australia, and Australian resilience more generally. The global political environment is more unstable than has been the case for many years and our country faces multiple challenges. We carry on and build on a long tradition established by the founders of our Spitfire Memorial Defence Fellowship (SMDF).
60th Anniversary Dinner
A reminder to all members to get your tickets to our 60th Anniversary celebratory dinner, scheduled for the 5th of March 2022 in Temora.
We are honoured to have the following guests joining us for this important milestone event:
- Chief of Air Force and SMDF Patron, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC, and his wife Louise
- Spitfire Association Patron Air Vice Marshal Mark Skidmore, AM, and Caroline Skidmore and,
- Former SMDF Patron Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, AC and Gitte Binskin.
Our special dinner event is shaping up to be an even better function than we'd originally anticipated. We have a display from the Roulettes confirmed and the RAAF Band will be providing musical entertainment for those who want to have a dance, or just listen to a superb line up of musicians.
And, in a very exciting announcement to members before we go public, a lucky ticket holder will be drawn on the night of our celebratory birthday event to win a flight in the tandem Spitfire TR9 being restored by Ross Pay. Further details will be communicated in time. Our thanks go to Ross Pay for his generosity in providing this life changing prize.
We are still drawing the winner of the limited edition Bausele watch on 27 January 2022.
Those who have already bought your tickets are automatically entered into both draws.
Key Dates - 2022
26th January – Australia Day
5th March – Temora for the 60th Anniversary Airshow and Dinner
26/27th March – Scone Airshow
25th April – ANZAC Day Luncheon (returns to the Bowls Club in York St)
6th June – D-Day
15th September – Battle of Britain Day
27th October – AGM
11th November – Remembrance Day
During 2022 - Lysle Roberts Commemorative Luncheons
Details for related activities will be released closer to the date.
The Contemporary Spitfire Association
A reminder of my earlier message regarding your Association and its contemporary form. Your incoming Committee is made up of a very strong group from industry and Defence and prepares us well for the first year of operation as an incorporated body.
What are our priorities, both now and the future?
Whilst looking to our future, we must never forget the contribution made by our founders and their peers, many making the ultimate sacrifice. Consequently, we have adopted two mottos: "Keeping the Memory Alive" and "Carrying the Spirit Forward"
Everything we do follows themes that were defined by our founders and continue to influence our future:
1. "Keeping the Memory Alive" - History and Commemoration
We will maintain our focus on the contribution of our founders. Traditional events like ANZAC Day and the luncheon, upkeep of Spitfire pilot and crew biographies, commemorative activities will not change. Indeed, there is a renewed focus on traditional activities and commemoration as members will have seen in recent social media campaigns. Some very special announcements are in the wings and I'll write to you again in early 2022.
2. Keeping the Memory Alive whilst Carrying the Spirit Forward - Spitfire Memorial Defence Fellowship (SMDF)
This is the living legacy of our Spitfire Association and the founders of the SMDF from 457 Squadron. We will continue to see the Committee maintain its stewardship and active engagement with Defence with the original aims and application of the SMDF remaining unchanged. We receive enormous support from Defence and the Chief of Air Force and remain grateful for this and always first ask, what can we do to help Defence, whilst asking little in return; a cultural foundation of the SMDF founders, carried forward today.
3. "Carrying the Spirit Forward" - Our contemporary activities
We have begun the fund raising and I'm delighted to announce Defence Bank (https://www.defencebank.com.au) and AVT (https://www.ascentvision.com.au) as our first financial sponsors, joining pro-bono supporters Boson Group (https://www.bosongroup.com.au), Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers (https://www.meyervandenberg.com.au) and also recognising the support from the Temora Aviation Museum, Wings Magazine, the RAAF Association of NSW and the NSW Government.
In December we gathered the Committee in Canberra (some joining via Zoom) where Boson Group facilitated the first planning day for our newly incorporated Spitfire Association. WGCDR Keirin Joyce, our Strategy Officer, has put much thought, not only into what we do, but how we achieve it. We will publish the updated Strategy to all financial members once it has been reviewed and endorsed. I believe members will be interested to see what we have planned, and I hope delighted with the progress made whilst COVID has kept us from our traditional gatherings.
The planning day also had the advantage of:
- The valuable insights and advice provided by our inaugural Spitfire Association Advisory Board, chaired by ACM Mark Binskin, with the active support and participation of our very own Spitfire Association Patron, AVM Mark Skidmore was warmly welcomed by the Committee. Both gents tested our thinking and our plans for 2022 and added a depth to the considerations that proved useful. Thanks to both gentlemen.
The SMDF Alumni was formally enacted and Prof. Frank Marino and WGCDR Keirin Joyce provided an outstanding presentation on their plans for the Alumni and its enduring contribution to the Spitfire Association and our work in keeping Australia resilient.
I want to thank all these people for giving up valuable time in extremely busy schedules to play their part in "Carrying the Spirit Forward".
A reminder of the meaning for the Spitfire Association
Resilience is a word bandied about regularly and often without context. We are quite specific about its meaning in the context of our aims and the guidelines were well established in the SMDF. Our founders were prescient.
What does it mean to us?
- We engage in projects that can make an identifiable and measurable, step-change difference to Australia, including the defence of Australia.
- They will almost always have a short to medium (1-5 years) impact,
- If a project is undertaken with medium to long term impact it must still satisfy the short to medium term requirement.
- We will be focused on Australian sovereign capability and industry.
What doesn't it mean to us?
- We are not a think-tank; we work with them.
- We are not focused on just Defence. The SMDF will, however, remain as established by the founders.
Finally, to every member, supporter, and friend of the Spitfire Association, thank you for your support and best wishes for an enjoyable Christmas and New Year. I look forward to seeing you all at the exciting and commemorative events we've planned for 2022.
Image courtesy of website warthunder.com