Marking Narromine’s military aviation history

Narromine’s military history is set to be recognised thanks to a grant from the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund.

Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders has today announced $136,941 for the Narromine Aviation Museum Incorporated to build a World War II Air Force memorial wall at the Narromine Aerodrome.

“From May 1940 to May 1944, 2,850 pilots went through the RAAF No. 5 Elementary Flying Training School at the Narromine Aerodrome – over 20% of all pilots trained in Australia during that period,” Mr Saunders said.

“The region is still internationally renowned for its fantastic thermals, and is widely considered one of the top three locations in the world for gliding.

“This memorial wall will be a great tribute to the region’s military history, and I can’t wait to see the finished product!”

Narromine Aviation Museum Chairman Peter Kierath OAM is the nephew of Flight Lieutenant Reginald ‘Rusty’ Kierath, who was taken prisoner by the Germans after an aerial battle over the Tunisian coast.

“My uncle was involved in the Great Escape, so that’s why it means so much to me,” Mr Kierath said.

“We get quite a few visitors come in saying their uncle or grand-father or great-uncle trained here, so I have no doubt it’s going to give us a big uplift in tourism.

“I’m just so pleased that the State Government has seen the value in this project.”

The wall will be constructed using old English-style red bricks and, when complete, will stand 1m high with a 30-degree slope.

Mounted along the top will be 38 plaques, honouring all 2,850 pilots who trained at No. 5 Elementary Flying Training School, including about 16 who died during training, and about 780 pilots who served but never returned home.

The $660 million Stronger Country Communities Fund is part of the NSW Government’s $3.3 billion Regional Growth Fund, designed to support growing regional centres, activate local economies and improve services and community infrastructure in the regions. Almost $20 million has been committed across the Dubbo electorate since the SCCF program was introduced.

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