Royal Australian Air Force


Newest data shown in red   February 8, 2022


RAAF Caribou Overseas

Click to enlarge the photos

Papua New Guinea (1965 - 1975)
  During 1965, Caribous from the 38 Squadron were regularly, if temporarily, based in in Papua New Guinea (PNG) then an Australian Territory since the end of World War I. Mainly for flying duties and working with the Australian Army. On October 18, 1965 the 38 Squadron had two Caribous assigned to Detachment "A" at Port Moresby, PNG. Detachment "A" stayed in PNG until late 1975 when PNG gained independence as a new nation. In the 10 years Detachment "A" flew 26,500 hours. During this time frame 3 Caribous were written off.

<<< 38 Squadron’s Detachment ‘A’ at Port Moresby,  PNG,  January 1967. (Gareth Kimberley)

>>> The pilots at  38 Squadron’s Detachment ‘A’  at Jackson’s Field,  Port Moresby,  January 1967.  Plt Offs Stu Cooper and Max Goodsell, Flt Lt Nick Watling, Sqn Ldr Ron Raymond and Flt Lt Gareth Kimberley. (Gareth Kimberley)

 The attached map shows Papua New Guinea and the locations of the 3 Caribous that crashed there over the ten years  between 1965 and 1975.
<<< A4-199 (cn# 199) in flight over PNG.  (Gareth Kimberley)

<<<An RAAF Caribou landing at Guari. (Ian Sutherland)

>>> RAAF Caribou operating out of Mende, Papua New Guinea during famine relief operations, Oct. 1972   (Denis Hersey -Australian -  DPAO)

<<< Terry Barker was a Bou pilot with the RAAF who flow many times into the strip at Guari. 
The strip is 600m long (about 2,000ft) and is almost 6,100ft above sea level.   
>>> The one-way strip is 30 / 12, with a 6.4% slope down to the NW.  It is on a spur line, at 8min 3sec South, 146min 
52 sec East.T he aerial view (left) from the south gives you the overall perspective. (Terry Barker)

Papua New Guinea (1976 - 2009)

35 Sqn Caribou crashes at Eliptamin in PNG

 At about 1415 on the 23rd October, 1978, Caribou A4-164 crashed on take-off from remote Eliptamin airfield, PNG, 15 kilometres northeast  of Telefomin in the Wewak FIA.


 All three crew, captain Flight Lieutenant Bob Burstall, co-pilot Pilot Officer Mark Freeman and loady Corporal John Young, were unhurt. According  to later 1978 press reporting, the ensuing salvage operation commenced on the 27th October 1978 when nine RAAF aircraft ferried 35 experts to  the site in Papua New Guinea's West Sepik Province.


 Hindered by the high altitude (5,600ft) and the lack of support equipment, the salvage crew stripped the Caribou. Trees were felled to make  an improvised gantry for removing the wing. The engines, each weighing over 2,000lb, were hauled across the airstrip by 50 villagers and  then airlifted out. Once the aircraft weight had been reduced to around 11,000lb, an RAAF Chinook, its lifting ability reduced by the high altitude,  was able to move the fuselage.


 The Caribou was taken the 145 miles to the coast after a five-hour journey and two refuelling stops with a second  Chinook carrying the fuel. A4-164 was subsequently repaired and returned to service. On the 30th May 1991   the Minister for Defence announced the Caribou fleet would  be reduced from 21 to 14 aircraft, and A4-164 was  the first withdrawn from service in November, 1992.


 It became a training aid at Richmond. The wings and tail section were removed and are now fitted to A4-173 at  the Queensland Air Museum at Caloundra.     

 (Thanks to Radschool Association  Vol 76   January, 2022)


While trekking the Kokoda Track near Efogi in Papua New Guinea around September 18, 2008 ,Warwick Duncan came across RAAF A4-285. 285 suffered severe damage to its left wing and upper fuselage in August, 2008. The aircraft was later cut up and shipped back to Australia.

Warwick son took these photos of A4-285

RAAF Papus New Guinea  familiarisation flights would sometimes manage an overnight at the Bensbach Lodge. While fishing downstream from the lodge one day a Caribou flew low overhead heading down the Bensbach River at the same time as a flock of pelicans, a few hundred metres further downstream, took off into the Caribou's flightpath. You can see the damage to the right wing of A4-210 (upper right photo). Next day another Caribou flew up from Townsville and patched up the first Caribou and they both flew back to Oz. (Date and photographer unknown)

United Nations Service (1975 - 1978)
  In February, 1975 Australia announced it would provide a Caribou aircraft to support of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). Aircraft from the 38 Squadron would get the duty an operate as Detachment "B". The single Caribou detachment base would alternated between Rawlpindi, Pakistan between May and October) and Srinigar, India for the other six months of the year. On March 4, 1975 A4-199 departed Richmond for India painted white with blue United Nations marking. The Caribou sortie was flown On April 1, 1975.

Three Caribous were involved in the UNMOGIP operation. A4-199, A4-152, A4-264 . Each Caribou was assigned a four month rotation. Eeach Caribou serviced three tours with UNMOGIP .  A4-264 flow the last sortie on December 30, 1978. It returned to Richmond AB in January, 1979.

  <<< Three of the RAAF 38th Squadron that were painted white for United Nation duty. ( Date and location unknown)

                                                                                                                               >>> 38 Squadron Detachment "B" UNMOGIP patch


East Timor-September 1975 Hijack of Caribou A4-140

  The story of the hijack of RAAF Caribou A4-140. Click on this to see the article from Radschool Association Magazine, Volume 58

  <<< A4-140 on the tarmac at Dili airfield, East Timor with Red Cross markings.

                                                                    >>> A4-199 the replacement for A4-140 in white paint with Red Cross markings.

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