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Navy pioneer aviator retires

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· · . to be published or

. · ' . broadcast before 6 pm.

on Sunday, 31st March.


The Royal Australian Navy's Senior Commander,

who 'was a pilot with the original Fleet Air Arm thirty

year’s ago, will retire tomorrow (1st April).

The Minister for the Navy, Senator Gorton,

said today that Commander Frank G. Crowther,would be

leaving after forty-two years in - the R.A.N. He is the

most senior officer in the service entitled to wear "wings",

a.nd is the only fully qualified pilot in the supply Branch

of the Navy.

His varied career has ranged from helping to

pioneer service aviation to a tern as Controller to the


. Commander Crowther, whose final appointment

has been as Base Supply Officer at H.M.y,.S. KUTTAlBUL in

Sydney, joined the R.A.N. as a Paymaster Cadet in 1921.

Although a member of the Supply Branch,

Paymaster Lieutenant Crowther applied for pilot training

when the Naval Board decided to' form the original Fleet

Air A m in 1922. The Supply Branch agreed that this ·

could be a useful way of getting first-hand knowledge of

Naval-Air Stores, but he did so well on the- flying course ·

that he was soon a pilot in the original Fleet Air Arm


■ . He undertook his. flying course at the Number

One Flying Training School at Point Cook, where his fellow

students included the future Air Vice Marshals J.E. Hewitt '

and Ξ. C = Waokett. ■ ' . . . ·

After winning his "wings", he flew Supermarine

Seagull Anphibions from the seaplane carrier, H.M.A.S.

ALBATROSS. These aircraft were constructed of wood, with

a sortie endurance of four hours flying time.

At the outbre.ak of the Second World War,

Commander Crowther was serving in H.M.A.S. PERTH, which was

at Jamaica when hostilities broke out. PERTH remained as

pant of the Royal Navy's American-West Indies Squadron,

before returning to Australia in 1940. Other wantime

appointments were in H.M.A.S. ADELAIDE and at naval estab- '

lishments in Darwin and Fremantle.

. In 1947 he Wc?„s appointed Military Secretary

and Controller to the Governor-General. Later he served in

H.M.A.S. AUSTRALIA, at the Naval Air Station a.t Nowra and

at the Apprentices Training Establishments at Quaker's Hill,

near Sydney.


Canberra. 31 March, 1953.