Anthony Hunten Hammond
was born on 20 April 1945, at Bognor Regis, Sussex, UK. He enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in Melbourne on 10 August 1964 as a Recruit Midshipman (Aircrew), and was posted to HMAS Cerberus (FND) to the south of Melbourne, to begin his Recruit School Training and to be assessed for aircrew training.

Having completed his Recruit School Training, Hammond was directed to a Basic Aircrew Training Course, after which he was promoted to Midshipman. On 14 November 1964 he was drafted to HMAS Watson, a training base located on the South Head of Sydney Harbour, where he received further instruction in naval subjects.

On 8 January 1965 Hammond was posted to RAAF Point Cook near Melbourne, where he joined No.56 Pilots Course at No.1 Basic Flying Training School (BFTS). Early instruction covered flight theory and aeronautical knowledge. He then moved to the Link Trainer followed by flying instruction in the Winjeel training aircraft. Having reached the required standard, Hammond graduated from the BFTS on 12 September 1965.

His next move was to RAAF Pearce, the air force training base north of Perth, WA, where he joined the No 1 Advanced Flying Training School (AFTS). Arriving at Pearce in mid-September his training now focussed on conversion to jet aircraft, using the dual control de Havilland Vampire T-35 jet trainer aircraft. After his initial tuition with the guidance of an instructor he then began solo flying. The AFTS course was comprehensive with instrument flying, formation flying and other exercises – including night flying.

On 7 January 1966 Hammond resumed his training after taking Christmas leave. On 20 January 1966, after an instructional flight, he was briefed for a solo night flying exercise. At about 2240 he took-off in Vampire A79-653 on runway 18 at Pearce and began a climb into the night sky. Shortly after departure he called crosswind leg but less than a minute later Air Traffic Control saw a fireball in the hills to the east of the airfield. Subsequent investigation revealed the aircraft had struck the foothills of the Darling Ranges. Midshipman Anthony Hunten Hammond was killed instantly.

A subsequent investigation found the accident was most likely caused by the young and inexperienced pilot misreading the Altimeter over higher terrain.  There was some speculation that a known precession problem with the Vampire’s Attitude indicator could have been to blame, but the effect was marginal and the investigation did not consider it to be a contributory cause.  

Compiled by Kim Dunstan from the following References:
National Archives of Australia
ADF Serials
Mr David del Fabbro (No.56 Pilots’ Course).  Photo above forwarded by David. 


: Hammond’s RAN Officers’ Record of Service. His middle name, according to his Birth Certificate, was “Hunten”. This also appears in the Navy List of September 1965. Elsewhere, including on his Flying Course photograph, he appears to have used the middle initial “P” (for Patrick). It is not known where this came from.