Mystery Photo No. 8 was of a helicopter refuelling at NAS Nowra in the early 1950s.  The questions were: 

  • what type of helicopter is it?
  • what is the meaning of the pennant on the control tower, and
  • for an additional point, what is the duty runway?

SpazSinbad [aka Phil Thompson] was very quick in providing the correct answers (although he didn’t know the names and dates of birth of the sailors in the image).  Here they are:

  • The shot features an RAAF S51 Sikorsky ‘Dragonfly’ helicopter being refuelled at RANAS Nowra in the early 1950s. It looks like late in the afternoon on one of those bleak, wet and windy, mid-winter days at Nowra – say late July. The photo includes a view of the original control tower and an old GMC fuel tanker.
  • A pennant with black background and double white crosses flies at the top the control tower. According to A.P (N) 76 Regulations for the Fleet Air Arm, Part 5, under Aerodrome Visual Signals, this indicates: “Gliding is in progress or winged targets are being operated. Aircraft are not to taxi or take off without permission. Landing is prohibited except to those in aircraft which are making special visits or are forced to land in emergency or are operating from the aerodrome”
  • The duty runway (as seen written on a board on the Control Tower) is Runway 26.