Advice has been received of the passing of Ron Smith, aged 79.

Ron Joined the FAA as a Radio Mechanic and changed to AE in 1963. After retiring from the Navy he returned to Toowoomba Qld working for Telecom for many years. He retired to Withcott (near Toowoomba)) He passed away in September 2018  following a fall.

He is survived by his wife Denise and two children.

Comments (2)

  • Ray G

    Ron joined around 1958 as an aircraft Radio Mechanic. Then in late 1962/63 the FAA reckoned it was short of PO trades people and advertised for a “Direct Entry” intake to under go extensive training and ending up as Petty Officers. Many FAA sailors saw the ad and applied (having the advertised qualifications). The course of all FAA personnel started what was a shortened mechanicians course. It left out the fitting and turning and was shortened to 2 years. Some held at Nowra and the rest at Nirimba. I think 30 started the course. The 30 consisted of Ron , two electricians and the rest being AE. At the completion only 6 passed (I was one). There were another 6 who completed the course but were unsuccessful. Ron Smith and the two electricians were among the unsuccessful.

    I think Ron made WO before he retired. I believe one of his claims to fame was getting a civilian version of the RAN identification card for those who retired.

    Among his many skills was model aircraft and sign writing, being responsible for all the sign writing for aircraft following major over haul and full re-paint.

    Unfortunately in his later years his health was poor.

    He was active in the local Withcott RSL.

    Ray G.

    November 2, 2018 at 4:27 pm
  • SpazSinbad

    WOATA Ron Smith (earlier responsible for assisting the Macchi into the RAN) tells the story: “Captain ‘Knobby’ Clarke wanted some unique tail decoration to be placed on one aircraft which he would use to transport himself to Canberra whenever the need arose. The Senior Pilot of VC-724 proposed some contortion that resembled an arrow head or something similar. I think it may have been used on 724 Skyhawks sometime later. He also wanted the colour to be white. [Captain Clarke learnt to fly (only dual with LCDR Al Hickling) in this particular aircraft.]

    I was experienced in Show Card and Ticket Writing, as well as having assisted Prof Edwards paint names, insignia etc. on various aircraft throughout the years. They picked me to do the heavy stuff but I had my own idea of what ‘Knobby’ wanted. I approached VC-724 SP with my scheme but he rejected it and told me to do it his way. ‘Knobby’ called us all together to see how we were going and I took the opportunity to present both sets of plans. I was careful not say anything about which plan belonged to which person. Knobby pointed to the Gold Albatross and said, “That is perfect for what I want.” The SP replied, “I thought you would like that. I have told the Chief to go ahead.” Sometime later, at a piss-up at the Ensign Club, the SP bought me a beer.” [WOATA = Warrant Officer Air Technical Aircraft] WOATA Ron Smith

    November 12, 2018 at 10:41 am

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