John (Jack) Bennett, retired Wing Commander, born in Mudgee, NSW, attended school in Mudgee and when World War 2 commenced he was in first year at High School. Having failed tests in Maths and Physics in his Intermediate Exam his teacher, Selby Alley informed him that he was hopeless and would never amount to anything.
On leaving school in 1941 he worked as a housekeeper, baker, bowser boy and a machinist at the local Small Arms factory, which made a single component of the Bren Gun. Upon reaching the age of eighteen he enlisted in the RAAF as a Trainee Air Crew, hoping to become a Pilot. Three months later he was transferred for training as an Instrument Fitter.
He graduated in 1945 and began work on Catalina flying boats at Rathmines in NSW. The War ended a few months later and as most personnel were returned to civilian life he was retained in the Interim Air Force.
By 1954 he had served in Papua and New Guinea, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, Fiji, Port Hedland and once again, Canberra. He had now gained the NCO rank of Flight Sergeant. On the 21st January 1957 he was commissioned and posted to Laverton in Victoria, in charge of large Instrument workshops. Over the next sixteen years he then saw service at Victoria Barracks in Melbourne, Paris for three years, as a Mirage Project Officer, Malaysia as Works and Instrument Officer, Thailand as squadron Engineering Officer and returned to Melbourne as the RAAF Resident Engineer in 1967.
Upon being promoted to Wing Commander in 1971 he became reunited with the Mirage aircraft when he returned to the “sharp end” at the RAAF Base at Williamtown near Newcastle, NSW to take control of some twelve maintenance workshops responsible for maintaining the Mirage fighter squadrons. During the period at Williamtown the Australian Government gave a squadron of superseded Sabre fighters to the Indonesian Air Force. RAAF personnel at Williamtown became responsible for all aspects in the training of the IAF personnel. All RAAF members on the Base became teachers of English and all aspects of Sabre aircraft maintenance. A fine achievement.
After completing thirty years of service John decided that it was time to hand over to the younger generation and submitted his resignation which became effective on the 3rd of December 1973.
Remember, ‘if something is not impossible, then YOU can do it.’