Bill Monaghan and Frank Cook - Enlistment

Running time
3 min
Department of Veterans' Affairs

Bill Monaghan and Frank Cook talk about their enlistment


BM: All I ever wanted to do was fly aeroplanes. My mother said the first word I said was "aeroplane". She said Kingsford Smith was flying over at the time. I don't know how true that is, but that's how it was with me, I just wanted to fly. I was building model aeroplanes. I initially joined and was told that, because I didn't have the education qualification, that if I studied hard and got my equivalent of the certificate then I'd be able to get into air crew. The only one who believed that was me. Which is exactly what I did. I went to night school and stuff while I was an engine fitter, which I enjoyed - I liked working on the engines. And eventually the Korean War came along and they were needing pilots, so I got a gurnsey, and that's it. Three years in ground crew and then the rest of the time was a GD [General Duties] pilot which was my life's ambition.

FC: Actually I was living in Victoria at the time, and jobs were a bit hard to get and I decided I was going to join the services. At that stage you could get into the army, it was only two years if you signed up for a career. So I went down to Melbourne to the recruiting office to join the army and I met a mate outside the recruiting office. He said "What are you doing here?" And I told him I was going to join the army. And he said "I'm down here to join the air force" and I said "Oh, bugger it, I'll join the air force then." So instead of joining the army for two years I joined the air force for six. It's as simple as that. Then it was just training courses after that. I trained to be a fitter so we did a three month course at Rathmines in New South Wales, near Newcastle. Depending on your grades in that, depending on what your further training was, if you were very high up you went for electricians, instrument mechanics and all that type of thing. I was in the lower grades and you had the choice of either an engine or an airframe fitter. So I became an airframe fitter at that stage. It was simple as that.

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