Phil Agnew - Navigation training

Running time
2 min 52 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


The interviews were done not far from where we were camped, there was about, I suppose, about 10 of us were interviewed. I think a couple of them were rejected and I don't know what happened to the others but there were two, myself and a fellow named, Alan Carmen. He was from 31 Squadron he knew my brother well and we met at the airfield in Batchelor waiting for the Douglas DC3 to take us south for training. That's where we first met, got to know each other and we spent the rest of the war together, became good friends. Where we did our aircraft training, was in South Australia.

We initially went to Adelaide and then to Victor Harbour, which was on the outskirts of Adelaide. We did our initial training there and at the end of the initial training, they break up into different groups of pilots, navigators, gunners and Alan and I both opted to go as navigators. We were hoping to go on to Beaufighters at the end of our training. We both succeeded in that and got sent to their navigation trainee school. Initially to Ballarat but we'd only been there a short time when the nav school was transferred from Ballarat down at Victoria, to Mount Gambier in South Australia and we did our nav training at Mount Gambier.

The course was called navigator wireless. The reason for that is, we were trained in navigation and also in radio communication. That was to prepare to go on a two-man aircraft, where one man did the radio communication and the nav. At the end of the course, Allen and I were both given the commissions and our first posting was initially we did about three of four weeks, on commando training, using infantry weapons while we were waiting for a posting to be available. They taught us how to use rifles and Tommy guns and hand grenades, everything that you wouldn't want when you were in a plane.

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