The Royal Australian Air Force has dedicated a new memorial in honour of the 350,000 Australians who have served in Air Force since its inception in 1921, including the 11,191 Australians who died while serving their country.
The new Air Force Centenary Memorial, based at RAAF Base Williams in Point Cook, Melbourne, was opened on Wednesday, marking the final instalment and formal conclusion of Air Force’s Centenary program.
Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld said, “This memorial stands at the birthplace of the Royal Australian Air Force, as a tribute to the generations of Australians who have proudly worn the Air Force uniform.
“For more than 100 years, Air Force people have displayed courage, resilience, strength and humanity and given so much to protect the freedom we cherish today.”
AIRMSHL Hupfeld said the sandstone memorial has been designed “to be inclusive”, so that all current and former Air Force member and their families “can connect with it”.
The memorial includes officer and enlisted rank insignia and is representative of all employment groups within Air Force, since its formation.
It forms a semi-circular shape that completes the circle formed by the Australian Flying Corps Memorial on the opposite side of the parade ground, Defence said.
“Air Force is proud to have a diverse workforce representative of the Australian community and this memorial symbolises every one of them” AIRMSHL Hupfeld said.
On special occasions, Defence said the memorial will also feature a vertical spotlight to honour the 3,143 aviators who have no known grave.