F-111 flight crew remembered 

ABOUT 100 people turned out to pay their respects to two crew members lost in an F-111 accident over Guyra 20 years ago.

About 15 members of RAAF No. 1 Squadron from Amberley in Queensland attended the service, performing catafalque party and other official duties in memory of their fallen comrades.

The morning service at Guyra Shire Council began with a welcome from Guyra mayor Hans Heitbrink and saw members of  pilot Flight Lieutenant Jeremy McNess and navigator Flight Lieutenant  Mark Cairns-Cowan lay wreaths in remembrance.

Guyra RSL Sub-branch president Brian Speary ran the commemorative section of the service along with a RAAF padre.

Yesterday afternoon saw family and RAAF colleagues of the fallen run a small private memorial service on the property Neeworra north of Guyra which is where the F-111 exploded 20 years ago.

The two men  were killed during a simulated attack on the Guyra Meatworks on September 13, 1993.

It was reported that residents heard a loud bang and the explosion above Neeworra on Tingha Rd lit up the sky for several seconds.

There had been a previous F-111 crash on April 2, 1987 when an aircraft just missed a house, crashing east of Mt Lindsay Rd near Tenterfield, ploughing across the road and into a paddock. It left a trail of flames in its wake and the crash killed Flight Lieutenant Mark Fallon, 24, and Flying Officer William Pike, 22. 

The RAAF originally purchased 43 F-111s – eight of which crashed, 23 were buried, and the rest are on display in defence establishments and museums around Australia.

The aircraft was retired in December 2010 in favour of the F/A-18 Super Hornets, with one of the most memorable parts of yesterday’s memorial services being a fly over by a F/A 18 Hornet.

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