Operation Sabre Ferry ended
On this day, Operation Sabre Ferry ended with the arrival of the last Sabre jets of No 78 Wing at Butterworth Air Base, Malaya. In 1958, Australia had pledged to send the two units of No 78 (Fighter) Wing––Nos 3 and 77 Squadrons––to join a new British Commonwealth Strategic Reserve in the region. Getting the relatively short-ranged Sabres to their new base was a major undertaking. No 3 Squadron set off first along the 9700-kilometre route, with 19 aircraft leaving Williamtown, NSW, in groups of three to four on 27 and 29 October 1958. Their movement was supported by other RAAF aircraft (Canberras, Neptunes and Dakotas). From 5 February 1959, the first of 16 aircraft from No 77 Squadron left from Richmond, this time with two of the RAAF’s new C-130 Hercules transports taking the place of the Dakotas. By 18 February, 78 Wing was complete at its new location.