January 4th – Fairey Battle

Fairey Battle Plane replica - Evans Head

This replica of the Fairey Battle light bomber can be found in the northern NSW coastal town of Evans Head, about 1 km north of the town centre.

The Fairey Battle was produced in the UK in the 1930, and was a significant advance in  aerial warfare, though as a lightweight single-engine bomber it was weighed down by the 3 crew and loaded ordinance. Sluggish through the air and poor on-board defence (a single .303 machine gun), the Battle was easily susceptible to anti-aircraft fire.

Despite being credited with the first airborne kill of WWII, it was removed from service in 1940, with fewer than 50% of the Fairey Battle’s returning from mission.

The Battle was continued as a training aircraft, with the Royal Australian Air Force adopting 366 planes. Many of these spent at some time on the tarmac of the Evans Head Air Base.

The Evans Head airstrip was built in 1936, and was soon used for military preparation and training during the WWII years. It is still in use today, but since the Richmond River Shire council took control in 1992 there have been several attempts to rezone the aerodrome to allow for residential developments.

The Evans Head Airpark Pty Ltd consortium, which includes people such as Iron Man Grant Kenny and Red Bull Air Race competitor Matt Hall, has worked with the Department of Defence to acquire decommissioned air artefacts, including an F-111 and a DHC-4 Caribou.

The Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome still plays host to The Great Eastern Fly-In, which will take place NEXT WEEKEND on January 10th and 11th.

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