Naming Ceremony To Honour WOFF Len Waters, Australia’s Only Indigenious Fighter Pilot

The Worimi Hornet leading the flypast while tailed by the Wirraway and Kittyhawk which WOFF Waters flew in WWII. Photo: Phillip Craig.

 

THE ‘Worimi’ F/A-18A Hornet took to the skies last Friday as part of the official dedication ceremony of a new five-storey RAAF operational building being named in honour of WOFF Leonard ‘Len’ Waters, the only known Indigenous RAAF fighter pilot of World War II.

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Crowds gathered along Medowie Road, Williamtown to witness the formation flypast which consisted of a CAC Wirraway, a P-40E Kittyhawk and a E-7A Wedgetail which trailed the smaller aircraft in flight.

WOFF Waters earned his pilot wings in 1944 flying the CAC Wirraway and later flew the P-40E Kittyhawk in action over the South-Pacific.

He was stationed on the island of Noemfoor off Dutch New Guinea where he flew on more than 90 missions before being deployed to air bases in Borneo.

On one flight over the Pacific his aircraft was struck by a Japanese 37mm cannon shell that wedged itself in the cockpit without detonating.

Len was able to safely navigate with the unexploded ordnance in the cockpit for several hours before landing with the shell, the plane and himself intact.

Local photographer Phillip Craig said it was a great spectacle to celebrate and commemorate the efforts of WOFF Len Waters.

“We were really treated to the aircraft formation consisting of the Worimi Hornet, Wirraway, Kittyhawk and Wedgetail,” said Phillip.

“The Worimi Hornet has WOFF Waters name on the aircraft with traditional indigenous artwork.

“It looks magnificent!”

The artwork on the ‘Worimi’ Hornet depicts a Kilyarr Kilyarr, the Wedgetail Eagle, which signifies the powerful presence of the bird of prey over Australia’s skies, lands and seas.

 

By Mitch LEES

 

The distinctive artwork of the Worimi Hornet on full display before taking flight. Photo: Phillip Craig.

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