By Brian (Jack) Plenty


The following lists the 38 Squadron Commanding Officers, squadron locations and aircraft flown since its formation on 15 September 1943 until the present (December 2017). The information has been compiled by Brian (Jack) Plenty and drawn from the 38 Squadron Commanding Officers’ Display Board (Squadron’s Board) located in the Squadron’s Headquarters, the booklet Units of the Royal Australian Air Force, A Concise History, Volume 4, Maritime and Transport Units (1995), compiled by RAAF Historical Section and published by the Australian Government Publishing Service (RAAF Booklet), the Australian War Memorial (AWM) www.gov.au/collection/U60577, which highlights the squadron’s role in the Malayan Emergency 1948-1960 and the RAAF Museum’s website information about 38 Squadron.


There are some differences between the Squadron’s Board and the RAAF Booklet, which I have a number in the text and placed an explanatory noted at the end of the table. The Squadron’s Board also lists commanding officers whose names do not appear in the RAAF Booklet. One explanation is that these officers were Temporary/Commanding Officers and so excluded in the editing of the RAAF Booklet.  Further research is being undertaken to clarify all the above matters. In the interim, I have included them for completeness.


The AWM website notes the squadron moved between Changi, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaya three times in the period June 1950 and December 1952 during its involvement in the Malayan Emergency. This level of detail in not reflected on the Squadron’s Board nor in the RAAF Booklet. Also, the Squadron’s Board does not reflect the Squadron role being varied to Transport Training Squadron in December 1958 and then back to 38 Squadron in June 1963. These are reflected below.




Date Commanding Officer Location Aircraft
15 September 1943 Squadron raised Richmond, NSW
18 September 1943 Squadron Leader H.O. Cook [1]
27 October 1943 Squadron Leader C.C. Forman (RAF) [2] Hudson MK.IVA
3 March 1944 Dakota (C-47A)
6 October 1944 Squadron Leader R.G. Cornfoot, AFC
7 December 1944 Archerfield, QLD
1 March 1946 Squadron Leader J.D. Balfe, AFC
19 August 1946 Schofields, NSW
28 April 1948 Flight Lieutenant R.S. Murdock (RAF)
30 August 1948 Squadron Leader J.B. Fitzgerald (RAF)
1 July 1949 Richmond, NSW
19 June 1950 Dakota (C-47B)
21 June 1950 Wing Commander J.F. Lush, OBE
29 June 1950 Changi, Singapore
16 October 1950 Squadron Leader A.H. Birch, AFC
30 March 1951 Squadron Leader H.D. Marsh, DFC
April 1951 Kuala Lumpur, Malaya
July 1951 Changi, Singapore
23 November 1951 Squadron Leader R. Carlin, DFC, AFC
30 November 1951 Kuala Lumpur, Malaya
February 1952 Changi, Singapore
1 September 1952 Acting/Squadron Leader T.L. Bourke, AFC [3]
11 December 1952 Richmond, NSW
10 February 1953 Squadron Leader W. Addison, AFC
26 April 1953 Squadron Leader J.G. Cornish, MVO AFC
22 June 1953 Acting/Squadron Leader T.L. Bourke, MVO, AFC
12 October 1953 Squadron Leader M.S. Humphrey, DFC
12 April 1954 Squadron Leader J.G. Cornish, MVO, AFC
23 April 1954 Fairbairn, ACT
7 March 1955 Squadron Leader S.W. Dallywater
23 April 1956 Squadron Leader L. Hawes, DFC
3 September 1958 Richmond, NSW
December 1958 Retitled Transport Training Squadron
15 December 1958 Squadron Leader K. Isaacs
11 February 1959 Squadron Leader W.C. Keritz, MBE
7 July 1959 Wing Commander S.J. Brasier
23 August 1960 Squadron Leader W.C. Keritz, MBE
9 January 1961 Wing Commander T.S. Fairbairn, DFC
13 June 1963 Retitled 38 Squadron
18 January 1964 Squadron Leader C.J. Sudgen, DFC
22 April 1964 Caribou (DHC-4)
27 April 1964 Wing Commander T.S. Fairbairn, DFC
2 January 1965 Wing Commander C.J. Melchert
2 May 1966 Wing Commander D.C. Harvey, DFC and Bar, AFC [4]
2 June 1967 Wing Commander C.J. Melchert
1 March 1968 Wing Commander C.N. Geschke, OBE
9 December 1968 Wing Commander J.C. Kichenside [5]
11 January 1971 Wing Commander B. Coleman
6 September 1971 Wing Commander C.D. Smithies
2 November 1971 Squadron Leader B.J. McKenny
20 March 1972 Wing Commander D.J. Lancaster
18 June 1974 Wing Commander D. Middleton
15 December 1975 Wing Commander S. Clark, DFC
8 December 1977 Squadron Leader N.R. Kruse
7 April 1978 Wing Commander P.G. Smith, DFC
8 January 1980 Wing Commander W.S. McAllister, MBE
15 January 1982 Wing Commander D.R. Lovett
23 April 1983 Wing Commander W.F. Parsons
16 December 1985 Wing Commander G.D. Weekes
4 April 1988 Wing Commander P.L. Hooper
11 June 1990 Wing Commander R. Harrison, AM
14 August 1992 Wing Commander J.H. Benjamin
18 December 1992 Amberley, QLD [6]
28 May 1996 Wing Commander B.E. (Jack) Plenty
6 January 1998 Wing Commander A.N. Bennett
5 March 2001 Wing Commander J.M. McGarry
1 December 2003 Wing Commander S.J. Patterson
2 March 2005 Wing Commander T.A. Thrupp
1 October 2005 Wing Commander P.S. Ward
6 December 2007 Townsville, QLD
3 March 2008 Wing Commander A.J. Thorpe
16 November 2009 King Air (B350)
11 April 2011 Wing Commander S.P. Dowrie
15 November 2013 Wing Commander M.J. Burgess-Orton
12 December 2016 Wing Commander M.C. Ward






  1. The Squadron’s Board does not include Squadron Leader Cook as the first Commanding Officer. He appears as the first commanding officer in the RAAF Booklet.
  2. The Squadron’s Board does not indicate that Squadron Leader Forman was a member of the RAF. He is noted as a member of RAF in the RAAF Booklet.
  3. The Squadron’s Board indicates Bourke (1952) was an Acting/ Squadron Leader whereas the RAAF Booklet indicates he was a Squadron Leader.
  4. The Squadron’s Board indicated Harvey (1966) was a Wing Commander whereas the RAAF Booklet notes he was a Squadron Leader.
  5. The Squadron’s Board notes the spelling of Kichenside (1968) whereas the RAAF Booklet has Kithenside. A web search brings up a Sergeant J.C. Kichenside pilot in Korea (1952) and a Squadron Leader J.C. Kichenside pilot with the RAAF Flight Mawson Station, Antarctica 1960. A typographical error is suspected when editing the RAAF Booklet or when printed.  Mr ‘Tiny’ Ashbrook advised on 17 December 2017 that he serviced at 38 Squadron when the Commanding Officer was Wing Commander J.C. Kichenside.  He also confirmed the spelling using the application Air Force List.
  6. The Squadron’s Board also notes the squadron relocated from RAAF Richmond to RAAF Amberley in December 1992 whereas the RAAF Booklet notes this occurred in October 1992. The RAAF Museum website notes December 1992.



  1. Allan George says:

    Re aircraft type operated. In late 1968 or early 1969 3 DC3 aircraft were allocated to 38 SQN – I think they were ex 34 SQN. Tail numbers were a freighter A65-65 an IP I(I don’t recall the number but think it was in the 90s) and a VIP A65-103.

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