A memorial honouring Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) aviators who served in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War Two was unveiled at the front gate of RAAF Base Wagga on June 8.

The memorial project, which was part of Air Force’s centenary program, was a joint undertaking of the Wagga Wagga RSL sub-Branch and personnel from RAAF Wagga.

The memorial also recognises the support towns in the NSW Riverina region gave to the Royal Australian Air Force during the war.

Director-General of Air Force 2021, Air Commodore Andrew Elfverson, said more than 50,000 Australian aircrew trained under the Empire Air Training Scheme to become skilled RAAF aviators.

“Over 27,000 went on to operational service, supporting air campaigns across Europe, the Middle East and south-west Pacific,” Air Commodore Elfverson said.

“This memorial will share with the nation a valuable piece of Australia’s wartime history and the role played by Riverina towns in contributing to the success of EATS and the Royal Australian Air Force during World War Two.

“The memorial also acknowledges those aviators who sadly lost their lives while serving their country during World War Two and are now buried in war graves across the Riverina. 

“It offers an opportunity for future generations of Australians living in and travelling through Wagga Wagga to acknowledge those RAAF aviators.”

The memorial was largely funded by a $60,000 Australian Government Community Developments Program grant.

It forms a part of the reopened heritage precinct at RAAF Base Wagga, which has been significantly upgraded.

Other museums and memorials are located in the surrounding towns of Uranquinty, Narrandera, Deniliquin, Temora, Cootamundra, Parkes, Narromine and Tocumwal.