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RAAF Personnel Stories creating an enduring record

Daniel Bouwmeester    April 25, 2023    3 min read   
By Royce Wilson

RAAF Documentaries project logo.

Calling all former RAAF service members – local production company Perfekt Studios wants to hear from you about your Air Force careers.

The studio is spearheading a project – RAAFDocumentary.com – as a long-term commitment to document the history of the RAAF with personal interviews, timelines, short documentaries, and other resources, all on one website free to the public.

Much of the RAAF’s more than century-long history is spread out across a multitude of books, squadron association websites, and in The Australian War Memorial archives.

The project aims to bring together the entire history of the RAAF, publish new interviews, and provide a launch pad for those who want to dig deeper into this important and rich part of our history.

Recently the project team have interviewed a number of helicopter pilots and crew from the RAAF’s 9 Squadron, who have told amazing stories of bravery in Vietnam, including describing their experiences as a door gunner on UH-1 “Huey” Iroquois helicopter during the conflict or working as a co-pilot on operations with the SAS.

These interviews are on the YouTube channel @raafdocumentaries for free and are educating thousands of people around the world on the ‘job well done’ by our Vietnam veterans.

As a result of negative reception by the public towards returning Vietnam veterans, including RAAF personnel, many of their stories have remained untold and the project team are now gathering those stories – as well as others which have previously been published – in an effort to help document the history of the RAAF.

Image: Matthew Dahlitz / Perfekt Studios.

The project isn’t just about the RAAF in Vietnam, however – it covers more than a century, across many squadrons and wings operating in many theatres of war – as well as peacetime operations.

Perfekt Studios aims to expand the scope of the project as each new story, photograph, and fragments of history comes in. They also hope it will provide a place where squadron associations, authors, and historians of the RAAF can become known.

Perfekt Studios is led by local documentary director, producer, and visionary Matthew Dahlitz (pictured).

RAAF personnel – retired or current – or their relatives who would like to contribute to the project are encouraged to contact the team via e-mail at RAAF@dahlitzmedia.com.

An RAAF 9 Squadron UH-1 Iroquois helicopter takes off from Vung Tau Airbase, Vietnam, in 1966. Image: Australian War Memorial collection. Top: John Dahlitz in a Vampire. Image: RAAF Documentaries / Matthew Dahlitz.

Daniel Bouwmeester

Daniel was born in a mining town in New South Wales to Dutch and Welsh immigrants, before relocating to Logan City, where he attended Canterbury College for twelve years. He pursued his passion for music by completing a first-class honours degree at the University of Queensland (UQ), and later signed with a local record label. He has travelled the world from a young age, including a student exchange in rural France, a job working the ski lifts in Colorado, and visits to the islands of the South Pacific. After a six-year career in market research, Daniel returned to UQ to complete a Bachelor of Journalism and Arts dual degree, majoring in political science. His varied experiences at home and abroad have contributed to a passion for spreading good news while defending the truth buried inside complex societal paradigms.