Teddy Bear – Lieutenant Hendy, Australian Flying Corps
Lieutenant Thomas Hendy helps us remember the men of the Australian Flying Corps, who pioneered Australian military aviation during the Great War of 1914 – 1918. Australia was the only dominion of the British Empire to establish its own Flying Corps for swervice in the war and some 460 officers and 2,234 other ranks served in the Middle East, over the Western Front and in training schools in England. All piolots of the A.F.C were officers of the Australian Imperial Force.
Aviation in the Royal Australian Navy began in 1917 when the cruiser HMAS Brisbane embarked a sea plane for operations in the Indian Ocean. Later that year the flagship HMAS Australia and cruisers Sydney and Melbourne were fitted with wooden flying off platforms over the top of their main deck guns, allowing them to launch their flimsy Sopwith fighter aircraft.
Hendy’s uniform reflects the full length leather flying jacket and leather flight helmet wornby many aircrew of the A.F.C to provide warmth during flights in open cockpit aeroplanes. The large angled external pocket on the left breast provided quick access to maps and notebooks, while beneath the warmth of the coat many would simply wear the standard dismounted troops’ khaki uniform of the Australian Imperial Force.
Just 5,000 of these bears have been made and each comes with a numbered certificate of authenticity.