The Red Baron Down Under
The below shows the interesting sight of American Wayne Anderson’s replica Fokker Dr.I Dreidecker triplane in Australia for a trans-Australia air race, cuddled among camouflaged Royal Australian Air Force Mirage IIID and IIIO(A) strike fighters at RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales, October 1976.
The Mirages in the back of the photo are from No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit, the RAAF’s storied fighter training unit, and sport their traditional flash and striking period camo.
The Mirages in the foreground belong to 77 Sqn, which formed in 1942 and flew Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawks over Northern Australia, downing the first Japanese Betty ever shot down over the continent. They later moved with the tide of the war over New Guinea and the Dutch East Indies, flying the borderline obsolete P-40 right until the last days of the war. They later switched to P-51 Mustangs and Gloster Meteors over Korea before switching to Australian-made F-86 Sabre variants that they flew during the Malayan Confrontation and on to the Mirage, which they flew from 1969 to 1988 when they transitioned to the F-18. They are still stationed at Williamtown.
As for Anderson and his Fokker, I can’t find much information on him other than the fact that his was one of some 179 private planes, mostly light single-engined aircraft, that took part in the 1976 Benson & Hedges Australian Air Race from Perth to Sydney, covering some 2,400 miles in four days between 19-23 October.