A local father and son (Matthew & Jachin Dahlitz) film production company, Perfekt Studios, is taking on a task of historical proportions this year. The feature length documentary that revives the memories of the RAAF’s now disbanded 9 & 12 Squadrons, has personal importance to the team. Matthew’s father, John Dahlitz, was a pilot in both squadrons during the 60’s and 70s.
“I grew up around RAAF bases. My father was a helicopter pilot, and as a kid, his world seemed larger than life to me. Stories of Vietnam, visits to the bases, rides in the back of the Chinook, being held spellbound by the amazing aircraft. I even remember one day, my father landed a Chinook on the primary school oval for my ‘Show and Tell’.” Matthew remembers.
Memories like these came flooding back recently when Matthew was given a box full of old photographs and memorabilia from his father’s life in the RAAF. These childhood memories set him off on a search for a fresh understanding of the work his father and others had performed as part of this essential crew.
“Now as an adult and a father myself, I so wish I could ask my father about those times, but my father died from cancer while I was in my early twenties. Many of his contemporaries are now in their seventies and eighties, so we only have a small window to capture their story. That’s why this project is so important.” Matthew said.
The 9 & 12 squadrons were reformed and repurposed several times over the last century but both were disbanded in 1988 and 1989 respectively due to changes in RAAF/Army responsibilities and fleet upgrades.
You can keep up to date with progress of the documentary at their website perfektstudios.com/raaf/