Royal New Zealand Air Force

General Service Training School

R1/89 Recruit Course



Welcome to the Royal New Zealand Air Force R1/89 Recruit Course Website. This website dedicated to the memory and continued comradeship of the people who joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in January 1989, or as we knew our Recruit Course officially, on R1/89.

About The Website

I created this site in 2003 after rummaging through some old boxes and finding a copy of the R1/89 Passing Out Parade programme. I opened it for the first time in well over a decade and a ton of memories flooded back instantly. I suddenly realised what a wonderful experience and huge adventure we all went through in that summer of 1989.

Something that stunned me was that looking at the lists of people in that programme who passed out with me, there were some names whom I could not clearly remember. I should have been able to recall their first names, their faces and their trades, or at least a little bit about them, but the annals of time had seen to it that details had begun to fade. Having lost touch with the people who had shared one of the most awesome experiences of my lifetime was a sad thought.

That was the instant that the idea of creating a website came to me, where I could record all that I could still remember, and hopefully many of us could get back together 'virtually', if not physically, using the website. After all, the internet is a marvellous tool for projects like this. And it has worked brilliantly.

Now many ex-R1/89 recruits are aware of this site and have kindly contributed to it. Many people have sent in what they could recall and have filled several gaps in the records, reminding me further of those great days and all those wonderful people.

I have several people to thank for help in creating this site so far. First of all I have to thank my good mates Alan Howard (R1/89 'A' Flight) and Wayne Jones (R1/89 'B' Flight) for assisting me greatly in the initial setting up if the site. They helped enormously with their own memories. And now another big thank you goes to Alan for kindly offering to host the site on his webspace. Please see his company's logo at the bottom of this page.

I also have to thank folk like Mike Gasson, Mike Going, Mark 'Curly' Waters, Steve Wilson, Lizzie Henderson (now Williams), Matthew Hall, Anton Whittle and Wayne Crosswell for their welcome contributions. Special thanks to Curly for his brilliant photographs. Have any of you others got pictures to add please?

As a result of creating this site, which I set up in mid-2003, I have now gotten back in contact with several old mates. One such was Mike Gasson, who in February 2004 I visited at his home in Blenheim. He is still at Woodbourne, now a Sergeant. He kindly showed me around Woody Valley again, today a shadow of its former self as far as RNZAF presence is concerned because it is largely now civilianised and run by SAFE Air. But it was great to see a few places still look identical to how they did fifteen years ago. Also on that trip I was able to meet and have a good chat with my old GSI Dorm Corporal, Wayne Crosswell. That was great, reminiscing about how GSTS used to be, and discovering how it's successor is run now (not nearly as well by all accounts!). I plan to add more to the site soon about the 'return to Woodbourne' trip.

Anyway, if you happened to be on the R1/89 RNZAF Recruit Course at RNZAF Base Woodbourne's  General Service Training School, which ran from the 9th of January to the 23rd of March 1989, you'll remember many of the names, faces and events detailed on this site. And we want to hear from you.

Our Aims

Contacting Old Mates

The site has been designed to serve many purposes. Primarily the this site serves as a way for former R1/89 recruits to get back in touch with each other again, and stay in touch, via email, phone or post, etc. It has been a long time and we have all gone our separate ways. A faithful few still serve in the Air Force, but many don't. We want to know what you are up to now.

Recording Our History

Another aim of the site is to present a historical record of what it was like for recruits entering the RNZAF in 1989. I am currently writing my own memories of GSTS, which may well trigger your own memories, so I'm sure you will find more to add, or perhaps you can send in corrections to my hazy memory of events. Every contribution is welcome. You too can tell your story. Feel free to submit any memories, large or small, for publication here at the site. Even if you just want to jot down a few lines about a partiucular event, rather than your whole story, it would be very welcome.

What do you remember about the course? Tell us about the highlights and the lowlights you suffered through. Now's your chance to finally diss on those nasty GSI's! Not to mention the ruddy PTI's with their ridiculous “High Spring, feet together please!” (Actually, having met former-Corporal, now F/Sgt Crosswell again this year, they weren't so nasty after all it seems!!). Have you any outstanding memories of the guys and girls you served with, or the events we endured? We'd love to hear them.

If you have photographs from the course that you think we'd find interesting, please scan them, and email them – we'd love to see them and present them here for other R1/89'ers to see and download. If you haven't got a scanner, get in touch anyway, we'll sort something out.

We'd also like to know what happened to you after GSTS, how you progressed through your service in the Air Force, the bases you were posted to and the courses you did; the jobs and sections you worked in and the people you met; the exercises you went on and the exciting things you did in the RNZAF.

So dust off your RNZAF 858's and send us a run down of all the courses and OJT training you did. If you have the time, please send as much detail as you remember, this is interesting stuff. Please also let us know if the information about you or others already on this site is incorrect too.

Anyway, step inside and prepare yourself for the memories that are about to flood back from that barmy summer of 1989. I hope many more R1/89'ers will discover the site too. If you do, please drop me a line at

Cheers, _______________________________
Dave Homewood (A Flight, R1/89)

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