THE FLYING SHOVELS
The 5ACS Flying Shovels got its name on Goodenough Island during WW2.When they decided to put an emblem on the machinery. They said "why don't we put a bulldozer on the emblem". The CO remarked "well we started out with picks and shovels, so why don't we use a shovel as the emblem". That is how the emblem, with the number 5 and wing on the shovel came to be the 5ACS emblem.
The 5ACS Flying Shovels comradeship and esprit de corps was second to none, and 28 years after the last remaining ACS were disbanded it is still as strong as ever.
Post war 5ACS was unique in service units; where personal from other musterings were posted to other units after 2ACS was disbanded 5ACS became the only posting available to the nucleus of the unit, the works musterings. The squadron with support musterings (who often requested to stay with the unit or kept returning) moved as a unit, except for various short-term detachments.
5ACS were often required to build airfields and facilities in remote areas with little or no amenities. The men undertook hard physical work in extremely hot and dusty conditions. The living quarters, messes and buildings were usually constructed of galvanized iron with no air conditioning.
The squadron married quarters retained a village atmosphere. Where over a period of 23 years the same works mustering members watched children born to friends grow into adults and accept the harsh condition as part of ACS life.
The wives often after long separations due to lack of housing, on joining their husbands shared these harsh conditions and became as much a part of the squadron as the men. The wives had, and reared their children under these pioneer conditions. With few or no shops, high prices for food, no television or entertainment, far from the support of relatives, their only support each other.
Born of these pioneer conditions the women of ACS esprit de corps equals the men. And their presence at the reunions as much sought out and recognized as the men, do attest to this. The surviving widows of long time squadron stalwarts still attend these reunions.
After 60 years members of 5ACS from 1942 to 2002 still turn up in force at these National reunions and to their own various State functions.