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Origin of the Flying Padre Service

In 1945, Captain Victor Pedersen pioneered The Salvation Army’s Flying Service over the wide spaces of northern Australia.

After completing his officers training (religious ministry training) at the Melbourne Salvation Army Training College, Victor Pedersen spent some years leading Salvation Army Corps (churches).

At the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the Royal Australian Air Force and became a qualified pilot. As Red Shield Representative (Sally Man) with the RAAF Operational Base Unit, based in Truscott WA, he was for a time the unofficial Chaplain.

In an area where distances are so vast and roads were almost non-existent, Vic realised the only means by which he could effectively bring a spiritual ministry to the people in the north was by aeroplane.

Captain Victor Pedersen

Whilst on leave in 1945 he was involved in the purchase for The Salvation Army of an ex-RAAF Tiger Moth, registration VH-ASA, which was flown from Melbourne to Darwin, then on to Truscott, where it was used to make pastoral visits to staff at radar stations in the region.

This proved to be the link between The Salvation Army’s war work and post-war activity in the north. With the end of World War II, Vic’s work changed from providing Red Shield service for servicemen in isolated areas, to inaugurating a new kind of Salvation Army work among outback cattle stations and settlements.

Captain Victor Pedersen became the first of a line of Flying Padres, officer pilots appointed by The Salvation Army to minister to the needs of people in remote areas of the Australian outback.

Captain Vic Peterson, the original Flying Padre