Home' Air Force News : July 5th 2012 Contents 3
July 5, 2012
SGT Andrew Hetherington
ONE million paper poppy petals
were dropped from the air by a Battle
of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster
bomber to remember the 55,573 fallen
WWII Bomber Command personnel and
to signify the opening of the Bomber
Command Memorial by the Queen on
More than 2000 Bomber Command
veterans and their families were either
seated in an invitation area or watched
proceedings on a large video screen in a
seating enclosure called the Salute Area.
Among them was an official
Australian Government delegation of
31 veterans who flew with the RAAF
squadrons or were posted to RAF squad-
rons during WWII, as well as more
than 70 veterans who travelled after
receiving assistance from the govern-
ment, the RAAF Association and the
Bomber Command Commemoration
CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown led
the Australian Defence delegation,
which included members of the RAAF
contingent of Australia's Federation
The memorial took more than three
years to design and construct and is
located in London's Green Park. Its roof
is made from sections of a Handley Page
Halifax III bomber, which was found in
Belgium after WWII ended.
The centrepiece is a life-size sculp-
ture of a Bomber Command crew, which
appear to have just returned from a
mission and are gazing wearily to the
sky for other aircraft and their mates to
return from a mission.
Australian Lancaster bomber rear
gunner Robert Charles Chester-Master,
who was wearing his WWII Air Force
uniform, said the memorial captured the
spirit of Bomber Command aircrews.
"It's a magnificent carving as it epit-
omises what our whole crew would look
like after coming back from a raid," Mr
FOUR 92WG Orions were involved in
major search and rescue operations
north of Christmas Island when two
irregular maritime vessels tragically
sank in two separate incidents.
The first incident occurred on
June 21 midway between Christmas
Island and Indonesia. A total of 110
people were rescued and 17 bodies
were recovered. Reports indicated the
vessel could have been carrying about
ADF assets were again called upon
on June 27 when another vessel cap-
sized 13 nautical miles east of the first
incident. On this occasion, 130 people
were rescued and one body recovered.
In the June 21 incident, a search
and rescue operation was launched
by the Australian Maritime Safety
Authority (AMSA) after a Customs and
Border Protection surveillance aircraft
detected the vessel in distress.
An Orion was diverted to the scene
and dropped life rafts. Shortly after,
a merchant vessel arrived, followed
quickly by two more merchant ves-
sels, which responded to the AMSA
request for assistance. About 7.30pm,
patrol boats HMAS Larrakia and HMAS
Wollongong arrived on the scene.
During the following days, both
patrol boats, seven merchant ships
and several aircraft, including three
Orions, were involved in the search
and rescue operation in the area.
A 37SQN C-130 also ferried a sup-
port team to the island.
In the June 27 incident, Border
Protection Command deployed HMAS
Maitland, HMAS Leeuwin and an Orion
to the scene to render assistance.
Three merchant vessels also respond-
ed to AMSA's call for assistance.
Under the coordination of the
AMSA, 130 survivors were rescued by
the merchant vessels and by HMAS
Maitland. All survivors and the body
of one deceased person were trans-
ferred to HMAS Leeuwin and taken to
Orions help in rescue efforts
"We'd be tired, a little bit buggered
and looking for our bacon and eggs.
"We'd also be looking to the sky to
see how many more aircraft were going
to come home."
One of the Australian Air Force
personnel touring with the Bomber
Command mission from the AFG, ACW
Breeanna Williams, found out while she
was in London via an email from her
mother that she had a relative who had
fought in Bomber Command and died
"He was a family great cousin and
his name was FLGOFF Nelson Ellis
Bowman and he was from Longreach in
Queensland," ACW Williams said.
"My family doesn't know much
about him, but I was honoured to have
had the opportunity to be at the memo-
rial opening and to have possibly met a
veteran today who could have worked
alongside him during the war."
Repatriation Commissioner for
the Department of Veterans' Affairs
and the Bomber Command Mission
Director, MAJGEN Mark Kelly, said the
Australian Bomber Command veterans
were great Australians.
"They are national treasures and
we are lucky to have these men who
are still alive and in good health, to be
able to travel to the United Kingdom,"
MAJGEN Kelly said.
See next edition for a special Bomber
Command commemorative liftout.
HONOURED TO BE HERE: Above, the Queen thanks
Australian Bomber Command veterans David Leicester and
Norman Deady for their service at the dedication ceremony
for the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park,
London. Far left, an RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
Lancaster Bomber drops one million paper poppy petals to
remember the fallen WWII Bomber Command personnel
and to signify the opening of the memorial. Left, RAAF
nurse FLTLT Jeffrey Davie helps veterans board a bus on
the way to the dedication.
Photos: CPL Chris Moore and SGT Andrew Hetherington
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