Friday, April 27, 2012


I was watching a news article about the restoration of a WW2 bomber and they commented that a lot of the pilots died in training crashes. And it made me wonder if any reports of my grandfather's RAAF air crash was on the web somewhere. And yes it was in the archives of the Sydney Morning Herald 16/2/1938 and again in the Canberra Times. Grandma's story goes that there was nothing wrong with the aircraft and they thought the pilot had had a "touch of the sun" from playing tennis that day and therefore was delirious and passed out. But as Mine was strapped into the seat behind the pilot there was nothing he could do.

My grandfather died in 1974 of a stroke so I have only the memories my Grandma gave me. My name for him was, "Mine" because when people used to ask, "Who's that?" I replied, "He's Mine" so Mine he became and that is the name we always used for him.  Grandma regularly told me that story and how extensive his burns were, how the doctors pumped the cigarettes into him "to steady the nerves" and how eventually they had to move to Qld for his health. These days that sort of injury would earn him a discharge but he was too valuable for that, especially with another looming world war so the RAAF looked after him until he was ready to return to work. In the articles he is billed as a fitter but later in his career he rose as high as was possible for a person not of the upper classes.

I remember everything in their Qld home was painted blue and white - EVERYTHING except the floor and the bricks. And his workshop was in perfect order - you could always find stuff. Nuts and bolts were all graded and in labelled jars. Tools had their spot in the garage. Dad tells me Mine ate peanut butter sammies for lunch for 40 years. And you knew what day of the week it was by what was on the dinner table. I forget exactly now but the menu was steamed chicken & white sauce on Saturday, grilled chops on Tuesday and I'm sure my parents can fill in the rest.  Oh dear. It's 1am and we have a busy day ahead. Goodnight.


  1. Sorry Tam, it was corn beef and white sauce!

  2. Think you have mistaken the facts a little. The engine of the plane boiled as was testified to. According to your grandfather whenever he spoke about it, it then "ran out of noise" meaning the engine simply cut out completely, hence the crash.

  3. That's why I said, "Grandma's story goes..." she had a very selective memory I have discovered over time.