11 Nov

Alan shares his story of serving in the RAAF on Remembrance Day

Today, we remember and honour those who served. As an organisation that cares for Queensland seniors, we’re lucky enough to support many veterans through our services.

We are grateful to have recently spoken to one of our clients, Alan, about his time serving in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Alan was born on April 14, 1921 in Auchenflower. His father was from Scotland and his mother was born in Melbourne. They lived at Wilston and then at the Grange.

He had one younger brother (Edwin) who has died.

Alan attended the Wilston State Primary School; itself celebrating its own centenary in 2020. He obtained a two-year scholarship to what was then the State Commercial High School and College located at what is now the George St campus of The Queensland University of Technology.

Alan was first employed by A Forysth and Company Pty Ltd; a company which made ropes for ships, railways and graziers.

He then enlisted in what was then the Citizens Municipal Army on May 15, 1941.

Alan obtained the rank of acting sergeant until transferring from what became the Australian Army to the Royal Australian Air Force on April 7, 1944.

“I joined the army and I was with them for a few years,” Alan said.

“I was sent to the Victoria Barracks when I enlisted and was there for quite a number of years. I then decided I wanted a change and applied for the Air Force. I would service aircraft before they took off for their missions and make sure they had everything they needed.”

He trained at Kingaroy in air crew, but was then moved to ground staff as they seemed to have enough air crew.

Alan pauses in front of his framed Certificate of Recognition which was given to him for his service in the Royal Australian Air Force. Photo: Anglicare Southern Queensland

Alan trained at the Sydney Technical College. He was posted to Tocumwal, then to Aitape in Papua New Guinea where the Beaufort Squadron was stationed. He returned from there and was discharged on January 18, 1946.

Alan went back to his previous job until 1952, when he received a new job with the Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP) and then it’s subsidiary, Australian Wine Industries. He remained there until his retirement on September 30, 1983, a total of 31 years.

Alan married Mary Ursula Sims, a kindergarten teacher who had grown up in country New South Wales and who was educated at a teacher training college in Surrey Hills, Sydney.

They were married by Mary’s father, an Anglican priest, at Gosford on February 12, 1949.

Alan wears his medals with pride on Remembrance Day. Photo: Anglicare Southern Queensland 

Alan and Ursula, as she was known, first met during a three-day bus tour to Warwick, and then they started playing social tennis together at Coorparoo.

Ursula had come up to Brisbane to work at the Lady Gowrie Child Care Centre in Spring Hill. She remained working there after they married and their children attended the centre.

Thank you so much to Alan for sharing his story of serving in the Royal Australian Air Force this Remembrance Day.