FLYING over Europe more than six decades ago, the aircraft piloted by George Lamond of Culburra Beach often came under attack.
When he returns to those skies this month, he will have a much more peaceful experience.
Mr Lamond is one of 32 veterans who will travel to London to take part in an official commemorative mission to recognise the service of Australians who served with Bomber Command during World War II.
The men of Bomber Command were pilots, navigators and gunners.
Often the lone Australian in a squadron, they each played a particular role.
Mr Lamond’s role was to pilot a Halifax heavy bomber.
Gilmore MP Joanna Gash nominated Mr Lamond to be a part of the official commemorative mission.
“I’m very honoured to be going to London for this,” he said.
“If not for this organised trip I probably would not have been going at all.”
The journey has special meaning for Mr Lamond, who lost two cousins in the war.
“When I graduated from Point Cook as a pilot they asked me to go either to Nowra to fly Beaufort torpedo bombers – I’d be practising in Jervis Bay – or go to England to fly heavy bombers.
“As I had two cousins over there I decided to head overseas.
“I was only over there six months and they were both dead.
“So this memorial means a lot to me for the boys who were killed.
“I was on operations, I wasn’t hit by flak – if I was hit by flak I wouldn’t be talking now.
“I flew through flak; it’s the most terrifying thing by far.
“I hated the whole thing.
“You can’t overlook the training dangers either, a lot of blokes were killed in training,” he said.
During the last mission he and his crew flew, against gun emplacements on the north coast of Germany in April 1945 in an aircraft named Clueless, seven heavy bombers were lost, taking with them 49 crew.
About 10,000 Australian airmen served with the Royal Air Forces’ Bomber Command during the war.
Of these almost 3500 were killed in action and 650 died in training, making the bombing campaign against Germany and Italy one of Australia’s most costly combat actions of the war.
The mission party will attend the dedication of the Bomber Command memorial on June 28, as well as participate in several other commemorative services to remember not only those they fought with, but the 55,000 Bomber Command personnel from the British Com-
monwealth who made the ultimate sacrifice.
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