A SIGNIFICANT piece of Shoalhaven history drew to a close on November 25, with the death of long-time resident George Lamond.
Mr Lamond, 97, moved to the area as a six-year-old, he would later go on to serve in World War II and followed by a stint working in London, where he met and married his wife Kathleen, before and eventually returning to the Shoalhaven where he worked at Shoalhaven Council for 31 years including many years as Town Clerk.
Eldest daughter Lynette said her father "had a nice, long life - a good life where he did lots of things."
For years Mr Lamond worked on compiling his family's history and along the way also amassed a great wealth of knowledge about the Shoalhaven's history as a whole.
That work, and that of his late wife Kathleen, led to him telling his family's history in a book, With Hearts of Steel - They came in wooden ships: the ancestry of Austin John William Lamond and Lillian Forbes MacKinnon.
Launched in 2013 the book tells the story of his parents, Aus and Lillian Lamond, and their forebears.
William George Lamond was born in Wyong, NSW in 1924, the third child Austin John William Lamond and Lillian Forbes Lamond (nee MacKinnon).
Sadly, a son, George William, named after Austin's good friend George Woods, died as an infant.
His older sister Joan had been born in 1922 and when the second boy came along, he was christened William George but was to be called "George" for the rest of his life.
Soon after William "George" was born, his parents moved back to Terara. They had met there when Austin was assisting his brothers farming the family property in Millbank Road.
"The Willows" had been left in trust for their mother Josephine by the will of their father David Lamond, who had died in 1912.
After returning to the Shoalhaven District, Austin operated a milk run in Nowra. Three other children were born after the family moved to Terara in 1925.
The family moved from Terara to Nowra in 1930 and lived in Shoalhaven Street, not far from the Catholic School where Joan and George attended school for a short time.
In 1931 at the height of the great depression the family moved to Currarong ostensibly for six months "to see how things turn out".
George was seven when they went to Currarong and spent all his remaining school years there.
As there was no school, or means of getting to school, he was educated by receiving lessons from the Blackfriers Correspondence school in Sydney and for short periods by Subsidised School Teachers provided by the Education Department and kept by the parents.
His last year was under the tuition of his sister Joan who had been appointed a subsidised school teacher at 17 years of age.
George had had enough of this fragmented learning process by the end of 1939 and his mother arranged for him to undertake a vocational guidance test with a view to beginning some form of employment.
In May 1940, at the age of 15 years and 9 months, George set out to find work in Sydney, where he lived with his aunty and found work with the Stowe Electric Company.
In 1941, George joined the Air Training Corps 22 City of Sydney Squadron with his cousin, John Krone, where they trained for aircrew before joining the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as soon as they turned 18.
At the RAAF Initial Training School at Bradfield Park, George was selected for pilot training and posted to 5 Elementary Flying Training School at Narromine to train on Tiger Moths, and then to 1 Service Flying Training School at Point Cook in Victoria, flying Airspeed Oxford twin engine planes.
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Following his graduation from Point Cook as a Sergeant Pilot in 1943, the RAAF Posting Board at Point Cook gave him the choice of operational training on Beaufort Torpedo Bombers at Nowra RAAF base or going to England for operational training to fly heavy bombers on operations over Europe.
George elected to travel to England to fly heavy bombers on operations over Europe and to be with his two cousins; John Krone, now a gunner on a Halifax bomber, and Peter Krone, a navigator on a Lancaster bomber.
Sadly, both of his cousins were killed within six months of George's arrival in England..
Following advanced flight training, George was given a crew of six and posted to Royal Air Force (RAF) 158 Squadron at Lisset in Yorkshire, where he started bombing operations over Germany.
By now it was early 1945 and the war was drawing to a close.
The horrific losses of 1944 were no longer plaguing Bomber Command, however bombing operations were still perilous, evidenced by the loss of seven heavy bombers and 49 aircrew on George's last raid on gun emplacements at Wangerooge, Germany on April 25, 1945.
When Victory in Europe (VE) Day finally arrived, George said goodbye to his brave and loyal Halifax crew and was posted to 466 RAAF Squadron at Driffield in Yorkshire where he was promoted to Warrant Officer.
After a few months, the squadron started a conversion course on B24 Liberator bombers at Bassingbourn in Cambridgeshire with a view to moving to Eastern Russia to join the war against Japan.
However, the dropping of the atomic bomb made that move unnecessary.
With the end of the war, 466 Squadron ceased operating and George returned home and was demobilised.
As a result of his war service he was entitled to wear the 1939/45 Star, the France and Germany Star, The Defence Medal, the Imperial War Medal and the 1939/45 Australian Service Medal.
In 1947,George returned to England, where he worked in London for four years, and met his future wife, Kathleen Dorothy Robson.
He worked in the office of the Bowater Paper Corporation and The British Road Services. During this period he obtained his certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts issued by the London Chamber of Commerce.
In 1951, George and Kathleen moved to Australia with their infant daughter, Lynette.
George worked as a bookkeeper on a cattle station in Queensland for a year before obtaining a position with the administrative department of Shoalhaven Shire (later City) Council in Nowra, where he remained for 31 years, retiring as the Town Clerk in 1984.
The couple lived in Berry Street, Nowra, apart from a short stint at Currarong, while the family home was being built.
Lyn said her father always "had an affinity with Currarong and just loved to be there".
Three more daughters; Susan, Janette and Helen were born while they lived in Nowra and in 1978 they moved to 10 acres at Abernethy Lane at Meroo where they remained for 30 years.
Mr Lamond had joined the RSL in 1961, meaning he had been part of the organisation for 60 years and had been a keen member, particularly in his latter years at Culburra, where he was a regular at the Anzac Day services, even being given the honour of laying a wreath this year for the RAAF's centenary.
In retirement the couple loved to travel and made several trips back to Europe and in particular England and Scotland where Kathleen's family was from, as well to Canada where one of their daughters lived.
During her travels, both prior to and after George's retirement, Kathleen carried out much of the research, in Australia and in Scotland, which is contained in the book.
She also spent many hours at Saint Catherine House in London researching her own family history and had hoped that one day that story would be told.
Unfortunately Kathleen passed away on May 24, 2007 aged 79 and did not live to see her contribution to this book.
However, George pushed on and produced With Hearts of Steel.
In 2012 he was one of 32 veterans who travelled 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.
In his latter years, Mr Lamond moved to IRT Culburra, firstly living in a small unit in independent care, before more recently moving into the hostel section.
He is survived by his four daughters, nine grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced.
- Thanks to the family, Robyn Florance and Culburra RSL Sub-Branch for the information.
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