George, or Bill as he was known to his friends, was born the 25th May 1918. In 1941, with the war in Europe worsening, Bill joined the RAAF on the 11th November 1940. He then trained as a fighter pilot in Canada and when training was completed, he sailed to England and was posted to RAF 130 Squadron – Spitfires!
It was love at first sight – a “graceful and pretty machine to fly and powerful all at once.” He participated in sweeps over France and carried out convoy escort. With Japan threatening and with new squadrons forming in India, he thought this would bring him closer to his new bride whom he married in 1941 so he transferred to RAF 615 Squadron, “Churchill’s Own,” and shook hands with the Great Man himself before posting to India in May 1942.
In India, Bill flew Hurricanes. No love affair developed, however, he did get to like them. Squadron 615 was then re-equipped with Spitfire Mk 5bs. On Boxing Day 1943, the Japanese encountered the Spitfire for the first time. Two Spitfires, one flown by Bill the other by Flight Sergeant Harry Chatfield met a large Japanese formation of bombers and fighters. Chatfield brought down two bombers. The posting in India was a trying one with Bill contracting cholera, dysentry and dropped considerable weight.
19 March 1994, Bill returned to Australia and his bride. He was posted to 79 Squadron RAAF and finished the war at Morotai. Bill is standing fifth from the left in the photo of Squadron 79.
Back to civilian life at the Bank, Bill and his wife had four children. He passed away on the 30th June 2006 and will be much missed by those who love him.
Edited version of a tribute submitted by John Andrews (son)