Betterman, Len

Len was a Leading Aircraftman with 54 Squadron RAF in Australia

He was born on the 19th March 1924 in Kapunda, South Australia. He enlisted on the 16th December 1942 and became a member of 54 Squadron in December 1943. When Len was posted to the Squadron, he was not pleased. He had heard of the “spit and polish” parades, etc., of the Royal Air Force, and he almost wished to return home. However, the Squadron was not like that. In fact, once the Flight Sergeant Armourer had departed south on leave (he was rather strict on the care of rifles), the Squadron lived and worked in a most relaxed state of mind.

Len recalled about four parades during the fourteen months that he was with the Squadron. On one parade, when having gas mask inspection, an airman, when opening his haversack with a flourish, allowed a moth to escape!

Some time later, when at Pot Shot in Western Australia, during a parade of the Squadrons that were there, one of the Englishmen strolled along with his dog on a leash. The parade was somewhat casual. How he was able to smuggle his dog on the aircraft to go to Pot Shot was a mystery.

Len enjoyed most of his time with 54 Squadron. However, there are times now when he reads of RAAF Squadron activities during the War that he feels somewhat alienated, but as he says, “That was life in the Air Force.”

Bruce Read and Geoff Litchfield
The Spitfire Association