Callister, Ian Hope

Ian was born on the 18th March 1922 in Brighton, Victoria. He enlisted in the RAAF on the 21st June 1941. After training he was posted to 79 Spitfire Squadron and served in the Islands off North Australia fighting the Japanese enemy aircraft.

His friend and fellow 79 Squadron pilot David Hopton wrote, “Ian shot down our first kill and was tragically killed himself six days later on Goodenough Island. It seems that Ian collided with a Kittyhawk during an early morning take-off. The aircraft shot down was a Kawasaki Ki-61 “Tony” Fighter, which attempted to outrun Ian and his wingman. The action happened near Kirawina, Trobriand Islands. A Japanese silk emblem was found floating on the sea when rescue aircraft searched the site north of Kirawina where the “Tony” was shot down. The flag was retained and would be still in existence.”

Web Master: David apologises for not being able to remember a lot more. As he said, “It happened all too long ago, and sadly stories and names are dimming quickly, I am suffering badly from memory problems.” 

The edited aircraft records for Ian’s aircraft contain the following information: On the 6th November 1943 at 0605 hrs, A58-177 (Ian’s Spitfire) was lead aircraft of a section of four Spitfires on take-off from Kiriwina. It was hit from behind by Wing Commander Wilfred Stanley Arthur, who was flying a Kittyhawk. Flight Sergeant Ian Hope Callister was killed. Wing Commander Wilfred Stanley Arthur’s aircraft exploded into flames and he was severely burnt.

The photo from left to right: George Voges, Phil Turner, Bob Rice, Peter Birch, Bill Wright, Max Bott (CO), Richards, George Gilbert, Reg Nathan, Bob Chaffey (Admin). Bob Rice and Richards are holding the flag. 

Ian is buried at the Bomana War Cemetery just outside Port Moresby. It is a beautiful cemetery. On an Anzac day dawn service there, one can see the sun rising over the  and very near to the start of the Kokoda trail.Owen Stanley Range.

Steve McGregor and David Hopton
Updated Vince Conant
The Spitfire Association