Henry, or Harry as he was known to his mates, was born on the 22nd July 1922 in MacLean, New South Wales. He enlisted into the RAAF in Sydney on the 20th March 1941, and like many of his mates, he eventually found himself in England with 457 Squadron doing his bit to keep the Spitfires serviceable.
457 Squadron had been formed at Baginton, near Coventry, in June 1941 in accordance with Article XV of the Empire Air Training Scheme. Initially, the Squadron’s ground crew were provided by the Royal Air Force, however an Australian ground crew, including Harry, was raised at Williamtown, New South Wales, and joined the Squadron on the 30th October 1941. The Squadron was equipped with Supermarine Spitfires and became part of 9 Group of Fighter Command.
Harry was with the Squadron when it was recalled to Australia in June 1942 to fight the Japanese. The Squadron returned to front-line service on the 20th January 1943 and was based in the North West Area area, where it became part of No.1 Fighter Wing defending Darwin. During his time with the Squadron, Harry served as an Armourer’s Mate before being re-mustered as an Armourer.
The photo was taken in Livingstone near Darwin in 1943 with, from left to right, Harry, Jack Keys, Flight Sergeant Fletcher RAF, Doug Edwards, the pilot of ZK.P, and Jack Tindale.
Harry was discharged on the 13th November 1945 from No.8 OTU at RAAF Station Parkes. He then worked on the buses around the Swansea area for most of the post-war years.
Thanks to Doreen Nipperess, Rowan Baxter and Julie Halliday.
The Spitfire Association.