Connecting with Second World War Veterans this Anzac Day

A pair of Air Force veterans have connected with their modern day counterparts in the lead-in to Anzac Day.

Flying Officers Robert Marshall and Doug Sandow, both bomber pilots during the Second World War, each spent an afternoon meeting current-serving Air Force members.

460 Squadron Air Intelligence Analysts, Sergeant Michael Kimmorley and Aircraftwoman Cassie Douglas travelled from Canberra to visit retired 460 Squadron member, 96-year-old Flying Officer Robert Marshall at his Uniting Care residence in Sydney.

Flying Officer Marshall flew 31 missions as a Lancaster Bomber Pilot in the Second World War, and said it became normal to expect disaster. He was 16 when the war started and was called up for service at 18 years of age.

Sergeant Kimmorley and Flying Officer Marshall compared the then and now of 460 Squadron learning about the origins that made it what it is today.

“We look at what the World War Two Vets went through and realise we are such a lucky, young generation to inherit such a courageous legacy”, Sergeant Kimmorley said.

37 Squadron hosted 95-year-old Veteran, Flying Officer Douglas Sandow for a tour around RAAF Base Richmond.

During the Second World War, Flying Officer Sandow completed three operational tours in the as a Pilot on B-24 Liberators with 12SQN, and B-25 Mitchells with 2 Squadron.

He also piloted the Avro Anson ‘flying classrooms’; similar to the 32 Squadron King Air 350s role in training Air Combat Officers, the Anson was an airborne learning environment for Navigators destined for the War.

“There was a lot of horror in the damn business but nonetheless you were there to do a job and if you didn’t kill him he’d kill you,” Flying Officer Sandow said. “You’re the only one that can live or die and that’s what you do. You put your whole heart in it.”.

During Flying Officer Sandow’s war-time service, he witnessed fellow bomber crews fall to enemy guns or crash during low-level attacks.

But perhaps his most emotional mission came after the war, when Air Force Liberators supported the repatriation of Australian Prisoners of War from Singapore.

In December 1945, he was involved with the search for 35 Squadron Dakota A67-83, which took off with 25 passengers and crew from Ambon and has never been found.

As a salute to a veteran member of 2 Squadron, an E-7A Wedgetail conducted a landing circuit at RAAF Base Richmond, and taxied past Flying Officer Sandow on the flightline.

37 Squadron Loadmaster, Corporal Doug Strauss listened to Flying Officer Sandow’s story and hosted a visit inside a C-130J Hercules.

“I felt incredibly privileged to spend time with Flying Officer Sandow and share his experiences”, Corporal Strauss said.

More information:

Video: WWII veteran Flying Officer Douglas Sandow

Video: WWII veteran Flying Officer Robert Marshall

Story: Flying Officer Kat Trimble

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