Flying beats milking cows
Found adventure in the Air Force
ALL Bill Rough ever wanted to do was join the Air Force when he was 18.
Bill said he did not want to stay home and milk cows on the family property.
“There had to be something better than dairying seven days a week,” he said.
The retired warrant officer now lives in Childers
Bill Rough We were responsible for carrying out bombing attacks on Japanese ships and Japanese occupied islands ...
with his wife Mary.
He served with the 11th-20th Squadron Royal Australian Air Force in the SecondWorldWar. “I got home safe,” he said. “At least I had a warm bed to sleep in at night, not like those who served in New Guinea.”
His squadron, made up of Seagull and Empire flying boats, was formed as a general reconnaissance squadron based at Richmond in NSW.
Bill said with the outbreak of war, the squadron was moved to Port Moresby.
“In early 1941 the unit
THOSE WERE THE DAYS: Retired warrant officer Bill Rough shared his experiences as a wireless operator with the Catalina aircraft in the Second World War with Biggenden State School students. began flying a Catalina aircraft on patrol and search missions,” he said.
“We were responsible for carrying out bombing attacks on Japanese ships and Japanese occupied islands around Thursday Island, Tulagi, New Zealand and Bougainville.
“In the same year the unit was involved in a search mission to look for survivors from the HMAS Sydney.”
With the escalation of attacks by the Japanese on Port Moresby, the squadron withdrew to Bowen in May, 1942.
Bill said the unit still continued to carry out reconnaissance missions for naval vessels involved in the Battle of the Coral Sea.
Towards the end of 1942 the unit relocated to Cairns and then Darwin.
He said this enabled them to carry out night raids against enemy shipping and submarines which were trying to supply the enemy with supplies.
At the end of the war the squadron dropped food and medical supplies to prisoner of war camps across South-East Asia and flew survivors back to Australia.
Bill said the squadron disbanded on February 15, 1946.
“Our motto of ‘Shepherd or Destroy’ is appropriate as we protected allied troops and destroyed the enemy,” he said.
Bill met wife Mary on the beach at Scarness when he was training in Maryborough. He has been retired for the past 26 years after being a cane inspector with Isis Central Mill.