Interview with George Anderson

Title

Interview with George Anderson

Description

George Anderson was born in County Durham and worked in a grocery shop before he joined the Royal Air Force in 1943. He flew operations as a wireless operator at the end of the war, with 101 Squadron from RAF Ludford Magna. In 1959 George and his family became began a new life in Australia.

Creator

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

2016-11-22

Contributor

Julie Williams

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This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Format

00:49:33 audio recording

Language

Type

Identifier

AAndersonG161122

Conforms To

Is Part Of

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

JM: Right. This interview is being conducted for the International Bomber Command Centre. The interviewer is Jean McCartney. The interviewee is George Anderson. The interview is taking place at Mr Anderson’s home in Murwillumbah, Northern New South Wales on the 22nd of November 2016. Ok George. Let’s start at the beginning, 1925.
GA: Yeah.
JM: You were born in —
GA: Hartlepool.
JM: Hartlepool. Hartlepool.
GA: County Durham.
JM: County Durham.
GA: England.
JM: In England. Yes. And did you spend, is that where you lived then for the next few —
GA: I lived in Holden Colliery.
JM: Right.
GA: And I was there until I went in to the forces.
JM: Right. And that, what, what —
GA: That was in —
JM: 19 —
GA: 1943.
JM: ’43.
GA: Yeah.
JM: And what, was that the air force in —
GA: I volunteered for aircrew.
JM: Aircrew.
GA: I went before I was eighteen and I volunteered. Went to County, Durham which is the capital of the county and I came back and told my mother I’d volunteered and she said, ‘You can’t go. You’re not eighteen.’ I said, ‘I volunteered for aircrew and they’ve taken me.’ So that was it.
JM: Right.
GA: And of course I went April or something late. You know, they called me up later.
JM: Right.
GA: I had a three day test. I’ve forgotten the name of the town I had to go to for medicals, everything. And that was it.
JM: Right. And that was 1943.
GA: Yes. And then I went to ACRC. Air Crew Recruiting Centre at Lord’s.
JM: Goodness.
GA: The cricket ground.
JM: Yeah.
GA: And that’s where we did our drill. I was there, I was there an extended period because we were doing drill with rifles and I fell over. The bloke in front of me fell and I fell over him. Damaged my right arm. It was twisted. And I was there a few weeks longer in hospital and having treatment. And then went on to oh I thought I’d written that down. I can’t remember where I went to next.
JM: That’s ok. Right. So the, lets — you did schooling though before obviously you went into your, right, before you enlisted. So, which school did you go to?
GA: Oh I went to, I was just elementary and I finished school at fourteen and worked in a grocery store. My parents couldn’t afford to. You had to pay to go to High School in those days and they couldn’t afford to. So I finished school at fourteen.
JM: That’s right. Because I presume that was crossing over part of the Depression years.
GA: Yes. Yes. Oh heck, the Depression. I remember that. You got a penny a week to spend and that was it.
JM: Very tough.
GA: Yes.
JM: Yes. And when you then went to this next lot of training was that for what were you doing, were you doing?
GA: Radio, at Initial Training Wing, ITW.
JM: Yeah.
GA: And then after that it was Radio School.
JM: Radio School. And —
GA: Radio School. I was there for a long time. Radio School.
JM: So did you do wireless operator training?
GA: Yes. Yes.
JM: Right.
GA: Yeah. Yeah. Well you started off I think you had to pass out at twenty six words a minute and actually we, they got to thirty two which is navy, merchant navy speeds. And I managed to pass all that. If you failed you were put on RT, return training, you know, put back three weeks. And if you failed that — out. So I managed to get through that alright.
JM: Good. Good. And where did you go? Was that, after that was then Number 2 OAFU?
GA: Observer Flying Unit. And that was over near [unclear] I’m sorry I’ve got it in my logbook there.
JM: That’s ok. Do you want me to — ?
GA: Do you want me to go and get it?
JM: Yeah. Ok. We’ll just pause while you get it. Are you alright there?
GA: Yeah. Great [unclear]
[recording paused]
JM: Picking up now we found that you were at the EWS, Madley Wireless School in Herefordshire which is where you got your twenty six words a minute.
GA: Yes.
JM: And from there, as we’ve just seen the next posting was in Milham in Cumberland for the Elementary Flying Training School.
GA: Yes.
JM: So there, that was more training there, and you went on to Avro Ansons there by the looks of this. And then after that you went to Number 10.
GA: OTU.
JM: OTU.
GA: Operational Training Unit.
JM: In, in Berkshire in January 1945.
GA: That was in Wellingtons as well.
JM: And you met Ron Pile, a navigator.
GA: Yes.
JM: And you then all became a bit of a crew then for a little while?
GA: Yeah. Yeeah. Mixed up and you know, you found a bomb aimer and somebody said, ‘Oh yeah, I know a bloke that will do this,’ so we became the crew.
JM: Right. And then that crew, you transferred to Stanton.
GA: Stanton Harcourt.
JM: Harcourt. Ok.
GA: What was that? I can’t remember.
[pause]
GA: Was that heavy conversion?
[pause]
GA: Heavy Conversion Unit, 1668.
JM: Yes. That’s right.
GA: Lancasters, yeah.
JM: Yeah.
GA: We had a skipper there who’d been, he’d been shot down earlier. We were his second crew.
JM: And you started training on high level bombing runs?
GA: Yeah.
JM: At this, in your time there.
GA: Yeah. We were, I mentioned we were up in Scotland when the skipper went back to the elsan, you know, the toilet, put his mask on and went back and the bomb aimer took over. We had no engineer then. We hadn’t got him then. And he got the artificial horizon and the wings mixed up and we went into a spin dive.
JM: Spin dive.
GA: We were up over twenty thousand. And the skipper had to pull himself down over there trying to help. I knew nothing really. The skipper finally got us out at about three thousand feet.
JM: That was in —
GA: That was at Heavy Con. I’ll have it somewhere in here. Yeah. We did, on those Heavy Cons we did cross countries. We did bullseyes and we had a bullseye at Green Park. I remember getting mixed, we got mixed, we got mixed up with the flight of the aircraft going out on the bombing raid. That was another incident. We did a, I did a diversion as well, 5th of the 4th. Did fighter affiliation. Lots of circuits and bumps. Yes.
JM: Right.
GA: I haven’t looked at this for a long time.
JM: Well there you go.
GA: I found it the other day when they asked me some.
JM: Right. And so then —
GA: So from Heavy Con I went to 101 Squadron, Ludford Magna.
JM: Yeah.
GA: And that was about April. April ’45. And from there I did the Manna raid on Rotterdam.
JM: Right.
GA: Rotterdam.
JM: Rotterdam.
GA: Yeah.
JM: And what do you remember of that?
GA: Low level. Very low level. I remember throwing chocolate out to some kids on the rooftop. And I remember Tony the tail gunner said, ‘I want to shoot those bastards.’ And the skipper said, this was the Germans, they still had their guns, you know. We had a pact, more or less with the Germans at the time. And he said, ‘I want to shoot them.’ The skipper said, ‘You’ll not or they’ll have us.’ Had three, three Irishmen in the crew.
JM: Right.
GA: Fighters. And, well we just, the food was in sandbags really. It was just, went over low level over race courses or wherever, or football fields and just opened the bomb doors and swoosh. There were no parachutes.
JM: No. Possibly well you were pretty low level so hopefully —
GA: Oh yes
JM: So —
GA: But very low, housetops. We were supposed to be at five hundred. We used to fly on these and we’d fly with a friend, you know. Try and get as close as possible to them. Amazing.
JM: So —
GA: Does that make any sense?
JM: Yes. So after your Manna raid then did you do any other? Did you then do any other bombing raids after that?
GA: No.
JM: No. No.
GA: I did just [unclear] formation. [unclear] I can’t remember what that was. [unclear]. No. I didn’t do any. I didn’t do a bombing raid.
JM: Right.
GA: As I say I was briefed for Berchtesgaden which was the last one that 101 did and we didn’t go because a good crew came back off leave and they were put in our place and we didn’t go.
JM: Right.
GA: Maybe that’s why I’m here today.
JM: It could well be.
GA: I did bombing, bombing, bombing. They were just, we did practice bombing all the time as well as the bombing. Bad storm. All the equipment out to sea. [unclear] We, I did, oh yes — that was something. We were doing bomb disposals, and we had two engines went u/s. Gee was u/s. That’s unserviceable.
JM: Yeah.
GA: And we had fourteen, fourteen five hundred pounds bombs on. We were getting rid of bombs in Cardigan Bay in Wales. Probably in there. And we had two engines went u/s. I got rid of them by using a nail file on the fuses, got rid of twelve or fourteen. Anyway, we’d two left and the skipper suddenly shouted, ‘George, send an SOS,’ which I did. And then he suddenly said, ‘George, cancel that, I’ve got the engine. Another.’ We’d lost the third engine. He said, ‘Cancel that. I’ve got the second engine going, so we were back to two engines. And we pulled back over the Welsh hills below their level. It was getting dark and should have only been about an hour and twenty minutes. The flight was four hours twenty minutes and when we got back to base, Bardney, they didn’t have Bardney, I don’t know, one of them, and the skipper said, oh they got, he got a message from RT. You couldn’t, RT was radio transmission was only ten miles so that we were within ten miles of base before he was able to talk to base. And he said, they said. ‘Divert to the east coast. There’s a long runway, you’ll get in there.’ And the skipper said, ‘Sorry, I haven’t got enough fuel for that. I’m coming into base.’ We landed. We got to the end of the runway and the other engine caught fire and of course we were out, running like hell anyway. That was [pause] yeah. We had two hang ups, a fire, fuel was low. That was A Flight, 189 Squadron. That was it. And then after that we went [pause] I think, oh we went to Bari on the coast of Italy and we picked up the soldiers who had been fighting there. I think twenty or twenty four soldiers and all their kits bags and everything, and they were packed into the fuselage. The first thing we gave them was a spew bag [laughs] of course. A lot of them used them. And we, we did that via Bardney, Operation Dodge that was.
JM: And that, that was in 19 —
GA: 1945. And that was September.
JM: September 1945.
GA: September ’45.
JM: Right.
GA: On the squadron. Oh the August ’45 was when we had the trouble with the engines and the time dropping bombs. Dropping, empty, you know finished bombs. Diffused bombs. Bari. Dodge from Bari to, direct, there was an eight hour trip.
JM: That was to Italy.
GA: Yeah.
JM: Yeah.
GA: And then Bari to Bardney, seven hour thirty. I think I did two of them. Dodge to Bari, that was again, that was October, and then we were there five days and then Bari to base. Manston and Tuddenham, eight hours ten minutes.
JM: So you were actually were five days at Bari base?
GA: In Bari. Yes. Yeah.
JM: Right.
GA: I don’t know why we were. Weather or something. The navigator, Ron Pile, his brother was over the opposite side of Italy and he went off because of the weather. We’d been, we were, the flight was scrubbed to get back to England. And he went off to see his brother who was over on the west coast. And of course we got word to take off so we had to get another navigator. He got back home and got away with it. We were eight days. On the 21st was our first flight to Bari and that was the 21st and on the 29th we came back. On one of those occasions Ron skipped it. And when we got back home they told him, ‘Off you go. You’re on leave.’ Based at Bardney. Based Tuddenham. And I think that was when, that was when the last flight, October 23rd, I flew to Tuddenham. We flew and left the aircraft there. That was finished, no longer.
JM: No longer.
GA: No longer flying. We were grounded.
JM: Right. So then that [pause] but you weren’t actually discharged at that point?
GA: Oh no.
JM: You went on and —
GA: I did stores. Went in to stores. So —
JM: Whereabouts was that?
GA: It’s in there, it’ll be in there somewhere, sorry.
JM: Hold on. I’ll just check.
GA: Sorry.
JM: No. That’s ok [pause] Woolsington in Northumberland.
GA: Yes. Yeah. That was, I wasn’t far from home, that’s right.
JM: Right, right. And then after that you got moved up to Montrose?
GA: Yes.
JM: Right.
GA: I was a warrant officer, I think.
JM: Right.
GA: By then.
JM: So, that was all in August. And in 1947 you finally, at that stage you’d moved to Kirkham.
GA: Yeah.
JM: And Group 54. And you were finally released in ’47.
GA: Yeah. Married in ’47. I had about three or four of my air crew there as well, at my wedding. Our wedding.
JM: Yeah. That’s good.
GA: Sixty nine years ago.
JM: Yes. A long time. A long time. And then, and then I see from these notes that you, then you were working with your father. He bought a business.
GA: Yes. He bought a business.
JM: And you were working with him.
GA: Working for him. Then in ’49 I bought a small business in Sunderland. Retail.
JM: Retail business.
GA: Business.
JM: Yeah.
GA: There was still rationing then, of course in England.
JM: Absolutely.
GA: And I was there until 19, it was right outside the pit. The coal mine, you know, across the road was the coal mines in Southwick, Sunderland.
JM: Right.
GA: And I was there. My navigator came over and stayed with us and talked all about Australia. He’d come out here. He was from London but came out to Australia and talked about migrating. Kept on and on and on —
JM: And what was your navigator’s name?
GA: Ron Pile.
JM: Oh that’s Ron Pile again. Yes. Yes.
GA: Betty’s uncle who lived in Murwillumbah was, had come over to England and he came himself.
JM: So was Betty, she was English —
GA: She lived in Horden. We lived behind the park.
JM: Yeah, that’s right, but you said her uncle. So, what, one of her father’s or mother’s brothers had migrated, had they?
GA: He’d migrated.
JM: Right.
GA: And he came and he talked about Australia. Wonderful place. And we signed up. Went and got the papers.
JM: Became a ten pound pom.
GA: Three months we were given. Couldn’t sell the business in that time.
JM: No.
GA: So we had cousins, ‘Would you sell the business?’ And that was it. We were gone. And we had, our daughter was eleven and our son was nine and that was it. We decided we were going.
JM: Going.
GA: And we sailed from England on our wedding anniversary, 19th of July 1959.
JM: Right.
GA: That was it. The best thing that ever happened.
JM: Yeah.
GA: Came straight to Murwillumbah.
JM: Well I was going to say that was the Murwillumbah connection, because of Betty’s uncle being here.
GA: Yes.
JM: Right. Right.
GA: The original sponsor was Betty’s cousin. The daughter of my uncle.
JM: Yeah.
GA: But they went to Keir Lucas who was a prominent member of an accountants’ in town. Went for a [unclear] test and he was president of Rotary and he said, ‘Let us take over. We’ve got a ship coming out on the 19th of July. All Rotary sponsored.’ So that was it and we were just shew, shew.
JM: Connections as they say, connections.
GA: It wasn’t a favour or anything. It was just he wanted somebody to do for, you know for Rotary.
JM: Yeah.
GA: They wanted more people from England on this ship and Rotary were sponsoring everybody.
JM: Excellent.
GA: And we had a, we got on board and we met, anyway, I’ve forgot her name. She lives here. Rose Boyd. She was coming back after a holiday in England. She got on, she was on board the same ship but she was paying her way. Well [pause] so she was a cane farmer’s wife. He had a cane farm here in Murwillumbah and of course Betty got to know her. We were six, six weeks on board.
JM: Yes. It was a slight —
GA: We sailed so that we arrived in Brisbane for their anniversary. For their hundred in ‘59 they were, that was their hundred birthday of Brisbane.
JM: Right.
GA: And of course we were delayed in Adelaide, Not Adelaide. Perth. We met English people in Perth. In Sydney met Ron. Five of us on the, no, seven of us on the beach at Bondi. August 25th. Nobody else, mid-winter and there we were.
JM: Sunning yourself.
GA: Enjoying it.
JM: Yeah. Yeah.
GA: Amazing.
JM: Amazing. Yeah. So when the boat came did you — you docked in Perth.
GA: Perth.
JM: And then did you continue on the boat round?
GA: Yeah.
JM: Oh ok. Right.
GA: Right around.
JM: Right. And so you docked in Sydney as well did you, did you say?
GA: Melbourne.
JM: Melbourne and Sydney.
GA: Sydney. And then up to Brisbane.
JM: And then to Brisbane.
GA: Delayed in Sydney so that we that arrived for the hundredth anniversary.
JM: Right. Ok.
GA: In Brisbane.
JM: And so from then on —
GA: And Rotary met us in Brisbane.
JM: And then to here, right. It’s unusual that. It must have been because Rotary were organising it.
GA: Yeah.
JM: That it happened that way because that wasn’t the normal sort of.
GA: No.
JM: A lot of people tended go in to Melbourne and get offloaded in Melbourne and came —
GA: Yeah. Yeah.
JM: If they were coming to New South Wales they were on trains from Melbourne up to Sydney.
GA: Yeah.
JM: So that was —
GA: It was all organised through Rotary.
JM: Rotary. Yeah. That’s very interesting. So you got into Murwillumbah in, what?
GA: August.
JM: Late August.
GA: Yeah.
JM: Late August 1959 and you’ve been here ever since.
GA: This cousin lived in River Street and that banana festival which has just been. They drove us, came round to, Betty said, ‘I want to live there,’ pointed to the houses, in. They said, ‘Oh no. This is snob hill.’ Next door was the Withies who owned the saw mill. There was the manager of the, or something or other, doctor, solicitors. It was expensive housing. Two years later, February 1962 I knew somebody who said, ‘Yeah. My mother’s just died and the house is for sale.’ And that was it. I said, ‘Right. We’ll have it.’ It was an old dilapidated house and I was a do it yourself man.
JM: You did it up and yes, marvellous. Magnificent view as you come. Magnificent view. So what did you do, did you do when you, what sort of, did you get into retailing again here or — ?
GA: Yes, the chap that was president of Rotary. They brought us down. He gave me a job. He was the radio and wireless man, and television man in Queen Street, Murwillumbah, gave me a job. I was there a few weeks. And then another Rotarian took me on I was in a grocery shop for a few weeks. And then another Rotarian [unclear] studios. They took me as a, and taught me photography. And that was, I’ll tell you in a minute his name, and I was there for two years. I was photographing for the, for him, for weddings and so forth and also for the newspaper. So I was travelling up to [unclear] and Southport getting these photos of celebrities. And then bringing them back, develop the film and getting them into the newspaper by 5 o’clock, had to be develop and printed, 5 o’clock was the deadline. And I did that for three years. And I did a little bit of photography on my own as well. And then I went into the advertising side, side of the newspaper. And then became advertising manager. And then went and had a heart attack and retired and that was it.
JM: So, I presume that you became a member of Rotary?
GA: No. No.
JM: You didn’t? Oh. Ok.
GA: I was a member of Lions.
JM: Lions, right.
GA: I joined that in 1970.
JM: Right.
GA: And I was a member until 2010.
JM: Right.
GA: Forty years. And although I travelled, as you can see, I travelled the world. No matter where we went I went to a Lions meeting. Never missed meetings. You know, it was always. That was me.
JM: Yes.
GA: And I was always active, active. I stayed active. As you can see, all these tapestries. I did that in my spare time.
JM: You did the tapestries.
GA: All of them.
JM: Goodness me.
GA: I didn’t watch television. I listened and I did my tapestries. I’ve got one now I’m trying to finish.
JM: Yes, amazing.
GA: Chairs. Cushions.
JM: Cushions.
GA: You know.
JM: What lead you to tapestry?
GA: When I had the heart attack.
JM: Right.
GA: Betty was doing tapestry and I was in hospital and they brought this tapestry in. That was it.
JM: That’s it.
GA: I had to do something.
JM: Had to do something because —
GA: I’m a doer.
JM: You’re a doer and you couldn’t just be lying there in bed.
GA: No. No.
JM: Doing nothing.
GA: Which is what I do now. I do nothing now.
JM: I don’t know that that’s such a bad thing in some respects given where you’re at now but —
GA: I’ve got to have this all the time now.
JM: Right.
GA: For my ticker.
JM: Ticker, yeah.
GA: It flares up.
JM: Yeah.
GA: Well, I guess I’m lucky.
JM: Yeah. And did you, I’m guessing that the decision to come to Australia was not one that you’ve ever regretted?
GA: No way. Best thing that ever happened. And the children are, as I say Brenda was eleven and Barry was nine on the day we went to Bondi Beach. He wanted to go to Bondi Beach. He was nine year old. Our daughter lives in [pause] near Tamworth, Manilla, near Tamworth.
JM: Right.
GA: And our son lives at Hastings Point.
JM: Oh ok. So that’s not too far away.
GA: It was a beach house. Brought a block of land, yeah. Frank Cook, the President of Rotary that brought us down and gave us me first job, he said, ‘George, there’s a block of land next door to me. Well, next door but one and it’s going for a hundred and thirty pounds. I suggest you buy it.’ We did. And then in ’79 we bought a house that had got to be moved from Kingston. We bought that and it was cut in two and moved on to the block. We gave that to our son about ten years ago. And this is our daughters so —
JM: Right. Yeah.
GA: Two happy kids.
JM: Yes.
GA: They love the country.
JM: Love the country, yes.
GA: Our daughter went on to the uni and was in the department. I don’t know. One of the departments. Our son, on top of the world and he became a photographer.
JM: So followed in your steps there, initial steps I suppose you might say into the photography side of things, yeah.
GA: Yeah.
JM: And what contact did you maintain? You mentioned that you’d seen Ron Pile.
GA: Yes.
JM: A couple of times.
GA: Brought my second bomb aimer Ken Heaton. They were over there in England and we saw them. [unclear] near Blackpool. We saw them each time we went over. It was good.
JM: Sorry, that was Ken.
GA: Ken Heaton.
JM: Heaton.
GA: He was the bomb aimer. He died about ten years ago.
JM: Right.
GA: I still kept in contact with his wife. I’ve got the name of him there.
JM: Yeah.
GA: You know, I contact her especially at Christmas.
JM: And so it sounds as though all of your crew were, were English?
GA: Yes.
JM: There were no ringings on any of your crew.
GA: No. Irish. Three Irish.
JM: Apart from the Irish but, you know.
GA: Tony. I used to visit Tony when we went over and then when he died I visited his wife. Lofty was our mid-upper. Lost contact with him. Our first bomb aimer, he was, after the war in Europe finished he went back to the west coast of Ireland where he lived. And that was it. He was a policeman. My engineer, he was a pilot. Larry. I lost contact with him. We just, you know. He was a Geordie but we didn’t. He was ok but we didn’t keep in contact.
JM: Contact. No. No.
GA: But the navigator who was the first one I met and crewed up with, you know we met and we decided to be in the same crew. He’s dead now. He had Alzheimer’s.
JM: And which, that wasn’t Ron was it?
GA: That was Ron Pile.
JM: That was Ron.
GA: He lived in Sydney.
JM: Right.
GA: He lived in Sydney.
JM: In Sydney. Yeah.
GA: He was up here once or twice.
JM: And what — just sort of backtracking a little bit. What would you say would perhaps be one of your best memories of your leave or something like that during your postings? Is there any particular event stands out when you were on leave at any time? Anything particularly that —
GA: I think whenever I went on leave — Betty was a nurse in Sunderland Royal Infirmary.
JM: Right.
GA: And of course there was always, I’d get home and she’d be on duty. So I’d go along [whistle] and they’d give Betty the message that, you know, ‘George is out the front,’ of the nurse’s quarters. She’d say, ‘Sorry I’m not off for another two hours.’ You know. And that was it. I mean being at home and trying to be at home together was difficult.
JM: Very difficult.
GA: Because there was always casualties there. And later on, of course when the prisoners of war were coming back from Germany and that, the wounded, she was very busy.
JM: So she nursed a lot of those chaps.
GA: Yes. Yes. And of course I remember the work in England before. I remember the bombing, you know. We were bombed. That was before I joined up. The north east of course got a hammering. I just know that I always had problems going home on leave wondering if Betty would be there or not. You know, if she was working that was it.
JM: Yeah.
GA: You’d have to get a bus. No transport. Later I had, my dad had a van, a little Ford van. I used to borrow that when I was stationed at Newcastle. Travelled down to see her and, you know.
JM: And, in terms of squadron reunions were there any?
GA: No.
JM: No real squadron reunions.
GA: No. No.
JM: At any time. Or anything like that?
GA: No.
JM: And I guess.
GA: Well —
JM: Once you were out of here of course there wasn’t any.
GA: There were squadron reunions you know but I didn’t get. I couldn’t get to them. You know.
JM: That was what, before you came, emigrated or after?
GA: Before.
JM: Obviously you know it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be until in much later in life that you would have been able to get back to any of the —
GA: I was in the Air Training Corps and in the RAF Association but I can’t remember ever being notified of reunions.
JM: Right.
GA: I mean, now I get the Air Mail or Reveille and it’s in there all the time, you know. Reunions.
JM: Yeah.
GA: But I can’t remember or recollect any at the time.
JM: So obviously in terms of out here in, you know, Northern New South Wales there really wouldn’t have been any Bomber Command connections.
GA: There is one up in Surfers Paradise.
JM: Surfers Paradise, right.
GA: But I haven’t managed to get to it.
JM: Right. Right.
GA: No.
JM: That’s all good. And what [pause] what other memories stand out for you from the war period. Anything in particular or just, anything?
GA: No. I’m sorry I’m, I’m just —
JM: No. That’s alright. It’s just, I guess so much of the time was so difficult really. I mean that’s part of the thing.
GA: Yeah, I remember that we always, as a crew, we did everything together.
JM: Yes.
GA: We were, you know, seven of us.
JM: Yeah.
GA: That was it, didn’t give a bugger about anybody else. We, when we went out the aircraft we had, we had bicycles and I think the skipper had a motorbike. We’d have a rope from the motorbike and he’d be, he’d tow us out to the aircraft. We, of course the skipper got promoted to flying officer and we went, in the hut, you were always there, six of you together. Nobody else mattered.
JM: Well, that was.
GA: I mean, that was over the year we were like that. We would go out in the evening. I can’t remember how we got out. Bus or something. All went together, stayed together, went to the pubs together. I used to drink then. And that was it. We were so close. I remember one occasion Tony said, ‘Come here,’ and he got up on to my shoulders to stand beside the traffic lights and he was going dah dah de dah. You can believe it. But that’s —
JM: A bit of a humorous there by the sounds of it.
GA: Yes. Yes. We were pretty, yeah, good.
JM: Pretty good. That’s right.
GA: A good crew.
JM: A good crew.
GA: Yeah.
JM: And of course that’s very much contrasted by all the times you’ve had in Murwillumbah and a very different lifestyle. Very different opportunities.
GA: Yes. Well, I’ve been in different organisations. I was in the Lodge, a Mason, Lions. Now I’m in Legacy. I look after old ladies. They’re all younger than me. All wives of ex-servicemen. Go to [Provost] with Betty. [unclear] That’s my biggest worry.
JM: That’s right. Well that’s all.
GA: Is that enough?
JM: That’s good. Yes.
GA: That’s enough?
JM: That’s enough. Thank you, George. That’s magnificent.

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Citation

Jean Macartney, “Interview with George Anderson,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed November 13, 2019, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/2210.

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