Wednesday, October 08, 2008


My father, my mother, my sister and I were refugees from the Great Depression in the United States. An expatriate Australian, my dad was unable to find accounting work in San Francisco and in 1938 turned in his Ozzie passport for a free passage home to Sydney on the SS Mariposa. Times were tough, but he managed to find work in Sydney and we settled in to an apartment in Bondi Beach.

Shortly after war was declared in 1939, dad who had been a commissioned officer in the Great War and who was probably suffering from what would now be called, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, volunteered for the AIF and was appointed a Staff Sergeant in the Paymaster Corps at Victoria Barracks. A year later he died in the repat Hospital in North Sydney, his spirit finally succumbing to the effects of his on the Somme in World War 1.

We were alone and reduced to living in Wooloomooloo in a small bedroom with a louvered kitchen porch, a penny-in-the-slot gas-ring, a tin washing-up dish and a shared bathroom downstairs. Lest anyone think this was the gentrified neighborhood it is now, it wasn’t! Our neighbours were out-of-work actors (Peter Finch, Nan Taylor) and young women who sought out the Yanks cascading from the American Invasion to win the war.

Charity -Receiving and Giving.

The Legacy Club accepted mother and I for help: dental, medical, financial and social. The war had made it obvious that the wives and children of deceased enlisted men could not ‘make it on their own. Jobs were scarce for unskilled, homemakers so my mother became a domestic servant - a steep descent for a woman whose family in Bourke had owned farms and a hotel on the Darling River. When the Legacy Club asked us to sell Legacy buttons, we started out early in the morning for the Wooloomooloo docks and the approaches to the Garden Island Navy Base.
Buttons were priced one bob to five quid and we sold a lot of them to the dockworkers and the generous Yanks.The Australian currency was ‘funny money’ to them - and they had lots of it. No wonder our neighbour ladies liked the Loo! Legacy was grateful for our efforts and when I passed the NSW State Bursary exam they agreed to pay the extra half of the tuition and board at the school of mother’s dreams. Billy would be a Riverview man!
Mother still a great sense of style, and I don’t know where the money came from, but towards the summer’s end, I was introduced to Peapes - the Sydney equivalent of Brooks Brothers in the United States.At the Temple of the GPS - the Boy’s Department on the 2nd floor, I was outfitted in a Riverview gray, suit. Several days later I was interviewed by Rector of, Fr. Johnston S.J., who, because he followed the previous rector, Fr. Hehir, a.k.a. “The Mouse”, was known as “The Cat” !

My Riverview Experience and Its Mark On Me

Old Boys will tell you that life at ‘View in the Thirties and Forties was tougher . They will say,“WE slept in open air dormitories, ate tinned baked beans on toast and endured ‘table wars’ for a limited supply of milk; had melon and lemon jam on dry bread for an after sport snack.”.

Old men always had it rougher than today’s softies. Really? Heads up, old classmates, today’s a different world! The expectations placed on today’s lucky few are beyond anything we could have imagined.

A well rounded education today involves travel, writing and research on a computer, a good diet and a healthy body. These are real needs for all the young men at Riverview. For a bursary student whose family is of modest means, not participating in the sports and travel nor having the right gear, leaves them at a severe disadvantage. Believe me, I’ve been there! Having to borrow Brian Regan’s jacket was embarrassing in 1948 but today it would be humiliating. Not having easy access to a computer puts the man at a disadvantage not easily overcome. Today’s bursaries must include things which at my time would have been considered luxuries.

But what did Riverview do for me?

St. Ignatius left me with a lifelong love of learning. I shall grow old remembering Fr. ‘Twit’ Dennett’s Ancient History classes, Fr. Ryan’s encouragement to “write, write, write”, Doctor King’s world view, Bruce Kinnaird’s patience in Maths. and Harry Thomas’ attempts to eliminate Strine. Great men who set a great example. ‘View also left me with a sense of what was the right thing to do: to help someone who was less fortunate or had ‘lost the way’, to give without counting the cost, to never give in. When asked what our school motto “Quantum Potes, Tantum Aude” means, I usually reply that a loose translation is, “Give it a go, mate.”

And what’s in a name?

I’ll share little secret: Years later after I returned to the USA, I took an entrance exam en route to becoming a USAF pilot. The Air Force assumed that my listing of three years at St Ignatius College was three years of ‘college’ - the U.S. name for university. And, with my Jesuit grounding in the liberal arts, my test score was lifted above the other entrants. Once again, in a new country, the bursary boy scored a try - his first, but one which built on the great Riverview foundation.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Back To the Land of the Free

In the early Fifties, Australia re-instituted involuntary military service; in the USA it was called “The Draft”; in Oz it was called National Service or in Aussie slang, “Nasho(e)s”. Being an independent sort and not wanting to mix with the hoi polloi, I had no desire to be ‘called up’ to serve. I had been told, or read, that to preserve one’s American citizenship, you could not serve in a ‘foreign’ army.

I still treasured my American birth certificate and longed to return to land of cheap motorcars. In 1952, I took the train to Sydney and presented myself to the American consulate on the top floor of the Bank of New South Wales, an impressive Victorian sandstone building at the end of Martin Place in the center of the city. (The building is still there and is still a bank – WESTPAC.)

I filled out the necessary papers and was given a US draft card for my trouble! I asked if I could be inducted into the US Armed Forces then and there, but was told that I must enlist in a country where the Army had a presence and the nearest country was Japan. So much for that way out! I then asked for my passport but was told they would issue one when (and if) I had a ticket to the USA. To ensure that there was no doubt as to my intentions to resume my U.S. citizenship, I took my British passport, drafted a ‘snotty’ letter to the Australian Passport Office in York Street, where I relinquished my Australian citizenship and was able to avoid the Australian Draft. (The law was changed in the 1990s so I am now a dual national – able to own property, collect the Australian Old-Age Pension and vote.)

Back in Gunnedah with my head in the clouds, I walked the hot, dusty sidewalk and imagined I was in America. Maybe Texas, or even California. (I didn’t dream of living in Arizona where we now reside.) Living in the Imperial Hotel in Gunnedah, I drank with traveling salesmen and college graduates who knew something of the world outside. They advised me to leave Gunnedah and go to Sydney to seek a new adventure. Why not leave Australia and return to the USA? Yep, why not?

By the summer of 1955 I decided to go to the U.S. as soon as I saved enough money. I was earning a journeyman wage and by reducing the partying and extra-curricula activities, I could minimize my expenses. Besides, my friends were marrying – Bob Cozens the airplane mechanic who had helped me learn the airplane mechanic trade was engaged. My old Riverview mate, Bob Bower was married to his long time love, Virginia and starting to raise a family. QANTAS was a good job but I realized that with my lack of training I would never be able to progress beyond a low technical level job. A free college education was beyond my reach, nor I did not know how to go about it.

“San Francisco, a One-Way Ticket, Please.”

During my insurance days, the Pacific and Orient Steamship Company (P & O) was two doors away on Spring Street; I knew the blokes who worked there and they helped me find the cheapest berth on the ship. I wrote a cheque for £50 and reserved a berth on the S.S. Oronsay to depart Sydney on December 3, 1955. And what a berth it turned out to be! The ‘no porthole’, tiny, six-bed cabin below the waterline reminded me of pictures of WW2 troopships. But my bunkmates were pleasant and we all shared one thing in common: we were off on an adventure! My childhood friends were excited and a bit envious. One of us was ‘getting out of Australia’. In the 1950s, many Australians felt that the only national culture in Australia was to be found in a bottle of yogurt! Most young people went to Europe and began their adventure in Kangaroo Valley the Pommie name for Earls Court in London. It was crawling with Aussies who lived together in much the same way as American kids did in the late sixties– 10 to a room using the ‘hot bed’ principle: there was always someone sleeping in every bed and sometimes two to a bed! But, because I had a U.S. passport, my travels would allow me to go the America, and unlike most other kids, I could legally hold a job!

Before departure, my friends would not allow me to spend and more money than was absolutely necessary. The waitress at the local ‘greasy spoon’ brought me as much food I could eat and charged me only the minimum price on the menu. My mates bought most all the beers and three girls made me a gray pullover wool sweater as a joint project. They presented this to me at a going away party held at Rae Soulos’ apartment. They had made the sweater without measuring me and the arms were ten inches too long. (Several years as an Air Force cadet my friends told me that it would be de rigueur with blue jeans and I purchased my first pair of Levis in Lubbock.)

And what a party it was! John and Shirley Jones, my QANTAS mates, Bob Cozens and his intended, several girl friends and their blokes gathered at Rae’s tiny Coogee flat and we had a great ‘piss-up’. I crawled back to my room in Cowper Street and passed out.
The night before departure was sleepless because of a visit from a psychotic, drunken fellow boarder. I guess he’d had enough of my bragging at dinner and decided to take me down a peg or two. He bashed in the door to my bedroom and as I didn’t wish to get involved in a pre-departure interview with the local constabulary, I yelled for help. Paddy, a nearby friend had been an Irish policeman and knew how to handle drunks. He ‘took him away’ in short order. The landlady, Mrs. Retallack, a tiny slip of a woman set on the stairs for several hours to preclude another visitation. Poor woman - the job was worth more than her trouble of looking after an aging apartment, its staff and twenty rowdy inhabitants.

Next morning with my Val Pak (a B-4 leather bag which I kept for years) and briefcase in hand, I called a cab, and boarded the SS Oronsay, a Clyde-built, single funnel, P & O two-class liner which was doing service in taking Poms and Wogs to Oz, and disgruntled Aussies to Canada and the USA. By today’s standards of cruise ships, the Oronsay was small. My below-the-waterline cabin had no porthole and six bunks. This was home for almost three weeks—and after New Zealand, I was the only occupant.

The Oronsay was docked in Pyrmont adjacent to the dock where the family had landed 18 years ago on the SS Mariposa. The dock and the deck were jammed with partygoers envious of those of us who were ‘getting out’. There were confused noises of music, laughter, sobbing and ‘chundering’. The gang from Cowper Street showed up with booze and small goodbye gifts. I remember none of them except a bottle of Cointreau from a girlfriend (I think it was Jacquie Trigg) who remembered that we had enjoyed champagne cocktails in her room on some forgotten evening orgy. We hugged and kissed until the ship’s siren blasted and the crew announced, “All visitors ashore, all visitors ashore!” I stood with hundreds of other escapees by the railing throwing the traditional rolls of streamers to my friends until the gap between the ship and dock was a solid paper wall. The tugs took hold, the streamers parted and the sliver of water in the gap grew larger. I turned my back to the wharf and went downstairs to unpack. I didn’t look back.

First stop, Auckland, and by then I had made new friends over coffee in the lounge with my new shipmates. They were a mixed bunch: old friends were quickly forgotten in the spirit of the moment. Next stop, Suva, Fiji where in 1938 my father had been forbidden to go ashore for fear he would jump ship and leave his wife and two children to fend for themselves. Next stop, Honolulu and for the first time in my life, I knew I belonged to a great country; the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the US Government had set up two tables labeled U.S. Citizens and Others. The line to the U.S. Citizens table was short, and I was home!

I had made friends with a Canadian couple returning from a six month walkabout in Australia and they allowed me to share a car rental. We toured the island until late afternoon. It was in downtown Honolulu, a place which I would frequent with my wife and children 5 years later, that I saw my first TV. I stared like a country bumpkin through the window of a department store until they dragged me away to a fast food restaurant several blocks away. We walked a little way further and I tasted my first American hamburger slathered in relish.. My Canadian friends were quite amused as they were ‘world travelers’ raised in Canada and used to the American diet.

Little did I know that in three years I would visit Honolulu as a commissioned USAF pilot and eat in the Officers’ Club at Hickam AFB.

Mid way through the voyage, I found that I had friends in First Class—two Armenian sisters from Coonabarrabran. They were the daughters of a modestly well-to-do haberdasher and had been on several Gunnedah YCW outings I attended. The 21 year old was rich, but chubby but I knew a good thing when I saw it. She had invited me to her cabin several times during her afternoon nap and was generous with drinks and squeezes. She suggested that we visit the night spots before our midnight departure. Heck, I didn’t own the proper clothes but she took care of that and a blazer was borrowed. On her nickel, we hit several clubs and as the ship was scheduled to cast off at midnight, we left the joint at a quarter to twelve, hailed a cab and the five of us tried to pile in.

“No way brudda!” said the cabbie, “You need two taxis for this load!” I panicked—I had no money for a cab, but the others thought it was a great joke and decided to run to the wharf. So we ran. The two girls were in heels and the three boys were nine sheets to the wind. We arrived the minute prior to their raising the gangplank to the cheers of those already on board. Being always the gentleman, I was the last on board.

The weather became very cold. The leg to Vancouver was a bit rough, but we were now seasoned mariners and walked the rolling decks in the rain and cold wind of late November. I walked the decks with my new friends, kept my sea legs and my meals. During evening coffee there was much talk about Canada and finding jobs—none of the Australians seeking work were permitted to continue to the USA without an appropriate visa and these were in very short supply.

In Vancouver, I said goodbye to all of my new friends except the sisters. But, as fate would have it, a young Sydney honey, already in love with the USA and American boys in general, boarded en route home to Oz via San Francisco. I forgot my Armenian friends and quickly became entangled with this new Sydneysider.

Alas, the trip ended far too soon.

Under the Golden Gate

The morning I arrived in America was foggy but passing the Farralone Islands, the sky cleared and the Bronze Bridge was dead ahead. Packed and ready, I went to the pointy end and, just as in the movie “Titanic” many years later, I stood on the fore-peak and was first to pass under the Golden Gate.

Thus began my American adventure.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Count the Rivets 1957

(The author, William (Bill) Critch a resident of AZ was in 1957, a USAF aviation cadet in Class 58H. After graduation, he was commissioned a 2nd Lt and assigned to the Military Air Transport Service as a co-pilot.)

Bainbridge Air Base, Georgia. June 1957

I taxi into the takeoff position and hold the brakes on with my feet pressed against the top of the rudder pedals. Today, it’s a solo flight to practice coordination maneuvers and aerobatics.

The plane in front of me has lifted off, so I apply full power. The big radial engine has a comforting sound and I feel the propeller torque trying to turn me to the left. I press in right rudder and keep the Trojan headed straight down the runway. The prop seems to be turning very s-l-o-w-l-y, but it’s a typical illusion of the T-28’s two-bladed propeller and not at all like the smaller T-34 in which I soloed. The airspeed is increasing normally and I lift off at around 85 knots. I say out loud to myself, “Gear Up”, and climb straight ahead to 500 feet, increase the airspeed, raise the flaps and then make a right, then a left climbing turn and I’m clear of the traffic pattern. I check the cowl flaps closed and set the power for Climb.

A beautiful spring day. Big woolly clouds against a clear, blue Georgia sky. But I don’t day dream – I’ve work to do. I clear the sky to my left to see if anyone else is close and continue climbing and turning to 8,000 feet. The farmland underneath, as indeed most of the land in the U.S., is laid out in sections with the boundaries running north, south, east and west. As I climb, I practice staying lined up with the section lines.

Using an imaginary line I mentally draw across the windshield, I practice steep turns. We have not been taught to fly on instruments yet, and refer I to them only to check my ability to maintain altitude while looking outside. I talk to myself while turning.

“Throttle up a bit. More back pressure on the stick. Keep that imaginary line on the horizon. Oops, I can feel I’m losing altitude! Add power. Raise the nose a bit. I’m skidding. Ease out some bank and use a little top rudder – keep the ball centered, keep it coordinated. Now, more bank again, back to 60 degrees. Fly the plane, don’t let it fly you!” I work at turns for about 15 minutes till I’m tired of it.

Now for some chandelles. This maneuver, that I seem to have little trouble performing, feels like flying is meant to: a rapid change in altitude, pitch angle, speed, and the sense of a rapid climb out of some dangerous situation. I imagine myself flying into a fjord or into a box canyon and finding that I must immediately reverse direction and climb back out. This is a situation that can easily happen and indeed, several later, I put this maneuver to good use when flying in Greenland.

Next snap rolls, horizontal reverses and the exhilarating Cuban Eight. I don’t know why it’s called a Cuban Eight but it is two loops joined together like an infinity sign.

I try to remember what the acrobatic section of the flight manual says as I talk myself through the maneuver:

Prop…Full Forward
Airspeed…descend to increase to 200 Knots.”

I begin to dive and enter a loop. Easing in the back pressure, I feel the gravitational force – “g’s” - as I begin the loop looking over my head to keep the North/South section lines fore and aft. Over the top, back on the throttle and dive upside down at a 45 degree angle until the nose passes through the horizon. Then I half-roll till I’m right side up and commence another loop all the time keeping the plane properly aligned. Over top again, down at 45 degrees and roll out at my original entry altitude. Wow! Fun, fun, fun. Oops, lost a thousand feet or so – better do another, and another. I’m charged!

Before I realize it, my two hour solo is almost over and I’m going to be cutting it pretty fine to land in time so that the next student can have the plane.

I can see the field from this altitude and also can see that the line of trainers preparing to land is stretched out five or six miles. Yikes! How will I squeeze in? Like the ‘tiger’ I’d like to be, I make a high speed descent and parallel the 45 degree entry for the south east runway. I see a gap and whip into a steep 180 degree turn and bully my way in front of another T-28 who has left a bit wider spacing than usual. What I don’t know is that the ship I have pushed in front of has a student and an instructor.

I turn right 45 degrees on to ‘initial’ and can see I’m too close to the plane in front, so I extend my pitch-out point a bit further down the runway. What I don’t hear is the mobile control tower say to me, “Solo T-28 on initial, go around.” They can see I’m extending the pattern too far, but my attention is already divided with spacing and landing. For all intents, I’m deaf to their request and I begin my 60 degree ‘pitch-out’ to the right.

“Throttle back until the horn sounds, Gear Down, Horn silent…..” I say as I turn.

Suddenly I become instantly aware of a blur ten or fifteen feet above my canopy. I can almost count the rivets in the underside of another trainer’s fuselage.

I have barely survived a near miss at less than 1,000 feet. If he’d hit me, nobody would have survived; we would both be a pile of burning metal at the end of the runway.

I continue my descending turn towards the runway, but something doesn’t feel right. I’m descending too fast. I add power, and the descent slows. I touch down much faster than usual and do not make the first turn off but taxi further down the runway causing the next T-28 to go-around.

While ‘cleaning up’ after landing, I realize why I landed long and fast. After the near miss with the other plane, my train of thought was interrupted and I forget to put down ‘landing flaps’. What a ‘tiger’ I am. More like a scared pussy cat.

Entering the line shack, I decide to say nothing about the near-miss to Earl Wederbrook, my instructor. Glancing out of the window, I see a short instructor walking very quickly toward our building. Earl also sees him coming, and flicks his eyes towards the parachute loft. I take the hint beat a hasty retreat. I put it together! The approaching instructor is my old nemesis, P.D. Bridges, the southern boy who doesn’t like slow Yankees with an Australian accent and it was he who I cut out of the pattern and with whom I almost shared a common pile of burning rubble.

Five minutes later having checked in my parachute, I look inside the line shack. P.D. and Earl are nose to nose, except that my instructor is about six inches taller, 50 pounds heavier and who is looking down on a red faced Bridges who is obviously yelling. My protector is saying nothing, and shortly P.D. turns on his heel and leaves.

Earl has a wry smile during the debriefing and after I discuss my maneuvers, Earl says, “By the way, next time you cut someone out of the landing pattern, be sure he’s shorter than me. I’m a lover, not a fighter.”

Back in the barracks before supper, I look at my log book and realize that I have just passed 100 hours of flight time and in an airplane which 15 years ago would have been considered a high performance machine.

And I am sad knowing that neither my mother nor father will ever know their grown up son.

How To Get That Job In Aviation 1954

Saturday morning at the Insurance Company of North America, Australian Home Office, Spring Street, Sydney.

"Strewth, what a day. If I wasn't working I could'a done my grocery shopping at King's Cross before the rush, now it'll be off the tram, into the deli before it closes at two, back on the tram and hope there's something goin' on tonight in Bondi. Hope I've got time to hit the Pitt Street Rhineskeller Wine Shop for a jug."

Just the three of us: Crazy Kath Sherlock in her gray Red Cross uniform, sucking Cure 'Em Quicks, and that new honey, Judy Stutchbury who won't even give me the time o'day. Y'know, the other day I asked her to type some stuff and she said that it wasn't her job? Who the heck does she think she is? I've been here longer than she has, and besides, isn't that what the girls are supposed to do?

Who's this at the door?

"Yes, madam, you want to renew your Household policy? Do you have the renewal slip?"

"No? Not a bother at all. Now what is that address again?"

Go to the ledger, find the address, find the policy number, go to the pending folder. Let's see, City Account? She must be one of our agents' shirt-tail rellies getting the 15% discount.

Good, she's done and gone.


God, 2 hours till I get off at 1 o'clock. I'll read the Herald want ads.

Needs Mechanics' HelpersPositions at Mascot AerodromeGood working conditions.Interviewing today at Wentworth House 10.00 am until 4.00 PM

Hmm. Wonder what Mechanic's Helpers do?

If I was in aviation, maybe Polly would let me take her out to the flicks instead of up the hill to St Patrick's to Confession where I know she confesses fooling with her court reporter boyfriend. She only takes me along as 'cover'.

(Wentworth House is no longer standing, but it was just across the street from Polly's weekly confessional and it was the headquarters of QANTAS Empire Airways, Australia's locally grown, aerial connection with the outside world. Probably because of Australia's dedication to the British Empire and her assistance to General Douglas McArthur's drive to defeat the Yellow Peril, Australia had been granted a round-the-world route. QANTAS had been flying the U.S. built Lockheed Super Constellation: Sydney, Darwin, Singapore, Delhi, Cairo, and the long leg to London. Then, London to New York, nonstop to San Francisco, Honolulu, Nandi and Sydney.)

I look for the Employment Office but instead find a sign, 'Interviews' and nearby a varnished, glass enclosed office with an old coot reading the Saturday Daily Telegraph with his feet propped up on a empty desk.

This is aviation?

"Sir, is this where you're hiring mechanics helpers?"

Bill Grove, Maintenance Foreman of Hangar 85 at Mascot, takes a look at me in my blue, double-breasted, tailor-made suit, white shirt and Windsor knotted club tie and wonders what the hell I'm doing there, but it's a slow, late, spring afternoon and there are no other applicants lined up.
"Yairs, son. Come on in."

Bill is a balding, stocky, middle-aged man dressed in a nondescript plaid suit which is not near the cut of mine. He too is having a boring day, seconded by the Personnel Department to do interviews as Saturday is their day off and managers don't get overtime.

We talk father to son stuff. His son is attending Scotts College, a GPS school at the west end of Rose Bay, where I am, at great expense, currently subletting and sharing a house.

"Why would you want to be a mechanic's helper?" asks Bill.

My enthusiasm has always been a door opener and it flows out to open this unexpected portal.

"Well sir, I've always wanted to get into aviation, in fact, it's really my first love."

This was not totally untrue as I had been the class 'drawrer' since 1st grade and could draw the best aeroplanes and rocket ships ever to adorn the covers of my mates' exercise books. I regularly buy and devour a weekly periodical from England, "The Aeroplane", and if I can afford "Flight", I buy it too. The smell of airplanes in a hangar is totally intoxicating. I dream of layovers on Pacific islands exploring abandoned Japanese Army fortifications and tunnels finding souvenirs of the war I have only read about. I also dream about 'hosties' like Pauline and how they get all gooey when talking about pilots.

"Well, you look as though you could do the job, but frankly it's a greasy, sweaty job cleaning parts that have been taken off our Connies and I don't think it would interest you for more than a week or two. But, I tell you what, if you can afford a tool box and a pair of overalls, I'll take you under my wing and see that you stay out of trouble. I need someone to work just outside my office door to take care of the Maintenance Manuals and tag the airplane parts that the mechanics have removed for repairs. When I can find them, the apprentices aren't interested and do a lousy job and the mechanics hate paperwork."

I don't have a clue as to what 'take me under his wing' means but he seems to be a straight bloke and just may have my interests at heart. Perhaps it's the Riverview/Scotts College connection - both are members of the elite Great Public Schools of New South Wales and I am after all, a Riverview bloke. Well, kind of.

I lie about my age and he doesn't seem to care. The better wages start at age 21, so for QANTAS purposes, I'm 21.

"You may have to live closer to Mascot. Do you have a bike, or a car?"

He knew I do have a tool box, but a car? A motor bike? Last time I saw my push bike, it was a year ago and it was leaning against the wall of the Public Bar of the Commercial Hotel in Gunnedah. Who knows which drunk had ridden it home.

"Ah, no I don't, but I can get one!"

"Righto then, you can start in a coupla weeks. I'll set it up. Keep your mouth shut, or tell anyone who asks that you worked in Clegg and Tyrell's Gunnedah Garage instead of working in the Parts Department. When you start, I'll check your tool box over so's no-one will question it. By the way, you'll have to join the Union and you might consider taking the evening classes at Ultimo Technical College."

I leave Wentworth House flying just a little higher than those Connies I hope see in two weeks.

Little did I know that this would be the beginning of a career in aviation which lasted over 40 years.