The children of Edward LJ “Ted” Anderson knew he had served in the air force. But because, like so many returned servicemen, he didn’t talk of his experiences they didn’t know much about what he did.
But when Ted passed away in 1995, the family discovered a treasure trove of photographs, newspaper clippings and medals, as well as his flying log book, prompting an insatiable curiosity about his exploits.
Ted’s daughter Wendy encouraged her husband, former bank manager John Nunn, who was looking for stimulating ways to spend his retirement, to research her father’s time as a pilot in the air force during the Second World War.
The result is a new book, A Kind Of Hero, by John R Nunn, which will be launched on Wednesday, September 10, at the Coolum Beach Library at 10am.
John became fascinated with following Ted’s story around the world.
He came across many other people doing research about their relatives in the same squadron as Ted, and they exchanged stories that they knew about their relatives.
Ted Anderson joined the air force in 1940, and rose to the rank of flight lieutenant, receiving the distinguished Flying Cross and distinguished Flying Medal for his heroic deeds.
After training in Australia and Canada, the young pilot was sent to England to fly for RAF Bomber Command and he survived raids over Europe.
Ted was selected to fly a bomber to a Middle Eastern location and flew missions to attack Rommel’s tanks, fighting German Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighters. He was hit many times by fire from enemy planes.
After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour and Darwin, Ted’s squadron was relocated to Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka.
During April 1942 Ted, with eight other planes, was sent to repel the mighty Japanese fleet in the Bay of Bengal, fighting off Japanese Zeros in the process. Only four of the nine planes returned.
Ted escorted one of his mates back to base but they both crash landed because their planes had been badly shot up.
Ted had been writing to Rita Stokes, a nurse from Western Australia, who was the sister of one of his air force mates. They eventually became engaged by correspondence.
After four years overseas, Ted returned to Australia and met the girl he was engaged to during a 10-hour stopover in Fremantle.
Ted continued in the air force until the end of the war and married Rita in November 1945.
John now has the writing bug and has plans for another book: a work of fiction.
If you want to attend Wednesday’s book launch, phone the library on 5446 3122 or John on 5446 5038.
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