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Lest We Forget

June, 2001

Flight Sergeant Jack Carroll Woodgate
Pilot

Born at Lithgow, NSW on 21 May 1922, he completed his secondary education at Sydney Boys High School in 1938, and then began part-time accountancy studies. In civilian life, Jack was employed by Tooheys Ltd as a clerk. He enlisted into the Air Force at the age of 19 on 9 November 1941, and received his Flying Badge on 15 October 1942. Jack had nine postings during his short time in the Air Force, the last one was to No. 8 Squadron on 25 September 1943. No. 8 Squadron was based at Vivigani strip on Goodenough Island, Papua New Guinea at this time.

FSGT Woodgate's sister, Mrs Jill Cook, attended his funeral.

 

Flight Sergeant Stewart Ian Drakes
Navigator

Stewart, or Ian to his friends, was born in Lincolnshire, England on 2 April 1924. He moved to Australia with his parents and brother and sister as a child and completed his education at the Busselton State School in Western Australia.

Stewart worked as a clerk in Perth's Post Master General's Department before enlisting into the Air Force at the age of 18, on 20 May 1942. He began his aircrew training on 19 August 1942 and was awarded the Air Observers badge on 7 January 1943. Stewart had nine postings, the last was on 27 September 1943 to No. 8 Squadron, based at Vivagani, Goodenough Island, Papua New Guinea.

Stewart's nephews and niece - Mr Ian Robertson, Mr Michael Robertson and Mrs Christine Brookes - all attended his funeral.

[Stewart's brother was also killed in action serving in the Army during WW II.]

 

Flying Officer Geoffrey Stewart Wells
Wireless/Air Gunner

Geoffrey Stewart Wells was born in Melbourne on 1 February 1923. After completing his education at the Ballarat College he worked as a bank clerk before enlisting into the Air Force at Ballarat at the age of 19, on 27 February 1942. He began aircrew training shortly after his enlistment and was awarded the Wireless Badge on 9 December 1942 and the Air Gunner Badge on 7 January 1943. He was commissioned with the rank of PLTOFF on 16 April 1943 and promoted to FLGOFF on 7 July 1943. Geoffrey had nine postings, the last was on 25 September 1943 to No. 8 Squadron, based at Vivagani, Goodenough Island, Papua New Guinea.

Geoffrey's brother, Mr Frank Wells, and his nephew, Geoffrey Wells, attended the funeral.

 

Flight Sergeant Byron Veitch Maclean
Wireless/Air Gunner

Bryon Veitch Maclean was born at Rockhampton on 2 April 1921. He completed his education at Scots College, Warwick, Queensland and worked as a jackaroo before enlisting into the Air Force at the age of 20 on 20 July 1941. He commenced aircrew training shortly after and was awarded the Wireless Badge on 29 April 1942 and the Air Gunner Badge on 28 May 1942. Byron had seven postings, the last was on 5 April 1943 to No. 8 Squadron, based at Vivigani, Goodenough Island, Papua New Guinea.

FSGT Maclean was awarded the British Empire Medal on 3 May 1943 for displaying devotion to duty and courage of a high order in entering a blazing aircraft and saving the life of one of the crew and preventing the body of the other from being incinerated. His action was worthy of the highest praise.

Byron's brother, Ken, sister-in-law Marian and his niece, Jan Michell and her husband, John, travelled to Rabaul to attend his funeral but unfortunately his other brother, Hector, and his wife were unable to attend.

[Hector and Ken also lost another brother in the war. He was Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Hamilton Murray Maclean, DFC, who was killed in action on 5 March 1945 aged 27. He is buried at Leopoldsburg War Cemetery, Belgium.]