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Years Worth Celebrating

Over 80 years ago Bruce Robertson was posted to RAAF Richmond base in June 1942 to join the newly formed 30 Squadron as a wireless operator.

Last week he was the special guest at a big birthday bash at the base on March 27th to celebrate the Royal Australian Air Force’s 103rd birthday with Air Commodore Bradley Clarke and invited guests.

Bruce, who lives in West Pennant Hills is a tad older than the RAAF as he has just turned 104 years old . As President of No 30 Squadron Beaufighter Association he was asked to cut the special RAAF cake with the youngest serving member on the base, Aircraftwoman Danielle Woolard (pictured).

Castle Hill RSL Sub-branch President Cheryl Hill said the reception was held at the Sergeants Mess.

”It was a lovely evening with an ensemble from the Air Force Band providing music for the evening, Bruce was disappointed that no one was dancing. He did a jig on his own.”

Bruce joined the Scottish Regiment in 1937 and was in the militia and was working in radio sales and radio repairs in Angel Place Sydney at the time.

Raaf Richmond - Years Worth Celebrating
Photos courtesy department of defence

In an interview with the Hills to Hawkesbury Community News a few years ago at the age of 102 Bruce said: “I had radio training so that led me to be a Wireless Operator.

“One night, during training in Sydney, while helping to monitor wireless communications he picked up Morse code he couldn’t transcribe.

“I heard some strange signals in my headset and called the Signals Officer over. He got onto the Direction Finding stations and got a fix; they confirmed my original suspicion that it was a Japanese transmission in Kani Code.”

When he volunteered to fight in World War 2 Bruce decided to enlist in the RAAF rather than in the Army because he had fallen in love with airplanes as an 8-year-old when he met aviator Charles Kingsford Smith after his trans-Pacific flight.

During the war he was posted to the newlyformed 30 Squadron based at RAAF Richmond and then headed to New Guinea for two years, where the Beaufighters were involved in Kokoda, Milne Bay and the Battle of Bismarck Sea.

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