Robert (Bob) Macintosh was born in Nowra, New South Wales, and enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in October 1951. After completing initial training, Bob arrived in Iwakuni, Japan, in April 1953, before being posted to No. 77 Squadron in Korea in May 1953. Based at Kimpo, Bob served as a fighter pilot in a ground attack role.
One night, soon after he arrived in Korea, Bob heard a light aircraft approach; asking after the noise Bob was assured by one of the sergeant’s that it was a British Auster aircraft. Shortly after being given this reassurance Bob heard a large explosion and air raid siren. Rushing out of bed and into an air-raid trench he found a warrant officer from his tent already in the trench, who explained ‘It didn’t sound like an Auster to me’. This was Bob’s first encounter with Bed Check Charlie.
Thinking of his service in Korea, Bob thinks the relationship between the ground staff and aircrew was particularly close. He recalls that the aircrew appreciated the enormous efforts of the ground crew, who ‘worked their insides out to provide the best possible fighting machine’.
Just before the armistice one of Bob’s close friends was killed in an aircraft accident; it was then that Bob realised the importance of mateship.
Returning to Australia in November 1953, Bob continued to serve as a pilot in Australia. In 1956 he undertook a flying instructor course and served as a flying instructor until he again saw service overseas – first with No. 5 Squadron in Malaysia in 1965, then in Vietnam with No. 9 Squadron from June 1966 until February 1967. For his service in Vietnam, Bob was awarded a Mention in Dispatches and in 1969 he was awarded the Air Force Cross. Bob retired from the RAAF in December 1978 with the rank of Wing Commander.