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William (Bill) Monaghan

William (Bill) Monaghan

Bill joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in February 1949. He initially trained as an Engine Fitter and worked on a range of aircraft then in service. With the advent of the Korean War, Bill’s sixth application for pilot training was successful and he graduated as a sergeant pilot at Point Cook in November 1952.

On completion of his fighter conversion course at Williamtown in May 1953, Bill was posted to Iwakuni, Japan, in April for Gloster Meteor conversion. Bill was then posted to No. 77 Squadron, operating in the strike role out of Kimpo Airbase near Seoul, capital of South Korea, where he served from 20 May to 20 November 1953.

During Bill’s thirty-six year career he developed a deep respect for the dedication and skill of the squadron’s ground crew. He was proud to be an Australian in an international environment and remembers fondly friendships with local Korean staff and the American allies with whom the Australians shared the base.

In the years following the Korean War Bill served in a number of fighter units flying Meteors, Vampires, Sabres and Mirages in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. His postings included staff appointments and instructional flying at several RAAF flying training units. With over 6000 flying hours accumulated, Bill retired to Canberra with the rank of Air Commodore. In retirement, he ventured into the furniture business. His military service was recognised with the award of the Air Force Cross in 1964, and he was created a Member of the Order of Australia (military division) in 1975.