Bill Purdy, veteran, served with Bomber Command

Running time
1 min 30 sec
Date made
Place made

The 3-nine-39 radio and video series tells the untold stories of veterans, widows and family members from the Second World War.


And then as a result, Australia is also at war. 3-nine-39, the day the war became real for Australians.

Ray Martin:

I’m Ray Martin. September the 3rd, 1939 sees Australia enter the Second World War. Around a million people enlist, out of a population of just 7 million.

Bill Purdy, now 96, is one of them. Bill joins bomber command and fly’s 37 bomber raids against the enemy. Somehow avoiding the very high risk of being shot down and killed.

It’s on one of those missions that Bill Purdy’s war becomes very real.

Bill Purdy:

The on time that we were hit, on three separate occasions by flack. And at the same time, we were attacked by a night fighter, which put this row of holes just in front of the rear turret. And when we worked out what had happened to us, the poor old aircraft was like a colander. It was filled with holes, here there and everywhere.

My bomber had a little strip taken off the back of his neck. The navigator had a piece that came down through the roof, straight through his boggle charts and buried itself in his desk. And the only piece of armour plate was about two feet just behind the pilot and that had a great dent in it. It was all a matter of luck basically.

Ray Martin:

Bill Purdy is one in a million as we remember the Second World War 80 years on.

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