Ross Pearson - Ming the Merciless

Running time
1 min 42 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


We went off having qualified with Morse, we went off to Port Pirie to do the gunnery course. That was the home of Ming the Merciless. He was the squadron commander. His word was law, and on church parade and he'd come out on church parade and he'd say, "Well, the Roman Catholic padre is a good scout. From here to the front, off to Mass." "But we're Jews!" I said, "Go."

And of course, at the end of the course, we could qualify for commission. So off we go, mixed batch, Protestants, would be half Roman Catholics, half Jewish, half agnostics. But they'd go. It didn't pay them not go to church parade because you'd get kitchen duty. So whatever your religious beliefs, you tolerated going.

But it was a good course that went up in the Fairey Battles, you should take a prayer before you went up in them, because they were clapped out old planes and then you would fire at a drogue behind. I think I did alright there. One of the gunners shot part of the tail of the plane. Not when I was in it. And so, that was Port Pirie, and you came back from Port Pirie to Sydney for final leave.

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