Brian Winspear's story

Brian Winspear joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on 06 December 1940.

A year later, while flying to Darwin over the Northern Territory, Brian was listening to the radio and heard the news that Japanese planes had attacked Pearl Harbor. He recalled everybody being totally unprepared for the war initially.

Brian was attached to No 2 Squadron RAAF as a wireless air gunner. He flew in Lockheed Hudson light bombers.

From Darwin, No 2 Squadron sent detachments to Ambon and Timor, but these were withdrawn in the face of the rapid Japanese drive southward.

Brian vividly recalled the first bombing of Darwin in which he received shell splinters in his hand and eye. He was sent on a reconnaissance mission to Timor a day after the bombing, when came under anti-aircraft fire from the Japanese fleet that was landing troops on Timor.

One time, Brian was part of a crew that had to fly a damaged Lockheed Hudson south for repairs. The trip took him to Oodnadatta, Adelaide and Melbourne. He remembered the kindness people afforded them as service men.

Later in the war, No 2 Squadron was moved to Balikpapan in Borneo, where it operated against enemy shipping. Later, it took part in the dropping of supplies to liberated prisoner of war (POW) camps.

After the war, Brian returned to Tasmania and was discharged from the RAAF on 26 November 1945.

Last updated: 20 March 2023

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2023), Brian Winspear's story, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 10 June 2023,
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