Dr Ron Houghton joined the RAAF Reserve in 1941 and enlisted in May 1942. After training in Australia he was posted to an Advanced Flying Unit (AFU) in the UK. Following this was a posting to an Operational Training Unit (OTU). Ron particularly recalls the significance of forming a crew at the OTU. The crew built a tight bond, as all members had to ensure they could completely rely on each other in a combat situation. This bond was further intensified on operations.
Ron flew Halifax bombers with No.102 Squadron RAF, and fondly remembers a particular petrol run he undertook from Yorkshire to Brussels after Brussels was liberated. His squadron was tasked with delivering some eighty jerry cans of petrol to the fuel starved British army in Belgium. He recalls the excitement and generosity of the grateful Belgians when they discovered he was part of the Allied forces. On completion of Bomber Command operations, Ron was posted to Fighter Command and flew Spitfires/Hurricanes. Ron continued flying until the end of the war, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in May 1945 for 'skill and fortitude in operations against the enemy'.
At the war's end in 1945, Ron spent time at General Eisenhower's Operation Centre at R.N. Portsmouth. He recalls being awe-struck at the immense amount of time and planning the D-Day landings had required. Upon discharging in November 1945, Ron joined the RAAF Reserve, and soon afterwards was also employed by Qantas, eventually working his way up to executive level. After leaving Qantas, Ron worked with several Asian airlines. He then completed a PhD in aeronautical engineering at Sydney University, eventually becoming an Honorary Associate. Ron currently serves as President of the Bomber Command Association of Australia.
Ron recalls the mateship that formed through the crew's constant contact as 'an extraordinary bond that remains with you through life', and he has kept in touch with his Bomber Command crew throughout the years.