Andy Anderson's story
Andrew 'Andy' Anderson joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in Perth in March 1942.
Andy went to the United Kingdom, where he was posted to No 10 Squadron, flying Sunderlands out of Mount Batten near Plymouth.
Andy recalled that packets of gum leaves were sometimes posted to squadron members from relatives in Australia. Then there would be a ceremonial burning of the leaves in the mess.
As pilot and aircraft captain, Andy flew anti-submarine and convoy escort missions in the Bay of Biscay and the western approaches to Britain from December 1943 to the end of the war in Europe, in May 1945.
Andy noted that flying-boats were rarely subject to fire from the land, but told of a mission when he experienced just this. He was ordered to fly up the Gironde River, north of Bordeaux in France, to gather intelligence on enemy shipping in the docks. He was told the French Resistance would ensure he had nothing to fear from German fire. So it seemed until the Sunderland, having photographed the docks, turned for home. The Germans opened up. Andy took the aircraft down to low altitude at full throttle and weaved his way out to the open sea.
Andy left the RAAF in February 1946. He flew for Australian National Airlines for several years then transferred to a British airline. Until 1982, he flew commercial aircraft in Europe, North America, South America and the Middle East. Andy retired from flying in 1982, first to run a restaurant, then to take up avocado farming.