Phil Elger's story

Phil Elger enlisted with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in June 1942 in Sydney. After basic training, he sailed to England and was based at Mildenhall, Suffolk. He flew in Wellington and Lancaster bombers as a wireless operator with No 15 Squadron, RAF. He recalled the flimsiness of the Wellingtons. The fabric on the side of the plane was torn away on one mission when they came under anti-aircraft fire.

Phil remembered undertaking a diversionary mission on D-Day to deflect German attention from the landing sites. Some of the missions in which he participated were flown in direct support of the Normandy campaign. He vividly recalled the death of the tail gunner in a later mission during an operation over Antwerp.

Another memorable moment for Phil was being attacked near Berlin by an ME262, one of Germany's new jet fighters.

Phil was discharged on 11 September 1945. After the war, he took up training greyhounds, with some success. He joined the Migrant Workers Accommodation (later the Commonwealth Catering & Accommodation Services) as a purchasing officer. He was encouraged to study accountancy and became the chief accountant of the company, a position in which he remained until his retirement.

Last updated: 17 November 2022

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2022), Phil Elger's story, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 8 June 2023,
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