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A Navigator's Tale

  • Published: 1 June 2005
  • Author: Roy Shallcross
  • Price: NOT FOR SALE
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Like many other young Australian men of his generation, Roy Shallcross was rescued from a dreary civilian occupation by the coming of the Second World War. Having left school on completing Year 10 to become a junior office clerk, he had attended night classes in accountancy and, by the time the war began, was an accountant for an engineering company.

Roy enlisted in the RAAF in January 1942, volunteering for training as an Air Observer. He graduated at Nhill, with further training in Canada, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and was finally transferred to Ferry Command as navigator of a three-man crew delivering new Wellington bombers to Rabat in French Morocco. After six of these delivery flights over a period of five months, he was posted to No 512 Squadron, Transport Command.

The duty of his squadron was to provide close air support to the army. So Roy took part in the evacuation of casualties from the Normandy bridgehead, later towed a glider to Arnhem and parachuted ammunition to the troops. In 1945, the squadron led the great armada of about 1400 tugs and gliders at the airborne crossing of the River Rhine.

Discharged from the RAAF in August 1945, Roy returned to his pre-war occupation as an accountant. He quickly found this unrewarding, after the excitement of flying, and made his future in manufacturing and marketing of plumbers' brassware.