From Griffith Review 19; Re-imagining Australia; ed. Julianne Schultz

When I looked at my father, I imagined Australia. In those first memories he is a tall figure in a dark blue uniform: handsome, glamorous and exciting, rather like a movie star father might seem today in the eyes of a four-year-old. As well as energy, he radiates a potent sense of freedom. Freedom as in wide-open spaces and boundlessness.

My Australian father, Brian, was a pilot in the RAF. He had been a World War II ace, a member of the elite Pathfinder squadrons who flew thrillingly low over enemy territory to identify targets and drop marker flares for the laden bombers lumbering up behind. Of all dangerous flying missions, this was surely among the most perilous. Only a handful of those in the first hundred returned. My father was one of those who made it back. He survived the war and remained in the RAF for the next fifteen years: he loved flying jets. Read more…