A timber worker, my Uncle Ivor enlisted in the RAAF in October 1941 at Traveston, near Gympie, Queensland.
Like many at the time he posted to various training units including 3ITS, 3WAGS, and 1BAGS training on the de Havilland Tiger Moth, Fairey Battle and later, overseas, the Vickers Wellington and Avro Lancaster.
Deployed on the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) he spent time at Myles Standish in the United States before posting to the United Kingdom, serving, among others, at Moreton Hall, Fulbeck and finally with No. 207 Squadron Royal Air Force (RAF) at RAF Spilsby in Lincolnshire.
Uncle Ivor’s log book indicates he participated in 20 operations and on his second last operation damaged a Junkers Ju 88 in flying combat.
His log book records a simple “A/C Failed To Return” on operation number 20 conducting Operations to Berlin.
Buried today in the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Berlin, he has been my inspiration to serve and for my whole life he has been a focus for me on the price so many paid to serve Australia.
Ivor Fredric Chalmers was 32 years old when he died.
The pilot of his aircraft, Lancaster LM366 EM-H, was 21 years of age. I think we tend to assume that all those lost in World War 2 were young but Uncle Ivor’s story shows how age was not a criteria for service. It was a very different time and everyone stood up to do their duty as we have seen from the small sample of the 350, 000 stories told by the Air Force 2021 project.
Every Air Force member's story is important and it is sad that everyone's service and sacrifice cannot be recorded in books and film; but the hundreds of War Memorials across the country give us a place to remember and reflect on the contributions of past and present Air Force people.
My Air Force Family is now another avenue for each of us to record the story of the people who have inspired us to serve in the RAAF and to whom we will always be grateful for their service and sacrifice, that we may live a free life.
Uncle Ivor was one of six men from his family who served in the War, two with the Army and the rest, including my father, who served in the RAAF. (Dad was a mechanic with 76SQN at Milne Bay).
As long as I can remember I have attended Remembrance Day ceremonies to remember Uncle Ivor and I will always be grateful that, because of my service, I was able to visit his resting place in Berlin and leave a poppy on his headstone, to let him know he is not forgotten and that he has my enduring gratitude for his sacrifice.
I hope my service is a small payment against a debt I can never repay.
Lest We Forget.
Tell us about a special person who made - or is making - an impact in the Royal Australian Air Force here.