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23 April, 2021

Roy grateful for air force memories

ROY Hartman OAM has been attending Anzac Day events for nearly half a century and this year will be no exception as he lays a wreath on the cenotaph at the Cairns Anzac Day service on Sunday.

“ANZAC day means a lot. It brings back memories, of what you’ve done and where you’ve been,” he said.

Mr Hartman joined the air force in 1951 at age 18 and served throughout Australian in the Number 10 Squadron.

He was posted to Singapore in September 1954 where he worked as an engine fitter on Lincoln heavy bomber aircraft with the Number One Squadron.

Australian forces were supporting Britain’s campaign to quell a guerrilla uprising by the communist Malayan National Liberation Army at the time.

“I was there for 18 months and it very interesting. I was single and it was a completely different life because of living in Malaya, as it was then, it was totally different world.

“Back in 1954 it was pretty rough and ready I can tell you!” He returned to Australia in 1955 where he was posted at Amberley. In 1957 he left the air force and moved to Cairns with his wife, and worked as Assistant Station Master for the railway for six years and also spent more than 23 years in the Air Training Corps.

He said his time in the Air Force was a positive experience.

“I was sorry that I had to leave it. It was six wonderful years,” he said.

“It was a time in my life that I was never sorry for. I was so pleased and glad and lucky to have served in the Air Force.

“There were a lot of friendships made, and I’m still friends with some of them now.”

Mr Hartman retired at 60 but has remained heavily active in the Air Force Association and the Returned Services League, both of which he is a life member of. “My whole life has been around the RSL and the Airforce Association, trying to assist people if they run into problems with pensions and so on,” he said.

Mr Hartman was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his work with the RSL and the Air Training Corps.

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