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"Ploughshares and propellers" meet on ANZAC day.

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Tuesday, 21 April 2009


“Ploughshares and Propellers” is a comprehensive regional Air Force history that grew from a small start to 560 pages telling the stories of former RAAF members from Kerang and district.

“This was a monumental task driven by Kerang identity and former National Serviceman Bruce Anderson,” Federal Member for Mallee John Forrest said.

“Bruce started in late 2007, putting together the stories of ‘Five Flying Farmers’ who had fought in the two World Wars. The project quickly grew into ‘Ploughshares and Propellers’ when the volume and quality of material was realised.

“He drew together the threads of personal recollections of airmen and women, service diaries, flying log books, web-sites, letters home from training bases in Australia and operational bases overseas, press cuttings, memorabilia and photos. Bruce was assisted by the Kerang and District RSL Sub Branch and a Federal ‘Saluting our Service’ grant.

“There were many visits to farms and homes to interview ex-RAAF members, some of whom had already written of their own experiences, the pilots, mechanics, navigators, engineers, wireless operators, bomb aimers, gunners, a bull dozer operator, drivers, clerks, and an intelligence officer, as well as relatives of those who had passed on.

“Thirty-two airmen and women authors contributed their own chapters and the other 52 were written or gathered by family members of those ex-service personnel who had passed on. One chapter is devoted to ‘letters home’ between an airman and his WAAF wife. They had passed on and their family knew nothing of their RAAF service.

“Bruce said some of the airmen he interviewed had already recorded their experiences, and others had been quite reserved. In time, even the reluctant ones opened up, and then families who thought they had nothing, found long-lost documents, the reason ‘Ploughshares and Propellers’ is such a valuable record for future generations.

“I commend this book as a wonderful Kerang community project which will make a very good read for future generations,” Mr Forrest said.

Mr Forrest can be contacted on 0428 500 186.

John Forrest MP The Nationals Member for Mallee

Phone (03) 5021 5987 Fax (03) 5023 3274