Tag Archives: WWII

Surviving WWII bomber pilot awarded highest French military honour

Posted December 08, 2015 14:39:29

WWII veteran Godfrey Flack with the French Legion of Honour Photo: Godfrey Flack, a former WWII Lancaster bomber pilot, flew 40 bombing missions over Germany in the early 1940s. (ABC News: Peta Carlyon)
Map: Hobart 7000

A 94-year-old Tasmanian war veteran has been presented France’s highest military award, the Legion of Honour, in an emotional ceremony in Hobart.

Godfrey Flack flew allied Lancaster bombers over Germany during World War II in more than 40 missions, at a time when it was considered almost impossible to survive so many combat operations.

Many of Mr Flack’s comrades survived only a handful of missions and never returned.

In a moving ceremony at the Hobart Town Hall, the French Ambassador to Australia, Christophe Lecourtier, paid homage to Mr Flack’s service as “an adolescent youth” at 20 years of age.

“That year, 1944, you entered legend, you became a hero,” he told an emotional Mr Flack.

“You were no longer a fighter, you had become a liberator.

“You were no longer merely a man, but a living symbol of our common values, the spirit of resistance, the spirit of liberty, the spirit of mateship.”

French Ambassador awards the Legion of Honour Photo: French Ambassador to Australia Christophe Lecourtier awards the Legion of Honour to Tasmanian war veteran Godfrey Flack. (ABC News: Peta Carlyon)

Mr Flack fought back tears as he accepted the award.

“We only did what we could, for whatever group we could whatever represent, or acknowledge,” he said.

“I will say thank you very much to all the people who have become my friends, and all the people … I ever knew.”

We will need new men and women, just like this one, to defend our values, to defend our communities, and that’s unfortunately a never-ending story.

French Ambassador to Australia Christophe Lecourtier

After the ceremony, Mr Flack recalled growing up in Queenstown and driving trucks while harbouring a deep desire to join the Air Force.

He did not originally go to school or attend university, but eventually completed his studies at the top of his class.

“We’re so proud … people come back from the war, they have their problems and their families have got to deal with it too,” his son Patrick Flack said.

“But he’s been positive for us.

“He’s done for us what he did in the war, nothing’s ever a drama.

“He just looked after us and made us stand up, and be accountable, same as he did.”

Mr Lecourtier said Mr Flack’s exceptional service was a reminder of the challenges France and Australia would continue to face, particularly in light of the recent Paris terror attacks.

“Today’s ceremony resonates in a way with what’s happening in the world, not only in France, because we see that probably, unfortunately, this century is no less dangerous than the previous one,” Mr Lecourtier said.

“We are still united, because of the values that we share, because this value is our inner way at stake.

“We will need new men and women, just like this one, to defend our values, to defend our communities, and that’s unfortunately a never-ending story.”

WWII veteran Godfrey Flack Photo: Tears welled in the eyes of Tasmanian WWII veteran Godfrey Flack as he was awarded the French Legion of Honour. (ABC News: Peta Carlyon)

Topics: world-war-2, history, veterans, defence-and-national-security, awards-and-prizes, human-interest, defence-forces, hobart-7000

Agen Sabung Ayam

Pearl Harbour ceremony unites US and Japanese WWII veterans

Posted December 07, 2015 16:28:49

WWII veterans pour whiskey into Pearl Harbour Photo: Retired US Air Force Colonel Jack DeTour (L) pours whiskey into the Remembrance Nicely aboard the US Arizona Memorial alongside Japanese veteran Shiro Wakita (R) in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Reuters: Hugh Gentry)
Related Story: Last officer from ship sunk at Pearl Harbour dies
Map: Hawaii

Former Globe War II veterans from the United States and Japan have poured whiskey into Pearl Harbour to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the US naval base.

Retired US airman Jack DeTour, 92, and Japanese fighter pilot Shiro Wakita, 88, joined the “Blackened Canteen” service on the eve of the December 7, 1941 attack, which took 2,403 lives and drew the United States into Planet War II.

Standing side by side for the initial time ever, the pair with each other gripped the war-torn metal canteen and poured whiskey into the watery grave of the US Navy ship sunk by Japanese bombers.

Now a symbol of friendship, the scorched war relic was recovered in 1945 in Shizuoka, Japan, following two B-29 US bombers collided overhead.

Colonel DeTour, who now lives in Honolulu, was a young man from Oregon when he joined the military in 1942.

“To know we have this friendship is fantastic. It is fantastic,” Colonel DeTour said.

The recovered canteen of a US B29 bomber pilot on display Photo: The metal canteen is now a symbol of friendship among former enemies, Japan and the United States. (Reuters: Hugh Gentry)

The 23 Americans killed had been buried alongside Japanese citizens who died in the bombing raid on Pearl Harbour in Hawaii.

Located among the wreckage was the blackened canteen, filled with whiskey, and it was kept in Japan to keep in mind loved ones lost.

Because the 1980s, Japanese residents have regularly brought it to Pearl Harbour for the ceremony aimed at sustaining peace.

Dr Hiroya Sugano, director of the Zero Fighter Admirers’ Club, keeps the canteen in his possession and carries it to the ceremony each and every year because it is a strong symbol.

“The blackened canteen is an inspiration for peace,” Dr Sugano.

There have been no Pearl Harbour survivors amongst the Globe War II veterans attending this year’s canteen ceremony, mentioned Gary Meyers, spokesman for the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbour.

The last surviving officer from the USS Arizona, Joseph Langdell, died on February 4 in California at the age of 100.

An internment service for Langdell, who was a 27-year-old ensign sleeping in quarters on shore when the surprise attack was launched, will take spot at Pearl Harbour on Monday (local time).

Subjects: planet-war-two, history, community-and-society, hawaii, united-states, pacific, japan, asia

Agen Sabung Ayam