John Gowing – Managing Director of Gowing Bros Ltd. Holding a photo of his Father: Ted Gowing, WWII.
My Father Ted Gowing, joined the army pretty much on the day war was declared. He would have preferred to join the Air Force as a Fighter Pilot however he was deemed to old being 25 at the time. However due to the appalling casualties during the Battle of Britain the age limit was lifted to 25 so Dad resigned his commission with the AIF and joined the Air Force.
Following training at Narromine and in Canada as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, he eventually ended up in the UK with 20 other successful Australian Flight Sergeants. Of that 21 young men, only 2 returned to Australia.
For a period of time Dad was assigned to convoy duty. This meant you needed to attach long range tanks to your aircraft and fly out to the extreme limit of your fuel, circle the convoy then fly home. The catch was of course if you encountered the enemy you needed to ditch your tanks and engage them. When you then ran out of fuel you had to ditch in the North Sea and hope someone from the convoy would pick you up.
I find it hard to imagine how brave it must have been for someone to fly out every morning knowing that there was a real chance that you would not return. My Father along with so many other brave men and women put their lives on the line for Australia every day, to protect our way of life, and to fight against a great evil that was threatening to engulf the world.
Whenever I am feeling down or finding a challenge too hard I think of the great sacrifice so few made for so many, and realise my problems are really trivial.
My Mother Barb also joined the armed services as a Physiotherapist, Lieutenant Barbara Crago. They were engaged before the war but decided not to marry as Dad felt there was a real risk he would not return. After 5 years away with little communication, they were married very soon after Dad’s safe return to Australia.