ANZAC Day, the RAAF and WW2 Commander Grant Lindeman of Lemon Tree Passage

Grant Lindeman DFC with members of his squadron in front of a torpedo.

 

WITH ANZAC Day approaching, it’s probably appropriate to focus on the RAAF, as this year celebrates the centenary of its formation in 1921.

We will also trace the service of a certain Grant Lindeman who retired as a distinguished WW2 commander to become an oyster farmer in Lemon Tree Passage.

Today the RAAF has some 14,000 serving personnel and 309 aircraft.

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It’s hard to believe, but during WW2 the RAAF had 216,000 serving men and women consisting of 76 squadrons and 6000 aircraft.

It was, at the time, the fourth largest air force in the world.

On top of this, the air force suffered the highest number of casualties for its size of any of our armed forces with around 10,000 killed.

Huge numbers of our young fighter and bomber crews perished in the skies over Britain and Germany.

With this as a backdrop in mind we begin our tale of leadership, sacrifice and hardship in the frozen arctic seas.

Convoys carrying vital war equipment were sent to Russia to assist in the war against the Germans.

It was no easy task as the two major ports of Archaengelsk and Murmansk were icebound and only accessible during the brief Arctic summer when the sun never set.

Convoy escort was essential to protect them from German submarines and bombers but one convoy, PQ 17,was left unattended and 24 of the 34 transports were sunk.

An Australian, newly promoted Wing Commander Grant Lindeman, was chosen to lead a squadron of torpedo bombers to Russia to give convoy protection and to train Russian pilots.

He had previously distinguished himself in coastal patrol duties.

It was no easy task as bad weather and navigational problems saw some not make it.

Indeed one of the pilots who ran out of fuel, Jimmy Catanach, (second from left in the photo) was captured and executed by the Nazis.

For outstanding leadership, Lindeman, aged just 28, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

He finished his war service with the rank of Group Captain.

After the war, Grant Lindeman became an oyster farmer at Lemon Tree Passage.

He was a regular guest at the Officers’ Mess at RAAF Williamtown where he was treated with great respect.

Those wishing to know more can borrow a copy of Kristen Alexander’s book ‘Australia’s Few and the Battle of Britain’ from the library service.

The new look Tilligerry RSL will again host an Anzac Day service and details can be found on their website.

 

The Tilligerry RSL Club.

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