Temps perdu–Whitfield’s, not Proust’s–1 — 20th century

The first thing to come my way was a special edition of Aero Magazine.

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Now I need to refer you to Closely watched planes 1 and About the Whitfields: loss in my “Specials” archive.

14390 Cpl. Whitfield J. N.
Group 833
RAAF
Pacific
16-2-45

My Darling Wife

I came to work this morning thinking it was just another day, another hot steaming day, after a terrific thunderstorm last night. About nine o’clock a chap came in with some demands that had to be attended to and on dating them the realisation struck me, this was no ordinary day to me, but a very special one, the anniversary of the day when I made my very bestest pal in all the world mine for keeps, for worse or better…

Thus begins a letter from Port Moresby reproduced on the second of those two pages.

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One of my father’s wartime photos

Sadly many more have been lost over the years

Now I am not absolutely sure which squadron my father was in, or if as a “carpenter-rigger” – so described in his discharge papers – who appears to have been involved in salvaging bent aircraft – I have seen a file of correspondence with the higher-ups in the RAAF my father was engaged in, including some recommendations of his that seem to have been adopted – he was attached to several. His discharge papers don’t say. One thing I do know is that he rather specialised in Kittyhawks. 82 Squadron seems a possibility.

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So I was drawn to a photo in that copy of Aero.

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Now the more I look at the guy in the cockpit the more convinced I am that it is my father!

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I guess I will never be sure.

The same issue has this photo of someone I once met and talked with for an hour or more: Richard Cresswell. As I mentioned in “Closely Watched Planes”:

I met Wing Commander Cresswell — as he became — purely by chance one night at the Sydney Intercontinental Hotel in 1988 and had quite a long conversation with him; but that’s another story.

78S

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