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February 11, 2021

Alan Buxton, one of our most prominent centenarians

RSL LifeCare congratulates Alan Buxton, one of our most prominent centenarians, for his outstanding service to the Royal Australian Air Force and his community.

Alan Buxton, one of RSL LifeCare’s most prominent centenarians, turned 100 in December 2020. RSL LifeCare congratulates Alan on his service to the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF) as well as to the Rowland Village, Galston community. Alan has many interesting stories to tell about both his life and career experiences as he rose to the rank of Flying Officer in the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force).

The best thing about the service was when I was posted on the famous 617 Squadron which is recognised as the most elite squadron. This consisted of flying in Lancasters and travelling to the Dutch Coast and Bergen in Norway where we had special targets such as E-boat pens, railway yards, bridges, viaducts, canals, oil fields, V2 rocket sights with the Tallboy (12000ls) and the Gran Slam (22000lbs) bombs.

Alan joined the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in June 1940 and then transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in November 1942.

After several highly impressive campaigns, Alan rose to the rank of Flying Officer in the RAAF. He served in the Middle East in the Syrian campaign, in England on Bomber Commands 617 Squadron (the famous “Dam Busters”) and at the end of the European war, transferred to the Tiger Air Forces 467 Squadron, formed to go to Okinawa to assist with the attack on Japan. This did not eventuate and they returned to Australia.

Alan says “The best thing about the service was when I was posted on the famous 617 Squadron which is recognised as the most elite squadron. This consisted of flying in Lancasters and travelling to the Dutch Coast and Bergen in Norway where we had special targets such as E-boat pens, railway yards, bridges, viaducts, canals, oil fields, V2 rocket sights with the Tallboy (12000ls) and the Gran Slam (22000lbs) bombs.”

A memory forever etched in Alan’s mind was on a night in September 1944, when his final training on a four-engine Stirling Bomber took place. As Alan explains, “We had to bail out because we lost all engines due to fire. Fortunately, we made the coast at Point Clear. It was a very traumatic experience, looking through the open hatch at the pitch blackness and not knowing what was below.”

Once back in Australia, Alan met his future wife, Marie. Alan recalls that he took her to a tennis club in 1938 but did not take her out until a year later, to the Palatial cinema at Burwood, where they watched “If I were a king” starring Ronald Coleman and “Secret Service of the Air”. In 1943, Alan became a father and was discharged in 1946. After being discharged, Alan worked as an accountant until retirement.

It was a very traumatic experience, looking through the open hatch at the pitch blackness and not knowing what was below.

Alan and Marie came to Rowland Village in 1989 and immersed themselves in many community pursuits and activities. Alan has been treasurer of the Residents Committee since its formation and is still involved in Gardening, Finance, Fellowship Prayer and much more.

In addition to his service career and contribution to his community, Alan has 10 grandchildren, 23 Great Grandchildren and six Great, Great Grandchildren.

We celebrate Alan’s 100th year. He is truly an amazing Australian who should be very proud of all his achievements.

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