Former airman London-bound
NEARLY 70 years ago an 18-year-old Steven Flood was filling out forms and taking tests to see if he was fit enough to journey overseas to defend his country.
Just a few weeks ago Mr Flood, now 88, went through "nearly as many" tests and checks to see whether he was fit enough to make the journey to London.
Before it was announced by Minister for Veterans' Affairs Warren Snowdon on Tuesday, Mr Flood had been selected to represent the Australian Government thanks to his Second World War service in Bomber Command.
"It's going to bring back a lot of sad memories as I start to remember more about it, and as more names come to mind," Mr Flood said this week.
He will be among 32 former airmen who will make the journey to attend the Bomber Command memorial on June 28, and participate in several other commemorative services.
Although he didn't know any of his fellow travellers, Mr Flood said in some ways it would be like meeting up with old mates.
"It will be interesting to hear their experiences compared to mine," he said.
"I never thought it would come to this."
Mr Flood flew 30 operational missions, six of which were bombing raids over Berlin, the most heavily defended city in Europe.
"I was a rear gunner in a Lancaster bomber. I remember my first operation was January 5, 1944. My Australian mate, Bob Keating, was also a gunner who had already done quite a few operations," Mr Flood said.
"I was 21 when the war finished.
"All I wanted to do was get home to my family farm on The Granite Belt in Queensland, live the life that I had always expected to live before Hitler got in the way," he said.
Mr Flood returned home and worked as an orchardist and as a manager at the Department of Primary Industries research station at Applethorpe.