Veteran awarded medal
WHEN an unexpected registered mail item arrived at Edgar McCulloch’s home in Warwick last week, he was only curious.
The letter contained a commemorative medallion presented to the (almost) 91-year-old war veteran by 75 Squadron, RAAF, the squadron of which he was a foundation member in 1942.
“It was a surprise to receive a letter like this and when I saw the medal, I almost fell over,” he said.
“I am elated, it is an unexpected honour.
“There are only a few original members still alive and only two of us in Queensland, so very few would have received this award.”
In the accompanying letter, Flight Lieutenant Tony McDermott, OAM, said the medallion had been struck by 75 Squadron, Australia’s only remaining World War II RAAF Squadron, to commemorate its involvement in Operation Falconer in 2003.
Australia’s 75 Squadron, along with allied forces, provided air power to assist in the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.
The medallion has the Squadron Crest on the front bordered by the black and white checkers.
On the back is a map of the Middle East with a dot where the squadron was stationed.
The Squadron Crest features an Australian Piping Shrike (magpie) with the motto, “Seek and Destroy”.
Mr McCulloch said the squadron was affectionately known as the Magpies.
“This bird is noted as a belligerent defender of its young with courage to attack even human beings, which is, symbolic of the squadron’s war-time activities,” he said.
“We were formed in New South Wales in 1942 with only a few weeks notice to go to Port Moresby to help defend it from the Japanese.
“Our planes shot down a number of aircraft but, after 44 days, we were sent back to Australia with just one plane still flying.
“We were re-formed with more Kittyhawk P40s up around Kingaroy and then Lowood before heading back to Milne Bay to defend the air fields there,” Mr McCulloch said.