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This immoral act against a decent man diminishes all who pursue it

2 142 0
27.08.2019

The Bristol Beaufighter was flying over the waters off the Netherlands on June 29, 1944, when it spotted two German mine sweepers and 11 smaller boats heading for port.

The two-man torpedo bomber from the “ANZAC Strike Wing” made a wide turn before launching a diving attack from 800 feet. During the strike its starboard engine was damaged and, taking fire from the land, the pilot Edmund Francis Collaery flew parallel to the coast as he prepared to ditch in the sea. Collaery would have liked his chances because he was a strong swimmer and had survived an earlier crash landing in the North Sea.

Pilot Edmund Francis Collaery in the cockpit.

In the minutes after the plane hit the water the navigator, Horace Pearson, swam clear and would report that Collaery seemed to be fighting to free his boots from the pedals as he disappeared below the water. Pearson could not reach his friend and the 29-year-old’s body was never recovered.

Ted’s English wife, Alice, was pregnant when she received word he was missing, presumed dead. Her numerous letters to the Red Cross in the bitter months that followed chart a hope that burned long after her husband was lost.

Her son, Bernard, would be born in October and, a year later, the two were on a ship to a........

© The Age