Bill Deane-Butcher

‘None of those pilots escaped their duty.’

22 June 2020

Today we remember Bill Deane-Butcher, who was the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) doctor at Milne Bay in New Guinea in 1942. Bill never forgot just how determined our pilots were for victory.

Bill Deane-Butcher — None of those pilots escaped their duty.

Bill Deane-Butcher audio file (MP4 23.86 MB)

Bill Deane-Butcher audio script

75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War

Audio actuality

“Fellow Citizens, the War is over” — The Hon J B Chifley, Prime Minister of Australia

August the 15th marks the 75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War. Around one million Australians enlisted from a population of just seven million. Australia Remembers Bill Deane-Butcher, who was the RAAF doctor at Milne Bay in New Guinea in 1942. It was there that the Japanese suffered their first land defeat in the war.

Bill never forgot just how determined our pilots were for victory.

None of those pilots escaped their duty. They would go out under terrible conditions — sometimes flying with gastro-enteritis. And, I mean, it was running down their legs and filling their flying boots. The ground staff would have to clean up the terrible mess in the cockpit from people who were flying when they were sick.

Bill Deane-Butcher

Dr Deane-Butcher witnessed some horrific sights.

Now there was a pilot with his aircraft on fire, who was trying to get back, and as he got to the runway, he tried to get height to bail-out. And I was underneath him. I watched him coming down and … the chute streamed out, but he didn’t have time for it to flare. And he hit, and of course he was crumpled to death straight away. I was horrified, cause it was only ten yards in front of me.

Saturday, August 15 marks the 75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War. Let’s pay our respects to that amazing generation of Australians.

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