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Wings of Destiny

By: Charles Page (950/35834)
Publisher: Rosenberg ISBN:9781877058646

Wings of Destiny takes us beyond Kokoda, and into the skies over New Guinea and fills a significant gap in Australian World War II history.

Wings of Destiny is a life and times style biography of Wing Commander Charles Learmonth, DFC and Bar. As well as being a famous pilot, Charles Learmonth was an incurable romantic, and from his tent in New Guinea, he wrote to his wife Marjorie almost every day. These letters, combined with his diaries and log book, form the basis for much of this book.

Charles Learmonth was involved in the air search for HMAS Sydney, the air war in New Guinea, the Battle of the Bismark Sea, and the tragedy of the Beaufort Bomber accidents. Charles Page takes the reader with Charles Learmonth in his twin-engined Boston attack bomber, She’s Apples. The brave deeds of No. 22 Squadron and its ‘Boston Boys’ are described.

After his return from New Guinea, Charles Learmonth was appointed Commanding Officer of No. 14 Squadron, based at RAAF Pearce, Western Australia. He was killed on 6 January 1944 when his Beaufort bomber crashed into the Indian ocean near Perth. While diving to his death, he radioed vital information that helped solve the mystery of the Beaufort accidents. In recognition of this and his outstanding war record, an airfield in Western Australia was named in his honour. Today, Learmonth Airport is the alternate airport for Perth, and is the gateway to Exmouth, world famous Ningaloo Reef and Coral Bay.

"This is a story that needed to be told" writes Page. "The deeds of Charles Learmonth and the ‘Boston Boys’ deserved more than a shoebox full of aerogrammes held together with rubber bands”.

May 2008


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