Kandos and Rylstone History P.31
Jim Nolan began his career in 1949-50 at the RAF Base Changi with 38th Sqn, dropping supplies for troops in the jungle. His promotions up the RAF Base brought his life in 1959 to Singapore, where he trained bombers at Butterworth Air Base in Malaya with the 2nd Sqn. His last tour in 1967 to 1969, was with Mac fighters from Williamtown Newcastle at Butterworth. Jim was discharged in March 1970 from Nepean at Government House, Sydney. That’s where Jim was presented the swag of medals in the photo above.
The far left medal is the British Empire (MBE) for services to the Australian Army,
The second from left the British War Services Medal,
Next with the navy blue, khaki and light blue ribbon is the Australian War Services Medal, Next Malaya War Service Medal, 35-75 Australian Active Services Medal, Papua New Guinea, Malaya, Borneo, Korea and Vietnam.
Next is the Malaya General Services Medal.
And the final one with the purple ribbon is the Good Conduct Medal for 15 years service to the Australian Army. (“That represents 15 years of undetected crime,” Jim joked. “And the one with the blue and white ribbon, the British Medal, they called the EBM, Every Bastard’s Medal,” he laughed.)
We were dropping supplies for troops in the jungle with Dakotas (airplane). They called them the biscuit bombers.
After I left there I came back to Australia. Then they shipped me to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaya now. And they operated from there for several years before they dispersed the company and came back. But I set up the Electric Set up at Butterworth. This was a large project. It was Large Charter Aircraft. We got these aircraft and plants and moved them through to Australia. We made aircraft as an industry. We made Sabre aircraft for the Americans, Lincoln Bombers that were better than Caribou and lots of war time aircraft. Out of scrap and they were far better than the originals.
During my time I was a Warrant Officer and I was posted up there to set up for electrical set ups. I had 150,000 personnel, electrical personnel under me at Wellington. I set up the work shops for the move to Butterworth, then back to the administration building and I set up for fly away shops, spares on a trip to Malaya. They would stop to refuel and change a box of stores that they would refill and different studs and post to Malaya.
I have a photograph of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and myself and others on the steps of the plane on the Queen’s Flight on the Royal Tour of Australia in 1954. When they arrived back from Essendon. I don’t know why I was chosen. I was away from the 86th Transport Group at 22sqn and only came back to search around because of the Government. They told me to go back to the 86th where I was put in charge of the electrical work and I could select anyone I wanted to go anywhere in Australia. It was over three or four months. We went to Tasmania and we took bunches of Lincoln Bombers up the Islands and a couple of missiles to Broom, and also the pilot and crew. It was such a success. It was designed in Australia by Australian engineers. I’d say 400 of them. It was amazing to see.
Leonie cut in to say she is going to record a poem some time in the future.
“We have had a very privileged life really. With wonderful things happening to us.”
And a rapid promotion. I went from Leading Aircraftsman to Engineer at the 30th sqn. A veteran working under me was a Corporal and they had a long wait to be a Leading Aircraftman. I didn’t have to wait long for that. Approximately every two years I was promoted, but when I became a Flight Sergeant, I had to wait fifteen years. I had to wait for someone to leave the establishment.
I was 18 when war broke out. I had just started my apprenticeship. I joined up at the end of the war in 1944. Most of my service evolved after the war and entailed getting the world back into ship shape.
My original number was 165584 when the war started, but when the Korean War started in 1950, they changed our regimental numbers. I then became 02804. ‘O’ was airman, ‘2’ was NSW and I was the 804th member in the air force in NSW.
We were in Malaya in 1949 and when the Korean war started, they split the sqn in half. We had eight Caribous in Changi. They sent four across to Japan to help in the Korean War and we stayed in Changi.
Leonie said Malaya was an ‘emergency’ or ‘conflict’ and it continued during the Korean War and carried on for about 10 years.
Women at Home
Leone Nolan was a child during WW2. Leone has vivid memories of being home during the war while her father was away fighting. She remembers the class discrimination between the poor soldiers’ families who had to live on soldier wages, and the richer families whose men stayed behind in protected industries, thought to be earning big money.
Leone ‘got one up’ on the rich children by taking chewing gum to school, which her father brought to her when he came home on leave. Chewing gum was a rare commodity that even rich kids could not obtain. It made the rich kids green with envy about her for a change, rather than the other way around.
Leone remembers knitting socks at 4 years of age for the war effort.
She knitted many many garments, and the wartime knitting started off a hobby that has travelled with Leone into her grandmother years, as she knits very detailed patterned jumpers for the whole family.
She also remembers making cakes to send away, packing them into tins for the journey.
Leone remembers the thrill of silk underwear, rather than the ordinary calico underwear most people had to wear.
Her father smuggled home a silk parachute, which made the whole family a lot of underwear – a lot softer than calico.
These were the hard days, when every piece of clothing was ‘made over’ (remade into new clothes) and nothing was wasted.
Much of Leone’s clothing was made over from her mother’s and other family members clothing.
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