The preacher was a serving soldier who is about to commence formation for the role of Army Chaplain.
He asked us last week to bring along photos of serving members of our families and any other memorabilia.
I contributed a framed montage relating to my father - photo in uniform, campaign medals and badges, colour patches etc.
I also dug around in our home library and found a collection of photographs taken in all campaigns of WW I.
Looking at them was an experience in itself. Talk about another time and a totally different world to today.
The destruction and devastation was very sobering, especially when we realise that the same carnage is taking place today in Syria.
In the foyer of our church is a brass plaque contributed by the parents of a young man who was a member of a Pathfinder squadron of the RAF. His parents are long gone and very few members of the congregation are aware of his story so I looked it up on the AWM website and found out that he was featured in one of the Last Post services and that there is video footage available. I let the preacher know and he read out his story as part of the service.
This is his story
Lindsay Page Bacon, another young man of great promise who sacrificed himself for a cause, denying himself long life, a successful career, marriage, children and grandchildren. Such men ( and women) deserve to be remembered long after the relatives who knew them are gone.Story delivered 16 March 2015
Today we pay tribute to Flying Officer Lindsay Page Bacon, who was killed in the service of the Royal Air Force in 1945.
Born in Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, on 25 January 1924, Lindsay Page Bacon was the son of Victor Frederick Bacon and Emily Bacon. Victor was a veteran of the First World War, having served in the AIF with the 34th Battalion.
A top student, Lindsay Bacon studied engineering at the University of Sydney. He also played football and tennis, and served in the Sydney University Regiment of the Militia.
Bacon enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1942 at the age of 18. He attended the Radio School and qualified with the rank of pilot officer. His sister, Kathleen Bacon, served on Malta as a sister in the British Army Nursing Service. His brother, Lance Corporal Wesley Bacon, served in the Second Australian Imperial Force and was present for seven months of the siege of Tobruk.
In August 1943 Lindsay Bacon embarked for overseas service. As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, he was one of almost 16,000 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers who joined Royal Air Force squadrons throughout the course of the war.
In Britain he undertook further specialist training before being posted in December 1944 to No. 622 Squadron, Royal Air Force. Part of Bomber Command, the squadron flew the four-engine Avro Lancaster heavy bomber.
Bacon flew a full tour with No. 622 Squadron and in February 1945 was posted to No. 7 Squadron, a specialist Pathfinder squadron.
Like Bacon, many of the crews of Pathfinder squadrons were highly experienced airmen, and Bacon himself had flown more than 40 missions over Germany.
On 18 March the Lancaster in which Bacon was pilot was badly damaged during a raid and caught fire. Bacon pleaded with his crew to bail out, but they were determined to stick together; fortunately, their Lancaster pulled through and returned home safely.
Two days later, returning from a raid on Recklinghausen in Germany, the Lancaster was again badly damaged and caught fire over Zuid Belevand in Holland.
Watching the bomber from the ground was a group of British commandos from the 4th Commando Brigade. They saw Bacon’s bomber on fire and losing altitude. Bacon managed to control the aircraft long enough to avoid crashing into a town, before the engine exploded and the Lancaster dove into a field. The fire was immense, and Bacon and each of his six British crewmates were killed. He was 21 years old.
The bodies were later recovered by the commandos and all seven crewmembers were buried at the scene, next to the wreckage of their aircraft. They were later reburied in the Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery in the Netherlands.
One of the British commandos found on Bacon’s body a letter from Bacon’s mother and wrote to the address to alert Bacon’s family to his fate. In doing so he added that the townsfolk:
"highly appreciate the great sacrifice which the gallant crew made, and were caring for the graves of the men who sacrificed their lives, that their town might be saved." Bacon’s name is listed here on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with around 40,000 other Australians killed in the Second World War.
This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Flying Officer Lindsay Page Bacon, and all of those Australians – as well as our Allies and brothers in arms – who gave their lives in the hope for a better world.
Dr Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section
I have two uncles in the same category. Both were killed before I was born; one by the Japanese advancing on Singapore and the other in a plane crash over Nigeria. Like Bacon, he was serving with the RAF.
I have visited one uncle in Krangi War Cemetery, Singapore, but will ever be able to travel to the other grave. There are no descendants of with man but I have kept their memory alive in our family.
On Wednesday I will be thinking of all the fallen, especially the ones who died childless. May their stories be told so that we remember them all.
LEST WE FORGET.