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Group Captain Iain Carty, Senior Australian Defence Force (ADF) Officer from RAAF Base Amberley presented Clarence Valley resident and WWII veteran George Smith with a commemorative memento on July 29, honouring him as RAAF centenarian. Image: contributed

Local WWII veteran receives centenarian memento

Emma Pritchard

 

After celebrating his 100th birthday earlier this year, Clarence Valley resident and World War II veteran George Smith enjoyed another distinguished occasion on July 29 when he was presented with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) commemorative memento to honour him as an RAAF centenarian.

Born in Strathblane, Tasmania, on March 1, 1922, Mr Smith grew up on his family’s dairy farm and joined the RAAF as an 18-year-old following the outbreak of WWII.

After qualifying as a flight mechanic, he served as a Fitter 2E on Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawks and spent two years in the tropics including Morotai Island and Labuan after being posted to North Borneo.

He was discharged in 1945.

Following the war, he married Joan Epps in Swan Hill, Victoria, and the couple returned to Tasmania to raise their four children.

The family later relocated to Lighting Ridge where Mr Smith became a hobby opal miner, before journeying to the Clarence Valley 20 years ago.

In 2004, Mr Smith joined the Grafton RSL Sub-branch.

Following the sad passing of his wife in 2017, Mr Smith enjoys spending time with his family members who live locally and was “over the moon” to receive his certificate from Group Captain Iain Carty, Senior Australian Defence Force (ADF) Officer from RAAF Base Amberley during the monthly Grafton RSL sub-Branch meeting last week at the Grafton District Services Club (GDSC).

Mr Smith was accompanied by his daughter and son-in-law Dianne and Stuart Dawson, and four grandchildren.

“He was pretty chuffed,” Mrs Dawson said following the presentation.

“He really enjoyed himself, and he talked about the Kittyhawks he used to work on during the war with just about everyone he spoke to.

“It was a beautiful morning.

“We’re all so proud of him.”

Honorary Secretary of the Grafton RSL Sub-branch Denis Benfield said the presentation was a wonderful recognition of Mr Smith’s service to his country, describing the occasion as a tremendous celebration.

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