World War II pilot to be remembered

WORLD War II pilot and author Ted Sly will be honoured with a fly-past at the Great Eastern Fly-In at Evans Head on January 12.

Mr Sly, who chronicled his life in his book, The Luck of the Draw, Spitfires, Kittyhawks & RAAF, lived in retirement in Ballina and Byron Bay until his death last month, aged 95, and had been involved in the Great Eastern Fly-In since 2005.

"Ted started coming to the Fly-In in 2005. He asked us to sell his book to raise money for tsunami victims," a Fly-In

Ted Sly in Rhodesia in the 1940s.
Ted Sly in Rhodesia in the 1940s. Contributed

organiser, Gai Taylor, said.

 

"He then came every year. He really loved talking with people, he was very gregarious and really interested in what the pilots were doing.

"He was a great supporter of the conservation of the aerodrome.

"Ted also established the Spitfire Descent Memorial Foundation, and provides a scholarship every year to someone at the Defence Force Academy in Canberra."

According to the website http://www.spitfirebooks.com, Mr Sly joined the 7th Light Horse but was soon persuaded to join the Royal Australian Air Force.

"After training in Rhodesia he went to England and the 452 RAAF Squadron," the website said.

"Ted Sly was fortunate to serve with Bluey Truscott in the UK. Later he flew with Bobby Gibbes in the Western Desert (Desert Airforce) where he flew 22 sorties in Kittyhawks with 450 RAAF Squadron prior to the battle of El Alamein.

"When the Spitfires arrived in Cairo, Ted joined 92 RAF East India Squadron and became a flying partner with Neville Duke, operating together from El Alamein to Tunis.

"Ted then replaced Neville as a Flight Commander for the invasion of Italy. Ted was later posted to join Neville Duke again at a Spitfire Operational Training unit called Abu Suir near the Suez Canal in Egypt.

"Some six months later Ted was posted back to Australia. He joined up again with Bobby Gibbes and was posted to Darwin as a Flight Commander on 457 RAAF Spitfire Squadron.

"This was attached to 80 Wing under the command of Clive Caldwell with Bobby Gibbes as Wing Commander flying for the campaign in the Celebes (Moratai) and invasion of Borneo.

"Ted Sly was subsequently seconded to the USA Technical Intelligence Unit at Clark Field in the Philippines testing Spitfires against captured Japanese fighters and also testing Zeros. On his discharge Ted Sly was decorated with the DFC, MID."

Two Wirraway and one Harvard aircraft will take part in the memorial fly-past.

This year's fly-in will also honour the memory of Lismore pilot Wayne Fisher, who was killed in an accident this year.



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