Fl/Lt. Allan George Porter, RAAF
Fl/Lt. Porter, better known as ‘Barney’, enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force on June 8, 1942. Service Number 266182. He had previous training with the Citizens Forces having joined in 1925.
During the years leading up to WWII, the Citizen Air Force Squadrons were the mainstay of training within the RAAF. So much so that by the outbreak of war approximately two thirds of those in uniform were reservists. This proportion tallied well against the original expectations at the time of formation. At the outbreak of war the Citizen Air Force members were called up for the duration and most transferred to the Permanent Air Force in order to overcome the constitutional restriction which prevented their being used outside Australian Territory. (Source: RAAF Reserves’ History).
On enlistment he was re-mustered as Trainee Officer, School of Administration, University of Melbourne.
His civil occupation was listed as Wool Appraiser. Qualifications; Sheep and Wool Diploma and St John’s First Aid Certificate.
After training and appointment as Pilot Officer, he held a number of successive administrative and liaison roles until he was appointed to 76 Squadron equipped with Kittyhawks in December 1942. The Squadron was based at Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia in defence of military facilities and allied shipping.
The Squadron was later relocated to Onslow and Potshot bases on the North West Coast of Australia in defence of the US Navy Base.
On April 3, 1943 Flying Officer A G Porter led a successful rescue mission more than 80 miles over rough country to a site where an Avro Anson with Squadron personnel aboard had force landed.
Following service in the North West, the Squadron was relocated to Bankstown near Sydney to be re-equipped with advanced P-40M Kittyhawks. Then in June 1943 deployed to Goodenough Island, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea tasked with supporting allied offensives in New Guinea.
An Advance Party of 30 personnel under the command of now, Flight Lieutenant A.G. Porter left Goodenough Island for Kiriwina Island in the Trobriand Group on August 10, 1943 where subsequently the whole Squadron was eventually based and provided air cover for landings of US Forces at Arawe on the south coast of New Britain.
The Squadron continued to support Allied operations around New Guinea and took part in an operation involving 73 aircraft against Japanese bases which was the largest RAAF operation to that point in the war
Left: The book ‘Two Steps to Tokyo’:
Gordon Powell's book 'Two Steps to Tokyo' first published not long after the end of the war provided a vivid portrayal of the action and the harsh conditions under which RAAF Squadrons existed throughout the islands where malaria often created a war-front of its own.
The Rev. Powell was Padre attached to 76 Squadron.
On March 18, 1944 Flt/Lt A G Porter was transferred to 21 Squadron.
Originally equipped with Vultee Vengeance dive-bombers, 21 Squadron was based from March 1944 at Camden, New South Wales and soon after at Leyburn, Queensland. The Squadron was re-equipped with Consolidated B-24 Liberator Heavy Bombers and a program of conversion training introduced. However, it was not until early 1945 that the Squadron was active again and relocated to Fenton Airfield, Tipperary Station, Hayes Creek in the Northern Territory. In the final stages of the War, the Squadron was tasked with assisting Allied landings in Borneo.
Flt/Lt A. G. Porter was transferred to Defence Instructor duties. At War’s end he was Commanding Officer, 24 Operational Base Unit and held Liaison duties with the Army’s School of Jungle Warfare at Canungra, Queensland.
Return to civil life:
Discharged March 1, 1946 with 1939-1943 Star and 1939-1945 Pacific Star, ‘Barney’ Porter returned to his pre-war occupation and built up a successful wool exporting business. He maintained close contact with ex-service personnel among those who were in the same business, with annual reunions at a Sydney city restaurant. Buyers from Japan became one of his biggest customers for Australian wool. The friendships and frequent meetings in Australia and Japan testimony to the close relationship that developed.
He married Betty Charlton Lowther at St Barnabas Anglican Church, Brisbane on March 23, 1940 and a house at Castlecrag, on Sydney’s Middle Harbour, became the family home. He travelled widely during his business life and when time permitted, gardening was a favourite activity.
Flt/Lt Allan George Porter, born November 2, 1907. Died aged 80 December 26, 1987.
Betty Charlton Porter, born May 26, 1919. Died aged 87 September 8, 2006.
Survived by sons, Allan, Bruce & Stuart.
Submitted and written by Allan Lowther Porter, son. (December 2017)
Source: Personal Record of Service.
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