Dr Robert Milford still remembers the sound of 88mm shells cracking in the night sky around him as German anti-aircraft fire sought to bring down his Wellington bomber during the Second World War.
“First of all you saw it,” Dr Milford said. “Just black puffs in the sky, and then you got a bit closer, and you could feel it, you know, like a bit of air turbulence, and then you got a bit closer and you could hear it, crack, like a whip crack, or that’s how it sounded to me.
“Then when it got to the point where you smelt the cordite from the explosion, you knew it was bloody close, and that’s when you would get out of the plane after you’d got back, and run around and see how many holes you had. So, yes, it was an interesting part of existence.”
Dr Milford served as a wireless air gunner with 150 Squadron (RAF) during the war, serving in North Africa, and then Italy.
He had begged his parents at home in Australia to let him enlist and volunteered to join the Royal Australian Air Force in March 1941.
“I guess [I was] like every other young fellow in that time,” he said. “I was 17 or 18 years of age then, and, well, we joined because that was what we were expected to do, so that was what we did in those days.