'Myrtle the turtle' mascot doll : Stirling bomber 'B for Beer', 199 Squadron, RAF : Flight Lieutenant L E McKenzie, RAAF

Accession Number REL/18731
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Embroidery cotton thread; Wool
Location Main Bld: World War 2 Gallery: Gallery 2: Air Europe
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

'Myrtle the turtle' is a small, crocheted and embroidered doll, wound from wool and embroidery cotton. She has a pink face with embroidered features, white cap, brown plaited hair, a white body and arms, black belt, red skirt, white bloomers and legs made from pink cotton wound over brown wool.

History / Summary

'Myrtle' was attached to the instrument panel of Stirling bomber LJ 514 (code EX-B 'B for Beer'), which was flown by an RAAF pilot and a mixed RAF/RAAF crew with 199 Squadron, RAF, in 1945. 'B for Beer' participated in at least 70 operations. The extreme dangers faced and high casualty rate of highly trained aircrew flying with the RAF saw many young men coping with the pressure in different ways. One way was to have good luck charms, with Myrtle being an example.

Myrtle was brought back to Australia by Flight Lietenant Lawrence Edward 'Lawrie' McKenzie. He was born in Deloraine, Tasmania on 9 November 1913 and he enlisted into the RAAF on 22 May 1942 and given the service number 408426. After training in Australia and overseas he qualified as a bomb aimer, serving with No.199 Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF) flying the Short Stirling heavy bomber on missions over occupied Europe and Nazi Germany. He discharged from the RAAF on Valentines Day, 14 February 1946.