The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (19805) Sergeant Donald Kelway Storrie, No. 20 Squadron, RAAF, Second World War.

Accession Number AWM2020.1.1.20
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 20 January 2020
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (19805) Sergeant Donald Kelway Storrie, No. 20 Squadron, RAAF, Second World War.

Speech transcript

19805 Sergeant Donald Kelway Storrie, No. 20 Squadron, RAAF
Flying Battle 7 March 1945

Today we remember and pay tribute to Sergeant Donald Kelway Storrie.

Donald Storrie and his twin sister Merle were born on 20 January 1920 to Sydney and Myrtle Storrie of Sassafras, Victoria. Don, Merle, and their older sister Alva grew up in the Dandenong Ranges, where they attended the local public school. Their property, Monreale, was run as holiday accommodation by their mother, and was described as being “right amongst the wattle and ferns”. Following his education, Don undertook an apprenticeship as a fitter and turner with John Sharp and Sons in South Melbourne. He was described as “a sober, honest, and respectable man”.

Don Storrie enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force within months of completing his apprenticeship in 1940. Acceptance into the Air Force was somewhat competitive at the time, but his good character and experience as a fitter and turner saw him quickly accepted as a fitter. He underwent a period of training, passing his exams with the remark, “sound and competent” from his training officers.
Leading Aircraftman Don Storrie underwent a series of postings in Australia, each as ground staff at various bases.

From May 1941 until the following February he served at 2 Service Flying Training School in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. From there he had a brief spell in Melbourne before being sent to the Northern Territory in April 1942 where he served at Darwin, Pell, Batchelor, and Birdum.

In April 1943 Storrie returned to Melbourne and a posting at No. 1 Aircraft Depot, Laverton. He returned to Wagga Wagga that same year to marry Alma Crichton on 11 September. His twin sister, Merle, was one of the bridesmaids in what was reported to be a beautiful wedding. Before returning to duty, Storrie was able to take his new bride to Palm Beach for a honeymoon.

In February1944 Storrie was sent to 3 Operational Training Unit in Rathmines, New South Wales, to train as a flight engineer. There he undertook 91 hours flight time as part of his training. Having passed the course, he was sent to Queensland and joined No. 20 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force.

In September 1944, No. 20 Squadron moved to Darwin in the Northern Territory.

The squadron flew Catalinas, and were primarily engaged in laying mines to the north of Australia. Sergeant Storrie flew 18 missions in his time with the squadron.

On 1 March 1945, Sergeant Storrie was flight engineer on Catalina No. A24-203, which left Darwin bound for Jinamoc Island. Arriving on the island safely, it left on the 7th of March for Lingayen Gulf, where it refuelled before taking off again almost immediately on an operational flight to lay mines in the South China Sea. It was never heard from again.

Searches were conducted in the area around south-east Formosa—known today as Taiwan—but no trace of the aircraft or its crew members was found. Sergeant Donald Storrie and his crewmates were presumed to have been killed in action on 7 March, 1945.

Donald Storrie’s body has never been recovered, and today he is commemorated on the Labuan Memorial in Malaysia.
He was 25 years old.

Donald’s sisters also served during the Second World War—Merle in the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service, and Alva in the Australian Army Nursing Service.
Donald Storrie’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among almost 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Sergeant Donald Kelway Storrie, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (19805) Sergeant Donald Kelway Storrie, No. 20 Squadron, RAAF, Second World War. (video)