Remembering the Telegraphist Air Gunners
Remembering WWII Veteran Robert Edward Norman Geale (1925-2009) Bob Geale was a friend of the Wartime Heritage Association and was involved in sharing some of his wartime experiences, photos and historical information, which contributed to the Association’s wartime theatrical stage musical productions. It was an honour to have known him and he will be remembered. Our condolences go out to all family and friends. From the RAN (Royal Australian Navy) Radio Mechanics Association Newsletter # 70, December 31, 2009: Robert Edward Norman Geale, known affectionately to all as "Windy", was born in Welland, Canada on 19th March, 1925 and was deceased in Nowra, NSW on Sunday, December 6th, 2009, at age 84 years. During ww2 Windy served in the Royal Navy as a Telegraphist Air Gunner and maintained his own airborne radio equipment; as such he was a ?Radio Mechanic. Later, Windy married Kathleen (Kit) Ryall who was a WREN Radio Mechanic (Air). Subsequently, Windy served in the Royal Canadian Navy Fleet Air Arm and later still he joined the Royal Australian Navy and served in its Fleet Air Arm. Windy became a Lieutenant Commander. In recent years Windy was very active in support of the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Nowra where he was a Curator and Historian. Windy was awarded Life Membership of the Fleet Air Arm Association of Australia at their Federal Council Meeting in October, 2009 in recognition of his work. However, sadly, Windy was not well enough to personally accept the award. Windy had a wealth of knowledge on Naval Aviation matters and was a friend to many! A memorial service for Windy was conducted at the Fleet Air Arm Museum on Wednesday, 9th December, 2009 followed by a private burial service at the Cambewarra Cemetery.
Windy Geale To Be Farewelled Today December 9, 2009 Article in The South Coast Register (Australia) FLEET Air Arm historian and Navy legend Bob ‘Windy’ Geale will be officially farewelled at 11am today at a funeral service held, most appropriately, at the Fleet Air Arm Museum. The much loved and respected man, who passed away on Sunday, was well-known for his remarkable service to three navies over his lifetime, in particular his voluntary service to the Fleet Air Arm Museum. Just last month, on November 13, at the HMAS Albatross Ceremonial Divisions Windy was recognised for his past efforts and presented with a Commander Fleet Air Arm Commendation by the Reviewing Officer, RADM Neil Ralph AO DSC RAN (Rtd). Commodore Tony Dalton CSC, RAN commended Windy’s “tireless and exemplary performance in his role as the Honorary Historian to the Fleet Air Arm Museum between 1985 and 2009”. Windy’s forethought and diligence meant that invaluable research material remained available for historians, individuals and institutions seeking detailed information about the history of the Fleet Air Arm. As a result, future generations of Australians will more fully understand the role of the Fleet Air Arm’s service to the nation. Born Robert Edward Norman Geale in Ontario on March 19, 1925, Windy went on to forge a considerable and significant navy career. He began as a young Canadian Naval Airman 2nd Class, who joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve and graduated in 1944 from Number 59 Royal Navy Telegraph/Air Gunners’ Course at HMS St Vincent [He also spent time training in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in Canada]. He flew the Fairey Barracuda torpedo-bomber from the carrier HMS Formidable in 1946 and over the next four years he also flew the Firefly and the Mosquito, serving in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Northern Ireland and flying from the Royal Navy carriers Colossus, Triumph and Victorious. He transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1950 and opened the second chapter of his flying career, qualifying as an observer and being promoted through to Lieutenant Commander. The Royal Canadian Navy carriers HMCS Magnificent and HMCS Bonaventure were two of Windy’s ships, as was HMCS Terra Nova for his Bridge Watchkeeping training upon being commissioned. The final chapter in Windy’s flying career was written here in Australia after he joined the Navy as a Tracker Tactical Coordinator in 1969. He went on to be the Senior Observer on both 851 and 816 Squadrons (HMAS Melbourne II) and in 1978 served as the Commanding Officer of 851 Squadron. He retired in 1985 after nearly 43 years continuous service in three navies, only to commence his voluntary role with the Fleet Air Arm Museum with barely a break in service. Windy Geale was held in the highest regard by everyone with whom he was associated and his reputation remains without peer. The original article is from the South Coast Register at: http://www.southcoastregister.com.au/news/local/news/general/windy-geale-to-be-farewelled today/1699909.aspx?storypage=1
RADM Neil Ralph, AO DSC RAN (Rtd) & Windy Geale
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