A Look Inside Dad’s world

Dad lived a “fortunate life” from logging in Gippsland during the great depression, to flying Lancaster bombers in WWII, to marriage and bring up 4 children.


Here are some interesting pictures relating to my father, his early life, war years and his life after the war.

Lancaster Pilot

Ft Lt E J Roberts

Dad joined the RAAF in 1940 and was trained as a pilot and navigator in Sale and Bairnsdale in Fairy Battles then Beaufighter aircraft. He was sent to the UK as part of the RAAF to fight with the RAF against Germany. He joined 61 Squadron in Lincoln England along with approx 40 other Australians at the airbase. He flew a Lancaster bomber (call sign “Black Swan”) from Lincoln over Germany. He flew 36 sorties – nearly twice the normal allocation.


BomBing Germany

Actual picture used by dad’s plane to determine a target location in Germany.



Dad won his Distinguished Flying Cross after being hit by flak returning from Germany and losing 2 engines was able to get the crew back to England safely. He was then asked to join the pathfinder squadron.



Lancaster Pilot

Motto: “Per purum tonantes” (“Thundering through the clear air”).
Badge: The Lincoln Imp. The Lincoln Imp associates the squadron with the district in which it was re-formed in 1937. Authority: King George VI, March 1940.
No. 61 Squadron, was formed at Rochford, Essex, on 2nd August 1917, as one of the first three single-seater fighter squadrons of the London Air Defence Area intended to counter the daylight air raids. The squadron first went into action on 12th August when a formation of 10 Gotha bombers came in over the mouth of the Thames. Sixteen Pups of No. 61 Squadron took to intercept them and succeeded in turning the enemy back, but not before two bombs had been dropped near No. 61’s hangars on Rochford aerodrome.
Squadron 61 was re-formed in 1937 as a bomber squadron and in World War 2 with No. 5 Group, Bomber Command, and took part in many notable operations including: the first bombing raid on a German land target (19/20th March 1940), the first big bombing raid on the German mainland (Monchengladbach, 11/12th May 1940), the first bombing raid on Berlin (25/26th August 1940), the epic attacks on Le Creusot and Peenemunde (17th October 1942 and 17/18th August 1943, respectively), the successive draining of the Dortmund-Ems and Mitteland Canals Fa(lmatiley 1944) and the attack on Wesel just before the crossing of the Rhine (23rd/24th March 1945). Beginning operations with Hampdens, the squadron was given Manchesters towards the end of 1941 and later (spring 1942), Lancasters. Four of its Lancasters each became veterans of more than 100 operational sorties. Records show that in the case of the first three aircraft, the long road to their centuries included participation in the raid on 3rd/4th November 1943, when a Flight Lieutenant of No. 61 Squadron won the Victoria Cross.

Lincoln Imp

According to a 14th-century legend, two mischievous creatures called imps were sent by Satan to do evil work on Earth. After causing mayhem in Northern England, the two imps headed to Lincoln Cathedral, where they smashed tables and chairs and tripped up the Bishop. When an angel came out of a book of hymns and told them to stop, one of the imps was brave and started throwing rocks at the angel, but the other imp cowered under the broken tables and chairs. The angel turned the first imp to stone, giving the second imp a chance to escape. It is said that even on still days it is always windy around the cathedral, which is the second imp circling the building looking for his friend.



RAF Skellingthorpe opened in 1941 on a field previously called Black Moor under the control of RAF Bomber Command.

Mark II

4 x 1,620 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin 224 engines. Top speed was 438 km per hour and  max ceiling of 24,700 feet and a range of 4,072 km.

Air Crew

Each aircraft had its own crew to maintain, repair and fuel. This is dad’s crew in Lincoln. The RAAF crews actually had to stay at the end of the airfield away from the RAF crews !

war records

Memorabilia and actual records of dad’s wartime operations.

News from the front

Lucky charms

Flight plan and bomb load

Actual pay slips in WWII

Dad’s mate Bill Tilley sunk a German U-Boat

More flight plans

Newspaper records of success

Dad’s thank you letter for the DFC

They needed references back in WWII as well !

Actual bombing run over France

Fearful of death

Photo recon Dad used used to train other crews

Flying for D-Day


More R’n’R

Official invite to receive the DFC

Flying for D-Day

Dad was asked to train new crews too

Flight Plans

Official invite to receive the DFC

Bombing Practice

Training more crews

Working for the RAF

Official DFC award Ceremony


After the war dad came back via the USA

After the war in USA Ski Fields

Dad was a ‘Ski Bunny’ in Colorado where he met and because friends with Walt Disney

Official Entry to the USA

The real Copacabana in USA

Working in the Ski Lodge

Dad spent time in Hollywood too

More R’n’R in California

Coming home to Australia

1950’s onwards

Mum and Dad with our family

Dad meets mum

1950s style

Second Date !

Date meant a dance !

Mum meets dad’s sister Stella. She is not amused…but mum won her over !

Happy Days

Dad flew Catalina Flying Boats into Sydney Harbour