Flight of the century
Wally was a Beaufort bomber pilot and trainer pilot throughout World War II and has become a well-known figure in the Caboolture and broader flying community due to his involvement in the Beaufort restoration project. The Beaufort planes were built in Australia during the war, and became the main type of bomber used in the Pacific region. Wally played a key part of preserving history with the reconstruction of one of the planes which now lives at the Caboolture Warplane Museum.
Bribie Island Lifestyle Coordinator, Debra Connelly, explains how, after enjoying a morning of birthday cake and celebrations with staff and friends, Wally headed off to the Caboolture Aerodrome with his son.
“Wally had someone with him in the back but he actually took it up and flew the plane himself.”
“It was amazing because he had just turned 100, it was just such a big event for him and to witness him being able to relive those memories was just beautiful.”
Although Wally is an experienced pilot it had been many years since he last had the opportunity to fly.
“He loves to talk about flying, it’s this incredibly prominent aspect of his life that he remembers very well.” Debra says.
“This passion provides a sure-fire way to start a discussion with staff and volunteers. He talks fondly and remembers clearly his time as a pilot, and it’s obvious that these chats are a wonderful opportunity for fostering connection and contributing to Wally’s wellbeing.”
Debra says that although all birthdays in the community are celebrated, 100s are especially significant. “We make a fuss no matter what age they are but when they’re 100 it’s pretty special.”
When asked what Wally was more excited for turning 100, or returning to his lifelong passion for aviation the answer was, of course, flying.