Anzac Day – Australia & New Zealand’s national day of remembrance, recognizing the contribution and suffering those who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.
In a typically amazing logbook coincidence, there is a connection between Anzac Day and veteran wireless operator Merle Taylor whose passing we sadly observed just yesterday. In her own words, Merle had written to thank me and including that she had “taught a class of 25 Australian and New Zealand pilots Morse Code”
Today we remember three incredible individuals from these countries whose names are entered in TLBP.
Frank McGovern, Able Seaman, RNZN
Frank McGovern, the last survivor from the sinking of the HMAS Perth (D29) who was captured and served as slave labor in Burma. He would survive a second torpedoing aboard a hell-ship bound for Japan and was a POW in Japan when the war ended. The level of cruelty he experienced at the hands of his captors is not possible to fathom. My sister and cousin Susan and Michael graciously presented TLB to him for signing.
Tricia Glensor, daughter of Raymond Glensor (DFC), RNZAF
Then there is New Zelander Tricia Glensor from Wellington. In September 1942, her father, Raymond Glensor (DFC), navigator aboard a Wellington bomber piloted by St. Lucian Donald Barnard was shot down over northern France. The two men along with crew member Ralph Forster were rescued by the Fillerin family (Norbert, Marguerite, Geneviève, Monique and Gabriel). At great risk to themselves, the family hid the three airmen in their house for five weeks. Norbert (with the help of other Resistance members) then smuggled them to Paris and Marseilles, where the Pat O’Leary line helped them escape over the Pyrenees into Spain.
Later in the war, Norbert and Marguerite were both betrayed, captured, and sent to concentration camps, but both managed to survive the war. While their parents were imprisoned, Geneviève and Monique continued to rescue and look after downed airmen.
Raymond Glensor died in 1984, but in 2008 Tricia was fortunate enough to visit Monique (the only surviving member of the Fillerin family) and thank her in person for her family’s heroic actions.
Monique was awarded the medal of the Légion d’honneur in 2010. She died in 2015, aged 88.
Thomas Keneally, author of Schindlers Ark
Finally, there is Australian novelist Thomas Keneally, author of “Schindler’s List” whose father served in the City of Sydney Squadron in North Africa during WWII. Keneally’s brother in law, Max Martin, served in the 35th Pathfinder Squadron completing 90 missions over Europe including marking the targets for the Dresden bombing within which Victor Gregg (another signatory) was held as a POW.
On the occasion of Anzac day (albeit a day late) we are proud to recognize these Australian and New Zealander signatories and the incredible stories they represent.