Introducing Michael Lea who is the current Collection and Content Manager at the Anzac Memorial.

Michael has been a professional museum curator and collection manager for over thirty years. He has worked on numerous exhibitions and with a variety of collections in several cultural institutions including the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney, the Australiana Fund and the Anzac Memorial, Sydney. As a keen student of Australian history, he is in the final stages of writing up his PhD thesis at the University of Sydney.


Michael is going to talk about his Father’s history in the Australian Air Force during WW 2:  His father was Flying Officer Clement Victor Lea who trained in Canada under the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS).

His father served in an RAF squadron which was part of the Second Tactical Air Force.  He completed 42 operational sorties including those on D-Day.

He largely flew the North American Mitchell Bomber with 98 Squadron: RAF, Dunsfold.

Michael’s father had some exciting and dangerous moments in his life whilst operating Mitchell bombers:

On his fourth op with the squadron, now as a Warrant Officer, a piece of flack smashed the perspex before his eyes during a raid on construction works in the Beauvoir area of Normandy, France.

“We were just turning from the target when a piece of flak smashed a glass panel of the bomb sight and sent a shower of glass splinters into the compartment.  This piece of molten shrapnel was kept for many years as a souvenir.”

Despite the drama of this experience, he was again in the air at 18.15 for a second operation on the same day, in the same aircraft which received two more holes due to “heavy accurate flak”.

Michael’s dad was also involved in D-Day operations.  His Log book notes sightings of  jet aircraft during an operation.  CVL remembered that one jet flew so fast that it was out of sight in seconds.

Just before Dad left the squadron, a Flt Lt PA Stanford, the squadron’s Navigation Officer wrote in his log book in the section headed “Proficiency Assessments”:

“This navigator has been the leading navigator on many operations, his bombing has been of a high order and he has been an asset to the Squadron both operationally and on the ground.”

Listen as Michael explores with you his Fathers World War 2 experiences.