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Service Tales and Other Stories

Written by John Clarkson


John Clarkson was born at Wynnum, a bay side suburb of Brisbane in July 1944, the only child to Aubrey and Doris Clarkson.  During his school years, he did not excel at academic subjects, but he did quite well at things mechanical.  Following the death of his father in April 1959, John was looking at an uncertain future, until a family friend suggested an apprenticeship in the RAAF.

John enlisted in the RAAF as an engineering apprentice in January 1960. Following his graduation in December 1962, John saw service as an Armourer until October 1984, gaining experience on at least eight different types of aircraft and on at least five different types of units.  His service included postings to Butterworth (Malaysia), Ubon (Thailand), Vung Tau (South Vietnam), and several overseas operational defence exercises.

Following his departure from the RAAF at Amberley, Queensland, John was employed in a number of different vocations in Brisbane until he was accepted as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer with Qantas Airways Limited in August 1988, which resulted in a move to Sydney for him and his family.

For the next fifteen years in Qantas, John was employed in Component workshops, then in Aircraft Maintenance Planning, and finally in the area of Technical Support within the Flight Operations Department until his retirement in September 2003.

During his latter years in the workforce, John was to discover that very few Armourers had the variety of experience as he had seen, so he was challenged by a number of his RAAF peers to write of his experiences of over forty years of service in the aviation industry.

John now lives in retirement with his wife, Margaret, in an outer northern suburb of Brisbane.  They enjoy their retirement, and in particular, travelling with their caravan.  John and Margaret have two married daughters and a son.