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Leonard Victor Waters (Len) (1924–1993), shearer and airman, was born on 20 June 1924 at Euraba Aboriginal Mission near Boomi, New South Wales … Len enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on 24 August 1942 and trained as an aircraft mechanic … Concerned that his limited education would frustrate his ambition to fly, Waters studied hard to compensate. He applied for a transfer to aircrew in June 1943 … On 14 November 1944 Waters joined No. 78 Squadron on the island of Noemfoor, Netherlands New Guinea (Indonesia). The next month the squadron relocated to Morotai, Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia), where he was allocated a Kittyhawk that the previous pilot had named ‘Black Magic.’ He found the coincidence amusing and retained the name. In January 1945 he was promoted to flight sergeant, his commanding officer reporting that he had adapted quickly to operational flying and was a ‘good solid type, popular with his fellow pilots’ (NAA A9301). During nine months active service Waters flew a total of ninety-five sorties, mostly ground attacks. On one mission over Celebes (Sulawesi), his plane was struck by a shell that did not detonate but embedded behind the cockpit near a fuel tank. When returning to base he alerted ground staff to the danger, later recalling that it was ‘the smoothest landing I’ve ever made’ (Hall 1995, 167).
Click here to read the full ADB entry for Len Waters by Serving Our Country chief investigator Dr Samuel Furphy.