ALMOST seven decades after his brother was killed in the Lincoln Bomber disaster at Amberley, the emotions of the tragedy are still overwhelming for Bernie Desmond.

With the anniversary approaching, remembering the events of that day bring back tears for the Willowbank ex-serviceman.

Flight Sergeant Michael Desmond was buried in a full military service along with the other 15 airmen. A Lincoln bomber conducted a flyover and services were held in the three main churches in Brisbane city before the bodies were brought to the Commonwealth War Graves at Lutwyche.

Bernie Desmond lost his brother in the Lincoln Bomber disaster in 1948 at Amberley.
Bernie Desmond lost his brother in the Lincoln Bomber disaster in 1948 at Amberley. Rob Williams

"It affected my mum and dad very badly - coming home to his parents," Mr Desmond said.

"Other people were involved but because of my own parents - he was coming home after all of this time and he was so close to home. He was as good as home. He only came home a few times. He wasn't married.

"My Dad never got over it."

His brother, a policeman went to Brisbane to try to identify the body but none of the men were able to be identified.

"With no identification, the 16 bodies were there, just with, unknown airman killed February 19, 1948. Three or four years later a Mrs Gibbs had it changed so that they put a name on them. It didn't make any difference because nobody knew who was who, but it did mean something to her, because she was the mother."

Mr Desmond, the youngest in his family was banned from enlisting.

"Because of this accident mum and dad wouldn't let me enlist," he said. "I had to wait until I was 21. I was 21 in the September and I enlisted in November."

The disaster was a routine training flight. Sgt Michael Desmond was a passenger on the Amberley-based aircraft that went to Laverton and he was on his way back to Amberley.

Like many Australians he had enlisted at the fall of Singapore in 1941. He served as wireless operator in the RAAF, serving in New Guinea.

For that fateful flight he was a passenger, coming home to be discharged the next day.

The plane carried a crew of six, a spare crew and four passengers.

Two of the 16 airman lived in Thorn St, Ipswich, and one lived in Tivoli. It was the largest loss of life in Ipswich until the Box Flat mining disaster when 17 died and still is the largest crash in the RAAF history.



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