Happy 100th birthday to Tasmanian war veteran, Rex Gorringe.
In March 1941, Rex enlisted in the Australian Army and served with the 40th Battalion before joining the Royal Australian Air Force in April 1942. He trained as a fitter and turner at an engineering school in Ascot Vale, NSW, for six months before going to a torpedo squadron school at Jervis Bay and being sent to Richmond Air Force Base, NSW. He then flew in a new Beaufort Bomber plane to Townsville.
Rex was posted to New Guinea as a leading aircraftman with 37 (Transport) Squadron. He arrived there just before his brother Doug – who had joined the Air Force Reserve in 1939 – failed to return from a reconnaissance flying mission in south eastern New Guinea in April 1942, just two days after his 23rd birthday.
The disappearance of his very clever brother, the pilot and the crew was a significant time during Rex’s service and little is known about the tragedy.
Rex says he also experienced some scary times with Japanese bombers attacking the airfield most days and says he felt lucky to come home alive.
After the war, Rex worked as a car panel beater prior to opening a panel beating and spray painting business that he owned for 14 years. He then worked for the Clarence City Council as head groundskeeper until his retirement.
Rex enjoyed gardening and playing golf, lawn bowls and cricket. He credits his longevity to keeping active, good healthy living and being a very devoted family man.