Peter Richard (Prey) EY

EY, Peter Richard

Service Number: O2691
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Sub Lieutenant
Last Unit: RAN Detachment, No. 9 (Helicopter) Squadron RAAF
Born: Glenelg, South Australia, 12 October 1945
Home Town: Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Brighton High School, South Australia
Occupation: RAN Pilot
Died: Natural causes , Port Pirie, South Australia, 2 August 2000, aged 54 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Memorials:
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Vietnam War Service

14 Feb 1965: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Sub Lieutenant, SN O2691, HMAS Sydney (III) R17/A214
28 May 1968: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Sub Lieutenant, SN O2691, RAN Detachment, No. 9 (Helicopter) Squadron RAAF

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Biography contributed by Stephanie Spencer

Peter joined RAN as an able seaman, after dropping out of teacher's training and ultimately applied for officer training. He became a pilot in RAN - which he loved.

His tours of Vietnam, as a helicopter pilot, were not something he ever spoke about. He did not attend reunions, nor did he ever claim any kind of association with Vietnam Veterans Association - not until about 18 months prior to his death.

He was twice married and twice divorced.

When he left the RAN, he taught pilots in Oman for ~ 12 years. He remarried at that time, but had to leave Oman as his wife was not entitled to live in Oman.

They moved to England.

He started drinking heavily, which ultimately resulted in his death at 54 years of age.

About 18 months pror to his death, (c.1998) his 2 adult daughters, Vanessa and Lesley, tracked him down in rural South Australia, and he was linked in with Vietnam Vets, who arranged detoxification and Psychiatric review; something which was of huge benefit to him. It was only at this time he felt able to talk about his experiences in Vietnam, and the subsequent emotional fall-out. He said he'd never felt so good in his life, but for him it was too late.

He died in Port Pirie after a large oesophageal bleed secondary to varices caused by his alcoholism. He had end-stage liver failure by the time he underwent detox., but managed to deal with some of his demons prior to his very premature death.

I don't believe Vietnam was the sole cause of his problems, but with his upbringing, premorbid personality and superimposed experiences, along with his inability to voice his emotional concerns, (as was common of the era) he was unable to deal with what he was dealt in life.

He was an intelligent man, who rose through the ranks from able seaman to an officer and pilot. In his own words, he was a 'ratbag'.

But he was my uncle, and my hero, and a hero in Australian history.

 

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Biography contributed by Lesley-anne Ey

Peter joined RAN as a junior recruit, specialising in electrical mechanics after withdrawing from teacher's colleague. The Navy called for people to apply for pilot training in which Peter applied and became a pilot in 1967 - which he loved.

He was posted to 723, 5 Squadron RAAF and then to 9 Squadrons with the RAAF in Vietnam. He returned from Vietnam in 1969 and went to Wessex OFS to train for flying the Sea-King helicopter  in 1973. He is posted D of T in Sept 1973, 1974 posted to ANRUK (for Sea-king acceptance), 1975 to Albatross and 725 and left the Navy in 1976. After the RAN he went to fly for the Sultan of Oman’s Air Force flying AB205A’s, Bell 214B’s, Ab206A’s, Bell 212’s and Robinson 22’s from 1977 to the end of 1985. His made Squadron Leader during this posting. He then went to Trent Air Service at Cranfield Airfield in Bedfordshire to Sept 1986 when apparently he failed an eyesight evaluation.

His tours of Vietnam, as a helicopter pilot, were not something he ever spoke about. He did not attend reunions, nor did he ever claim any kind of association with Vietnam Veterans Association - not until about 3 years prior to his death. Unfortunately, his experiences of war led to him developing a drinking problem.  

He marrried Pauline in 1968 and had two daughters in this marriage Vanessa-Lee Ey 15 January 1969 and Lesley-anne Ey 27 February 1971. His marriage sadly ended in 1974. He remarried 'Sarah' while in Oman which ended in 1985. 

Four years prior to his death, (1996) he was reunited with his daughters, Lesley-anne and Vanessa-Lee, after Lesley-anne tracked him down in Port Pirie, South Australia. He was able to develop close relationships and begin a new chapter in life as a grandfather. By freak accident Peter met a fellow Vietnam Veteran who linked him in with Vietnam Vets, who arranged detoxification and Psychiatric review; something which was of huge benefit to him. It was only at this time he felt able to talk about his experiences in Vietnam, and the trauma. He said he had never felt so good in his life, and he wished he had found this support many years ago. The support provided by the Department of Vetrans affairs and his reconciliation with his family changed his life. He was able to give up drinking and he lived the last years of his life to the fullest.

Sadly, Peter passed away prematurely at the age of 54 from liver disease on the 2nd of August 2000 with his daughter Lesley-anne by his side. 

Peter will always be remembered for his cheeky personality, his quick wit, his intelligence and his drive. To me I will always remember him as a loving and supportive man who was a wonderful dad. 

 

Lesley-anne Ey

 

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