Jeffery Charles BERGMANN

BERGMANN, Jeffery Charles

Service Number: 416531
Enlisted: 21 July 1941
Last Rank: Flying Officer
Last Unit: Not yet discovered
Born: Denial Bay, SA, 11 June 1921
Home Town: Denial Bay, Ceduna, South Australia
Schooling: O'Loughlin Primary - Unley High School
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Ceduna SA, 17 January 2012, aged 90 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Ceduna Cemetery, S.A.
Memorials: Ceduna Murat Bay and District WW2 Honour Roll, Charra WW2 Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

21 Jul 1941: Involvement Flying Officer, 416531
21 Jul 1941: Enlisted Adelaide, SA
21 Jul 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, 416531
26 Feb 1946: Discharged

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Biography contributed by Geoffrey Stewart

Jeffrey was born on 11 June 1921 at Denial Bay (SA) to Carl Julius Walter Bergmann and Hulda Olga Bergmann (nee Hasting).  He was the eldest of 7 children in the family, 3 boys and 4 girls, the youngest child being still born. His father was a farmer at Denial Bay

Jeffery started his schooling by correspondence, before enrolling in the O’loughlin Primary School, where he achieved the Qualifying Certificate at the completion of Grade 7 and also won a scholarship to attend Unley High School, where he achieved his Intermediate Certificate in 1936. At the completion of schooling he returned to the family farm at Denial Bay, but employment was not available in the district, so he returned to St Peters (Adelaide) and gained employ in a “Home Services Store”, where he received a wage of 30/- ($3) a week. He remained in this employ until the end of 1937 before returning to Ceduna. He then took a job as a shop assistant with W.H. Betts at Streaky Bay before being transferred to Ceduna with the same company. It was during this employ that he met his wife to be, Isabel Annie Dunn from Carrawa on 3 March 1941.

At the time of enlistment he gave his occupation as shop assistant and his address as Ceduna.

After enlistment he was sent to Adelaide for processing and then to Victor Harbour for training at No4 Initial Training School (ITS) in July 1941. After 3 months at Victor Harbour he was allocated as a Pilot Trainee and sent to Parafield for a further 3 months training, flying Tiger Moth aircraft before being sent to No.4 Flying Training School (FTS) at Mallala to train on twin engine aircraft. On completion of training he elected to go into “bombers”.

Jeff was then initially allocated to No.70 Squadron (Sqn) RAAF based in Queensland, but prior to moving north he became engaged to Isabel. Eventually he was reallocated to Catalina Flying Boats and sent to Rathmines (NSW) for further training and then to Northern Australia (Cairns, Karumba and Darwin) for active duty. He must have been successful as a few months later he returned to Rathmines to do a Captain’s Conversion Course. After qualifying, his duties included bombing areas around Kavieng and Sorong, patrols of the Coral Sea and mine laying in Indonesian Harbours.

The Catalina had a crew of 9 and was based out of Darwin until the US gained control of Leyte (Philippines), then would fly to Leyte, refuel, and then fly on to lay mines on the Chinese Coast – as far north as Hong Kong. Mines were normally laid at night for the safety of the crew. Jeff made the comment that the longest he spent in a Catalina was 22 hours, and they were rather basic aircraft. However, it was not all doom and gloom; the aircraft had to be serviced after 240 hours of flying. This service had to be done in Australia and took about 14 days, enabling crews to get home for a few days on leave. Jeff made the most of this, as he married Isabel in Adelaide on 28 June 1943.

Towards the end of the war in the Pacific his aircraft was attached to No. 111 Air-Sea Rescue Unit operating out of Madang (PNG). It was whilst here that the Atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, ending the war in August 1945.

After discharge from the RAAF in Adelaide on 26 February 1946 Jeff returned to the family farm with his family. He remained working on the farm for 2 years before purchasing his own farm of 3900 acres (approx. 1600 Ha), Sects. 3 and 6, Hd. of Goode and lived in a 2 room stone house which had been built in 1902. The family expanded to 4 children, 3 boys and a girl; thus a new house was built on the property in 1954

Jeff was very community minded; he became a councillor on the Murat Bay District Council, representing the local ward of Kalanbi, in 1968; then chairman and later the inaugural mayor of the Council 1983-1987. He was President of the Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association and a life member of the Agricultural Bureau (Goode Branch)

He was awarded the OAM on Australia Day 1982 for services to Local Government and district activities.

Isabel died on 12 June 2006 and is buried in the Ceduna Cemetery. Jeff passed away on 17 January 2012 and is buried beside his wife.

Medals and Decorations

1939-45 Star                                                                                                              

Pacific Star                                                                                                                

Defence Medal                                                                                                          

War Medal 1939-45                                                                                                   

Australian Service Medal 1939-45