Leonard Victor WATERS

WATERS, Leonard Victor

Service Number: 78144
Enlisted: 24 August 1942
Last Rank: Warrant Officer
Last Unit: No. 78 Squadron
Born: Boomi, New South Wales, 20 June 1924
Home Town: Cunnamulla, Paroo, Queensland
Schooling: Nindigully State School
Occupation: Shearer
Died: Natural causes (pneumonia), Cunamulla, Queensland, 24 August 1993, aged 69 years
Cemetery: St George Cemetery, Qld
Memorials: St George The Pilots Memorial
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World War 2 Service

24 Aug 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Warrant Officer, SN 78144
24 Aug 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 78144, Brisbane, Queensland
24 Apr 1943: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Leading Aircraftman
1 Jul 1944: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant
14 Nov 1944: Transferred Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, No. 78 Squadron
1 Jan 1945: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, No. 78 Squadron
1 Jan 1946: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Warrant Officer, No. 78 Squadron
18 Jan 1946: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Warrant Officer, SN 78144, No. 78 Squadron
18 Jan 1946: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Warrant Officer, SN 78144

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Biography

Len Waters was born at Euraba Mission and was one of 11 children of Donald and Grace WATERS. He was Australia's first indigenous RAAF pilot and specifically trained as a fighter pilot.

Training initially as a mechanic, he volunteered for flying duties and after undergoing rigorous studies and training he graduated as a Sergeant (pilot) in 1944.

He flew P-40 Kittyhawks in the South West Pacific theatre, where he completed 95 missions, mainly close air support. By the end of the war he had risen to the rank of Warrant Officer.

"78144 Sergeant Leonard Victor Waters... was the only known Australian Aboriginal fighter pilot of the Second World War. He joined the RAAF on 24 August 1942 and was trained as a flight mechanic. When the RAAF called for aircrew trainees he applied and was accepted for pilot training. He undertook his initial training at 1 Elementary Flying Training School (1EFTS), Narrandera, NSW, before graduating as a Sgt pilot from 5 Service Flying Training School (5SFTS), Uranquinty, NSW. His training continued at 2 Operational Training Unit (2OTU), Mildura, Vic, from where he was posted to 78 Squadron on 14 November 1944. He flew 95 operational sorties with 78 Squadron, operating from Noemfoor, Morotai and Tarakan. Sgt Waters was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 1 January 1945 and to Warrant Officer on 1 January 1946. He was discharged from the RAAF on 18 January 1946. Leonard Waters died on 25 August 1993." - SOURCE (www.awm.gov.au)

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