Archie Flexmore PAGE

PAGE, Archie Flexmore

Service Number: 408164
Enlisted: 31 January 1941
Last Rank: Flying Officer
Last Unit: RAAF Recruit Centres
Born: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 16 February 1922
Home Town: Hobart, Tasmania
Schooling: Hutchins School, Tasmania
Occupation: Farmer
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World War 2 Service

31 Jan 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 408164, RAAF Recruit Centres
31 Jan 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 408164
31 Jan 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 408164, RAAF Recruit Centres
1 Mar 1941: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Leading Aircraftman
26 Aug 1942: Transferred Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, No. 115 Squadron (RAF)
6 Sep 1942: Transferred Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, No. 156 Squadron (RAF)
27 Mar 1945: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 408164, 6 Recruit Centre
27 Mar 1945: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 408164, RAAF Recruit Centres

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Biography contributed by Virtual Australia

Text supplied by the family of Archie PAGE.

Archie ("dOC") Flexmore PAGE, a country boy from Plenty,  hit the light of day on 16 February 1922. He was the only son of the well known Mr & Mrs Richard Malcolmson Page of "Redlands' Plenty.

Archie was in the care of the RAAF at the age of 18 after being schooled at the Hutchins School, Macquarie Street. He had a brief stint as a boarder whilst there. Following initial entrance training at Somers,  he visited a Ballarat wireless school and the Evans Head gunnery. He arrived in UK in April 1942 to partake in a refresher course, where he was categorised as an average signals type and an above average gunner. Whilst as Cottesmore, an Operational Training Unit (OTU), he did an operational trip with what would be termed as a "sprog" crew in a Hampden, which was part of the first 1000 Bomber Command raids on Germany. The odd 1000 aircraft shows were organised with the express purpose of boosting the morale of the British folk.

Archie's first Squadron posting was 115 at Marham. He subsequently went to 156 Sqaudron at Warboys and flew in Wellingtons skippered by an English Squadron Leader Grimston who was upper crust gentry doing more than his bit for the country. Archie sometimes flew as a WAG and sometimes as Gunner both up the top - ie. Mid Upper -  and down the rear, where he seemed to fit snugly, allowing backwards and sideways viewing.

Squadron Leader Grimston converted to Lancasters in December 1942. Archie had some 23 trips with Grimston including 5 long trips of over 8.30 hours each; 2 to Berlin  - the hot and somewhat dicey neck of the woods -  and long heavy and hot trips to such targets as Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart and the Rhur.

Archie joined up with Flight Lieutenant Peter Isaacson on 18 May 1943 and was briefly allotted to 460 Squadron. Isaacson's crew comprised Flying Officer Don Delaney, a Canadian CC Spencer as Flight Engineer, Bill Copley a WAG, Joe Grose Mid Upper, A G Peter Isaacson pilot, Bob Neilsen Navigator, Archie 'Doc' Page Rear AG and A Ritchie Bomb Aimer. The crew were selected with their skipper Isaacson who was named "Flapper" (in comradeship) to fly the Lancaster to Australia. They carried with them as passengers Lord Burghley (aged 37) who was a Minister and the controller of repairs and overseas supplies and  G/C C B Wincott of RAF. The crew and their special passengers left the UK on 22 May 1943 and landed at Amberly Air Base on 4 June 1943. Reading between the lines it is reasonable to surmise that they were well feted in the various places they touched down for refuelling on the trip. It was the wish of Churchill to exploit the trip for the express purpose of an exhibition that would thereby help with promotion of War Bonds.  The Lancaster called at many places in Australia including Hobart and also went across to New Zealand. In 1944 Archie was remusterd and commenced a Pilots course. He did flying training at Western Junction and at Deniliquin and gained his wings on 18 December 1944.

He married his school sweetheart Leata Jack on 22 December 1943. Leata was a fulltime operational member of the Red Cross at the time. Archie settled into civilian life following his discharge on 27 March 1945 in a quiet and unobtrusive manner as his nature had engineered him for from early life. He was hard working member of the Royal Agricultural Society - Tasmania,  having become a Councillor and member of the Executive in 1955. He acted as Secretary from 1967 - 1991 and was still a Councillor at his death. All in all 'Doc' Page, one of the youngest of the young in the Bomber Command of the RAAF, maintained that it was his privilege to be a member thereof. He cut his teeth so to speak whilst serving and was a true and staunch Taswegian. The Big Bird Lancaster ED 930 with its motto the "Flying Kangaroo' embossed thereon rests in peace now in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.



Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Lancaster Flight (excerpts)  -  Bob Neilsen, 1993

"Doc Page regards himself as a lucky man. he survived a rough period of a very rough war and then had the chance to work at something he loved, and raise a family that will carry on the fine tradition already established. He is proud to have been a members of Isaacson's crew. 

Those days seem so long ago and this is such a different world that has brought me so may wonderful things. The most wonderful thing has to be the companionship of these magnificent and courageous men with whom I have been associated. They have taught me so much and showed me what cooperation and unselfishness really mean. They have sustained me through some dark days (and nights) and encouraged me to do my very best. They have understood my fears, and self doubts and made allowances for my flashes of temperament and mood changes. They have laughed at my jokes and tolerated my faults and have always been willing to lend a hand. I doubt if I will ever expereince anything as wonderful again."