Category Archives: Storytellers

Storytellers – Haydon Skudder RAF Fighter Pilot

The meeting was attended by 70 plus members. It was particularly nice to see the return of Françoise Gilroy after breaking her leg a few months ago during her morning swim. There were a number of apologies too, the best being from Peter MacCormick … he was going to the opera. Hard to beat that one!

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The presenter for the evening was Haydon Skudder, a friend of Dick Morath. Haydon joined the RAF at the age of 17 in late 1942, and flew spitfires over France from 1944 after training in Canada. In the week prior to the meeting some BBC members were questioning which war Haydon was in and so for the younger members present Clive clarified that we were referring to WW2 no WW1 and Haydon was not 117.

Dick M introduced Haydon providing the following background; Haydon is Chairman of AFM Advisers which is an MLC Apogee Financial dealership. Dick & Haydon have been friends for a long time. Back in 2005 at a conference in Darwin which was held on Anzac day and had a military flavour, Haydon gave the talk that we were to hear presented and it was absolutely riveting. A couple of months ago Haydon celebrated his 90th birthday and Dick asked him to share his story with BBC members.

Heydon-Skudder RAF Fighter Pilot

Haydon joined the RAF at age 17 in late 1942, and flew spitfires over France from 1944 after training in Canada and was shot down over enemy territory and crashlanded in late 1944.

Haydon commenced his tale by showing a short video. It really set the scene as we saw and indeed heard the propellers of a spitfire fire up and take to the skies. Haydon said that every time he hears that distinctive sound it takes him back. On 12/12/44 he was flying one of these spitfires. He was stationed in Brussels and flew into Northern Holland to find some trouble. Things were a bit boring. We were flying at 10,000 ft. and he was flying Red 2 to his Squadron Leader, his tail man, He looked to his right and below and could see a train coming out of a tunnel. Trains were very important to them as targets in those days. The Squadron Leader peeled off to attack this train. Down to 4000 ft. Continue reading

Storytellers – Tuesday 16th September 7:30pm

The presenter will be Haydon Skudder. Haydon joined the RAF at age 17 in late 1942, and flew spitfires over France from 1944 after training in Canada and was shot down over enemy territory and crashlanded in late 1944.
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His story is rivetting and in recent times the pilots at 77 Squadron Williamtown- FA 18s- have had him up to speak to them which shows how well he is regarded.

From all reports this could be ‘standing room only’ so mark it in your diaries!!is approach to making The Movie and the difficulties of combining all the various old formats thrown in from the Archives into something the Club is rightfully proud of.

As usual with the Storytellers format come a bit earlier and join us for a BYO BBQ.

Storytellers – The Balmoral Dolphin

A chance meeting about 3 months ago at Middle Head between Jackie B, Denise E and Shona Lorigan, the Vice President of ORRCA, was a win for the Storytellers. Shona lives and breathes ‘our dolphin’ and didn’t need much persuasion to join us to and tell its story, despite the evening being miserable and wet.

StoryTellers-Shona-Dolphins-WebShona began by setting her timer alarm on as she confessed she can easily get carried away talking about her dolphin, one of her real pleasures in life. She gave us some background on ORRCA which only has volunteers, rather like Wires, and is licensed by the National Parks to care and rehabilitate all marine mammals up and down NSW coast. They have no paid employees, no office, and all their equipment is in people’s houses. Their president is a postman, and they have many vets, scientists and teachers in their ranks. Shona came from a finance world originally, a marketing executive for many years, before she travelled the world with her husband who is a corporate lawyer. storytellers ifaw dolphinsShe has been with ORRCA for 16 years and done pretty much every job there is and learnt plenty along the way. She compares her volunteer work to being like a lifeguard and regularly collaborates with colleagues around the world. She has trained in NZ, UK & is soon to do some work in Cape Cod, America to work with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) – see photo of Alex K raising the IFAW flag at the summit of Mt McKinley.

The National Parks have a policy is not to name marine mammals and hence they refer to our dolphin as ‘the solitary social dolphin’ which is quite a mouthful! Their reasoning is that each community nearly always give a lone dolphin a name and it gets confusing when it moves from one area to another. Shona understands the name at Balmoral for the dolphin is Yera though aware of other names such as Sally, Dolly and Beyoncé (her daughters’ choice). Continue reading

Storytellers – The Milligans

Despite being a dark and wintery night and that many regulars were absent due to commitments in Malta, a large audience did attend and were treated to a wonderful presentation on “The Milligans” by none other than Desmond Patrick Bryan Milligan, younger brother of Spike. Alan Gill, knowing that the Storytellers is always on the lookout for interesting presenters, made contact with Patrick his friend and ex-colleague at the Sydney Morning Herald, and persuaded him to share the story of his family upbringing in Burma and a few tales about his famous “Goon” brother, and what a story!

To set the scene we started with a Spike film clip “The Irish Astronauts” found amongst the extensive material of Spike in the YouTube vaults, worth a look if you’re browsing the web.

Now for our guest Desmond Patrick Bryan Milligan, AKA – DPBM, Patrick or even The Milligan.

Patrick MilliganPatrick was born in Rangoon, Burma, to RSM Leo and Mrs Florence Milligan, Port Defence Artillery and later brought up in London. After his schooling he attended the Redhill School of Art as a full time student 1942 to 1944 when he was conscripted and served in the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry during the final phases of the campaign in Europe. He also served in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (KSLI) in Palestine and Cyprus during the Jewish-Arab troubles. He was demobilised at the rank of Sergeant. Patrick returned to his studies and obtained an arts diploma at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and then became a freelance in famous Fleet Street as an illustrator plus portraiture and other commissions. He migrated to Australia at the invitation of his parents in 1952 (round of applause). Continue reading