WWII veteran recalls war effort at Perth air base

Lesley Dunbar (Joondana). Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au   d492563
Lesley Dunbar (Joondana). Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d492563

LESLEY Dunbar was just 13 years old when World War II broke out and by 18 he had joined the Australian air force.

The 93-year-old Joondanna resident travelled by boat to Melbourne to study before being posted to New Guinea, where the Allies were fighting Japanese forces.

But illness kept Mr Dunbar in Australia and he was instead transferred to look after aircraft at Perth’s Pearce air base.

“I was all ready to go and then they cancelled it,” he said.

“Everyone joined up to do their job. You never knew what was going to happen.”

He recalled it was “bloody cold” during his time at Pearce but was pleased to do his part for the war effort.

“You did your job and that was it,” he said.

Lesley Dunbar’s Certificate of Discharge

Mr Dunbar was discharged from the air force in 1946, then trained as a butcher and ran a butcher shop in Subiaco for 20 years.

He joined the Shenton Park RSL Sub-branch, which he said gave a great sense of camaraderie.

Despite no longer physically able to attend Anzac Day services, Mr Dunbar still places great importance on the day.

“There’s a lot of people who fought for their country who didn’t come home,” he said.