Hello FAA Fraternity.
Again we must inform you of a fallen comrade. (Aivars) Peter Berzins, former Sea Venom Observer, passed away on the Central Coast on his eighty-fifth birthday, Wednesday 4 January 2023. While suffering from ongoing cancer and other complications, Peter had a fall and did not recover.
He trained as an Observer in 1956 at HMAS Albatross (one of the first courses in Australia) before completing a night fighter course in the UK. He then served operationally as an Observer on 805 Squadron. Interestingly, he was in the landing pattern at the moment of the Melbourne-Voyager collision, and was diverted to RANAS. Perhaps one of you will be able to identify the pilot.
Scant other service details are available – any further information will be gratefully accepted and disseminated.
Peter was born in Riga, Latvia, on 4 January 1938, and lived there through most of the Second World War, escaping with other family members on the last train out in 1944. The next five years were spent in a refugee camp in northern Germany, before the family was evacuated to Australia. Despite the trauma and a lack of language, Peter passed his Leaving Certificate in 1954 with excellent results. Disappointed with his initial choice of career (as a draughtsman), he enlisted in the RAN – a decision he cherished and celebrated for the rest of his life.
Peter was well known for his prowess at the bridge table, and between Sea Venom exploits, he found time to establish the Nowra Bridge Club. In later years he set up similar organisations on the Central Coast and in Gosford (1987). In 1993, Peter married Dorothy, and subsequently both became bridge Grand Masters.
Peter’s funeral will be held at
460 Avoca Drive
at 2:00 pm on Thursday 12 January 2023. The service will be live streamed and can be accessed via this link.
We are indebted to Mrs Dorothy Berzins for the information allowing us to share Peter’s life with you.
Thank you too to John DaCosta, Les Anderson, and Bill Vallack.