Ray (Mondo) France was a Navy A4G Skyhawk pilot who graduated from No. 13 A4G OFS school in 1978.

[Pictured in 1978: SBLT Ray France, right, with SBLT Gary Osmond]

On the demise of the Fleet Air Arm’s fixed-wing capability, he transferred to the RAAF to fly Mirages in 77 Squadron. He was well received by the Air Force’s fighter community as indeed were all the ex-RAN pilots (one, Air Vice-Marshal Mark Binskin, went on to become Chief of Air Force).

On the demise of the Mirage, Ray returned to the Navy and flew the HS 748 electronic warfare training and transport aircraft and then became recruiting officer in Brisbane.

Later still, he joined Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong and his last appointment there was as a training captain on B777 where he did several flights with First Officer Paul Wilson, son of his first RAAF CO, Group Captain Roger Wilson (who had since retired).

Mondo’s last flight with Cathay Pacific was on 7 June 2010 and shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with cancer. After initial treatment in Hong Kong, he returned to the family home in Brisbane and died there on 4 October 2010.

He was survived by his wife Beryl and children Daniel and Stephanie.