LCDR Bob “Windy” Geale MBE RAN rtd, former CO of 851(816) Sqn RAN (Trackers) and Curator of the Fleet Air Arm museum at Nowra, died on the afternoon of Sunday 6th December 2009.
Robert Edward Norman Geale was born in Welland (Canada) on 19 March 1925. During the second world war he served in the Royal Navy as a Telegraphist Gunner, flying in Swordfish torpedo biplanes and then as an Observer in RN Barracudas and Fireflies. Later, he married Kathleen Ryall who was a WREN Radio Mechanic (Air).
In 1956 Bob transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy Fleet Air Arm where he flew in Avengers, Trackers and Sea Kings. His last appointment was OIC of the Sea King Flight Simulator at HMCS Shearwater, before he joined the RAN in 1970, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
He retired in 1980 and worked tirelessly to preserve the history of the RAN Fleet Air Arm at the FAA museum. His forethought and diligence meant that invaluable research material remained available for future generations of historians.
Bob was subsequently awarded Life Membership of the Fleet Air Arm Association of Australia (FAAAA) in October of 2009 although he was not well enough to personally accept the award. He was also presented with a special commendation by the Commander of the Fleet Air Arm, a few weeks before his death, in recognition of his extraordinary work as honorary Historian for the FAAAA.
He died in Nowra aged 84. A memorial service was held at the FAA Museum three days later, followed by a private burial service at the Cambewarra Cemetery.
He was a great Man and a great Naval Aviator, and is sorely missed.