IGNATIEFF ALEXIS : Service Number – A46512 : Date of birth – 01 Sep 1929 : Place of birth – LONDON ENGLAND : Place of enlistment – SYDNEY : Next of Kin – IGNATIEFF YVONNE

Address on enlistment:  Bowral Listed as ‘Taxi Driver’

Joined 3.1.1952 on 6 year enlistment.  Naval Airman (Aircrew)

HMAS Cerberus

Nat. Certificate 28/8/52

Promoted A/SLt 15/9/53

No 10 Pilot’s Course RAAF Uqunity Sept ’53

Loaned to RN for Flying Training 22/9/53 – 13/7/54

Confirmed as S/Lt 15/9/54

Promoted A/Lt 15/9/55

Appointed Lt 5/11/56

Lt Cdr 1/9/61

Discharged 5/11/65.


Wife (Jean) Married 1955. Jean died 2014

Children:  Nicola Katrina Michael

Killed July 1968 in Beech Musketeer crash PNG

I have taken great delight in comparing Dad’s versions of events in his letters to my mother, with the more formal information via Navy website & Wikipedia, & I have literally laughed out loud at some of his commentary.  In particular, during the stint he did on HMAS Queenborough 1962-1963, where he seemed to enjoy the break from flying in amongst the “Fish heads”!  There is a great photo of the Queenborough lads at a BBQ on Pulau Tioman off the Malay Coast dated 21st October 1962, where Dad writes that they had to leave the beach via a cliff climb, at night, & walk a few miles with all the empty beer cans to a jetty for return to the ship, as the tide had come in too far on their original location.  With a quirky turn of phrase, Dad wrote about the rescue of various survivors of the “Kawi” & “SS Tuscany” in the South China Sea, & also about the collision with HMS Tabard.  It would seem that he possessed a great (if not sometimes irreverent) sense of humour.  I have greatly enjoyed doing a spot of additional research, & have found references to Dad in numerous documents, including the ADF Serials History.  It has been really sad to read how many of the pilots lost their lives in training incidents.

Mum actually met Dad in February 1955, at Nowra Air Station.  She was an air hostess with Australian National Airways (ANA). At the time she was Senior Route Hostess out of Brisbane airport, and went to Nowra for a holiday with a girlfriend.  One of the other hosties had a RAN boyfriend, & asked him to look after Mum & her friend.  She met Dad on 12th Feb 1955 at one of the many drinks parties, he proposed on board HMAS Sydney on 9th April 1955, she accepted on 13th April (apparently she suggested a 2 week ‘cooling off period’ in case he changed his mind, but it seemed 4 days was enough !!)  They were married on 2nd December (it was supposed to be September, but Dad couldn’t get leave).  The official engagement party (May) was quite a funny story … Mum had arranged to crew a flight from Brisbane to Sydney & was supposed to have the weekend in Sydney for the engagement party.  But at the last minute, the flight schedules were changed, & she had to crew to Melbourne, & couldn’t get in touch with Dad to give him warning.  So Dad met her at Sydney (where he was supposed to pick her up, but was told she was in transit), so handed her the engagement ring & said “try this for size” !  He went onto the party, she flew to Melbourne.  The following day, Mum returned to Sydney, to be met by an extremely hung-over fiancée !  It was to be the story of their lives together really, always coming & going.