We have been advised by Noel’s granddaughter, Monique, that he passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday 9th November 2023.   He was 93.

Noel was born in Clare,  South Australia on 7 May 1930 and joined the RAN in May of 1948 for a short service commission. Having completed his initial naval training at HMAS Cerberus, he was promoted to Probationary Pilot and lent to RAAF Point Cook for elementary flying training.  In March 1950 he was sent to the UK, where he flew more advanced aircraft types -probably the Hawker Sea Fury which the RAN had acquired not long before.

Having returned to Australia he was posted to 805 Squadron for flying duties.  805 was part of the 21st Carrier Air Group and Noel subsequently served with distinction aboard HMAS Sydney, including operations in the Korean War. On Friday 26 October 1951 his Sea Fury was hit by flak in the area of Han River and crash-landed on a mud bank on the south side of the river, the fuselage breaking in half on impact. 21 year old Noel was unhurt and prior to his rescue by sea boat from HMS Amethyst, saw the opportunity to sell the wreckage to the villagers for (reportedly), 1000 Won (about one shilling and nine pence).

Noel completed his naval service on 6th January 1955 and was discharged to shore to start a career in civil aviation. He subsequently joined Trans Australian Airlines and flew many types as First Officer and then in Command, including the Fokker F27 and McDonnell-Douglas DC9.

He finally retired to Sunbury in Victoria and enjoyed his time riding motorcycles and was active in the community.  He was a long-standing member of the FAAAA.

Noel’s funeral was held in Sunbury at the St Andrews Uniting Church at 1100 on Friday 17th November, an institution of which he had been a staunch supporter for many years.

With thanks to Monique Sartore, Terry Hetherington, Geoff Allen, Keith Mattner, Jeff Dalgliesh and Murry Smythe.