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FLTLT Earle John Filshie 405546

Squadron/s81 SQN
Rank On Discharge/Death Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT)
Mustering / SpecialisationPilot
Date of Birth21 Feb 1919
Date of Enlistment25 Apr 1941
Date of Death21 Oct 2010
Contributing Author/sThe Padre of the Air Force Association, Lindsay Richards
And Steve McGregor, Updated by Vince Conant June 2013
The Spitfire Association

Earle, or "Count" as he was known to his mates, was born on the 21st February 1919 in Toowoomba Queensland and according to his Service Record he became a Cadet in the Army 25th Battalion at 16 and went on to the Militia when he was 18, rising to the rank of Sergeant.

At the age of 22 and 63 days Earle joined the Royal Australian Air Force in Australia on Anzac Day the 25th April 1941. He went to Sommers in Victoria as an Air Gunner and was reclassified as a Pilot. He was honourably discharged 29th May 1946, just over five years later.

A little over two months after he joined, Earle married Jean Margaret Burke on 28th June 1941, who joined the WRAAF after Earle was posted to Rhodesia.

Having completed his basic RAAF training in Australia, Earle and many other Australians were sent to Rhodesia to 225 Flying Training School. He embarked on the Queen Elizabeth with 9th Division A.I.F in September 1941. He transferred to a smaller ship with Italian prisoners aboard and docked in Durban South Africa. From there it was train to Johannesburg and on to Bulawayo in Rhodesia where he received his wings. He was commissioned at the Passing out Parade in September 1942.

Apparently, prior to receiving his wings, he and the others went on strike, because those training them (probably from Britain) tried to force them to do their basic rookie training again. Never or seldom ever do the powers that be give in, but eventually they did so.

He was posted to 601 Squadron at Ben Gardane and went through Malta and Sicily (bombed by Germans) to Italy. Earle left 601 Squadron at Foggia and joined 81 Squadron and departed Italy for Cairo by ship. He picked up Spit 8's and flew to Karachi where the aircraft was repainted and then on to Alipore, outside Calcutta where he looked after stores. He re-joined the Squadron resuming operations 6th February 1944. Earle was behind Jap lines at Broadway and shot down a Jap Togo. He spent April, May June and July 1944 on patrols over Chindwin. In early August he went to Madras.

In September 1944, he was posted back to Australia as a Test Pilot to Parkes NSW. In March 1945 he was posted to RAAF 3 Aircraft Depot Amberley and later RAAF 6 Aircraft Depot Oakey where he tested Spitfire, P40, Seafire, Mustang, Boomerang and Tiger Moth aircraft. He returned to 3AD and test piloted until May 15th 1946 and his last flight was in a Liberator.

Of the 872 pilot hours Earle flew in active service, 356 hours were in Spitfires, with the rest in Tiger Moths, Wirraways and others such as the Harvard and Anson.

Flight Lieutenant "Earle Filshie" RAAF Service No 405546 whose Service decorations in order of mounting are:

1939 – 1945 Star
The African Star
The Burma Star
Italy Star
1939 – 1945 King George VI Service Medal
Two Indian Service Medals, and the
1942 Cross 'Bearing witness to Heroism and Devotion to Duty'

The dog-eared record of service of an amazing war-time career

Learn more about the squadron/s in which Earle served.

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