Sunday History Photo / Person

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 03:48
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Terence Lawless Duigan, known as Terry, was born on December 16, 1916, in Kyneton, Victoria, the second son of Reginald Charles and Phyllis Mary Duigan. Terry's secondary education was at Colac High School and later at Geelong College.

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In December 1939 Terry completed the degree of Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Melbourne and graduated in April the following year. In his final year he won a prize for his design for the Vice Chancellor's House, which was later constructed.
On the commencement World War II in September 1939, Terry enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force but was not called up until May 1940. His initial training took place at Laverton, Somers and Point Cook and he obtained his wings on November 15, 1940, the same day he was married.
From April through to late October 1941, Terry was based in Port Moresby, New Guinea, with 11 Squadron flying Short Empire boats on patrol around the islands of New Caledonia, New Hebrides, the Solomons, New Britain and the Netherlands East Indies.

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October 22, saw him again at Rathmines converting to Catalinas, known then as PBYs, which had been added to No 11 Squadron.
In December 1941 Terry was posted to Laverton for a special course in navigation but was cut short in mid January 1942 because of the deteriorating conditions in New Guinea with invasion of the Japanese. He was posted back to Rathmines to complete his training on Catalinas before returning to Port Moresby to go into active service against the enemy on January 26, The Catalinas were eventually based at Cairns in June 1942.
Flights of 22 hours were not uncommon especially when on patrol over a convoy. These consisted of the flight from Cairns, usually at 1 or 2am, to wherever the ships were steaming, circling over them during the hours of daylight and finally, the return flight arriving about the same time next morning.
From May to December, 1943, Terry was instructing on Catalinas at Rathmines. In December he flew to the USA to ferry home a PBM - Glenn Martin Mariner. From January to June 1944, he resumed instruction on Catalinas.
In June 1944, together with Bob Hirst, Terry converted onto B-24 Liberators, the first pilots in the RAAF to do so. They were based in Port Moresby with American 5th Air Force in June and July and with their own Australian crews, operated from Darwin with the American 530 Bomb Squadron 380th BG, through August and September, 1944.

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In October an Australian squadron of Liberators was formed in Southern Queensland at Leybourne, which transferred to Fenton in January, 1945. This squadron operated out of RAAF Fenton until May 1945, when it transferred to Moratai in the Halmaheras.
Terry remained with the squadron until July when he was sent to the United States to ferry home a Liberator. While he was there in August, waiting for his aircraft to be ready, the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan and peace was declared. Lend-Lease ceased over night, so he was marooned in America for some months before returning home on a cargo ship in November.
Terry flew 3380 hours in total, 2240 on Catalinas and 600 odd on Liberators, thus was one of the longest serving pilots in the RAAF during the war.
On return to civilian life in 1946, Terry joined the firm of Buchan, Laird and Buchan, Architects in Geelong and remained with them until retirement. Among the most notable buildings of his design are the Geelong Grammar School at Timbertop, The Marcus Oldham College and the early buildings of Deakin University in Geelong.

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A monument designed by Terry Duigan was erected in Cairns to honour the Catalina pilots and crew, many who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the dark days of WW2 in the Western Pacific.

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Reply By: Member - GeeTee (NT) - Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 03:56

Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 03:56
An interesting early morning read .

Thanks Doug.
AnswerID: 462005

Reply By: Member Bushy 04(VIC) - Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 07:34

Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 07:34
Brilliant article Doug, its good to hear about people like this.
Always look forward to your Sunday article.
AnswerID: 462009

Reply By: B1B2 - Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 10:58

Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 10:58
G'day Doug,
Very interesting stuff, the Catalinas were also based at Lake Boga in Victoria. I'll check out he monument next time I am in Cairns.


AnswerID: 462026

Reply By: Member - Christopher P (NSW) - Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 15:15

Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 15:15
rathmines airbase today.

Thanks Doug.
Always apprieciative of Australian history.

I hope you don't mind, but i have added a photo link of the old rathmines airbase today.
AnswerID: 462047

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 17:28

Sunday, Aug 07, 2011 at 17:28
Doug - do you know if there was any relationship between this bloke and John and Reginald Duigan?

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