A World War II RAAF veteran has been presented with a letter of congratulations from the Chief of Air Force to mark his 100th birthday.
Lyall Ellers was also given a framed image of a 100 Squadron Boomerang with a message of congratulations from the current commanding officer of the squadron, Jason Easthope.
Group Captain Greg Weller said it was important for serving members to connect with Air Force veterans from earlier generations.
“We have been reaching out to those who have come before us,” he said.
“Those who not only want to say thank you for their service and being part of the remarkable legacy that today’s aviators have inherited but to also help our younger and emerging veterans better understand and embrace that legacy.
“Knowing the challenges our forebears went through and the sacrifices they made in defence of our nation will help build our current and next generation of aviators to be better ready for the challenges of the future.”
Lyall Ellers was born on September 7, 1923, in Claremont, Western Australia, only two years after the RAAF was first established.
“At 18, he enlisted in the Air Force on the same day – April 26, 1942 – as his brother John enlisted in Adelaide,” wrote Defence in a tribute.
“A year later, Mr Ellers’ older brother Frederick joined but was killed in a RAF Bristol Blenheim crash in India in 1943.
“After undertaking flying training in Western Australia and NSW, Mr Ellers received his Wings in March 1943.
“He completed four separate tours in the Southwest Pacific Area Theatre flying Wirraways with 5 Squadron in Queensland, Boomerangs with 4 Squadron in New Guinea and 85 Squadron in Western Australia, and Kittyhawks with 78 Squadron in the Dutch East Indies.
“While at 78 Squadron, Mr Ellers flew with and was the flight commander for Warrant Officer Len Waters – the RAAF’s only Indigenous fighter pilot in World War 2. In 1946, he discharged from the Air Force at the rank of flight lieutenant.
“Mr Ellers’ family have particularly strong connections to the Air Force. Not only did he and his brothers all serve in the RAAF, but his son, Grant, completed more than 30 years as a RAAF air traffic controller and his wife and sister-in-law both served in the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force during World War 2.”