Warrant Officer Glen (Fonk) Saville
Glen died of emphysema in 1997 after battling the disease for many years. I remember him being told by the RAAF Doctor in Butterworth than he would die within a few years if he didn't quit smoking. He reckoned his having worked as a youngster in saw-mills started the rot, maybe so, but I remember him still smoking years after his warning. Glenn, served in Butterworth, Phan Rang Bay Vietnam (2 Sqn) and spent time in both the fighter and bomber worlds. Most weekends, he Bev and the kids would head up to Taree from Raymond Terrace to stay at his mother's place. He never stopped talking of the time he would retire up there and go fishing. He worked for some time in the shoe industry in Taree after retirement. A lovely fellow who passed on too quickly and now missed by all who knew him,
I remember the time we were both in 481 Sqn, he a FSGT in Arm Sect, me a SGT at Saltash AWR (Airweapons Range) and as a joke, I teed up this "Yank Pilot" from OCU to bring a PRC 90 hand held radio transceiver out to the range and wait in hiding for Glenn to arrive. I rang Glenn and asked him to stand-in for me while I attended medical sect. Unsuspecting, Glenn came out and climbed up into the control tower and perched in the seat near the radios, I said although there was nothing on the flying program for the day, I had been warned by OCU Op's there could be some "unscheduled bombing".
I took off in the jeep having drummed up the troops to take the phone off the hook in the left quadrant, all phones were linked and if one was off the hook you couldn't ring out.
I sneaked back and sat with the "Yank Pilot" while he called up the Range on the PRC90, telling Glenn that he was bringing "4 B52's on", to drop some 500lb'ers. Glenn splutter through the radio trying to explain that SAWR is a "practice bomb only range", while the Yank beside me demanded entry onto the range, saying that he had been authorized, and was in one way or another, going to drop his bombs. I heard from the troops that Glenn tried desperately to make a call to the base, but couldn't, and that is when the penny dropped and he must have realised that he was a victim of a prank, and because the Yank voice sounded familiar (they played golf together). The yell for my blood over the radio made me wonder if I had gone too far. No worries.
Farewell old mate
I first met Glen Saville at Williamtown in the early 60’s when he was down on exercise with the Canberra’s from Amberley. In May 1969 I was posted back to Williamtown from East Sale and by then Glen was at 481 (M) Sqn. We worked together in the Armament Section and spent a lot of time fishing with Frank Manning. I can recollect being on Frank’s boat off Broughton Island and listening to the Balmain Tigers win the NRL 1969 grand final.
At that time I was posted to 75 (SQN) Butterworth and a couple of months later Glenn was posted in. That gave us a great armament section with Pete Russo, Alan Jones, Max Love Rex Perkins, Paul Doran, John Huxtable, Ron Brett, John Wattus, John Bretton and Jack Coates just to name a few. We did trips to Tengah which involved exercises with the RAF and SAF. I am sure Ron Brett will recall the time the three of us were standing in front of the hangar and two Mirages were returning from a sidewinder sortie, as they banked for finals the dummy on one mirage released. We watched as it arced towards two Vulcans and a Victor parked on the tarmac. Luckily it hit behind the Victor and skidded to a halt near the undercarriage.
Our families lived within a couple of houses of each other and we formed a very close friendship, which still lasts today. Our social life revolved around family, Sgt’s Mess and playing golf. Glen and Paul Doran introduced me to golf for which I have never fully forgiven them.
After Butterworth we went different paths but always kept in contact and met up whenever the occasion arose. We both left the RAAF where I returned to Raymond Terrace and Glen and Bev turned into Gypsies and meandered around in their caravan. They finally saw the light and settled in Tinonee. Xmas 1974 I set up our caravan on Glenn’s front lawn beside the Manning River to enjoy a few days fishing and relaxing. Next day we went fishing and when we returned I was recalled to Richmond to proceed to Darwin as relief manning following cyclone Tracy. So much for our holiday.
We continued to keep in contact and met either here or in Tinonee. One of the saddest occasions I can recall was calling in and seeing how sick Glenn was. He wouldn’t have any of this and threw me in his big car and we were off to the Wingham pub, via the back road, for a couple of Toohey’s black. Bev and Robyn gave us some cold shoulder when we staggered home much later.
Bev and family all live in the local area and we continue to have regular contact. Glen’s premature death is something I have found hard to accept because he was such a good mate.
Above: Glen at Merdeka Beach Butterworth New Years 1970
I knew Glen at 2 sqn in Vietnam. We were corporals (I an engine fitter), and Glen used to teach me how to sail a "sailing board" (?) down at our beach "resort". We drifted apart a bit when Glenn got promoted to Sgt. He was proud of his M.I.D.
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