Reginal Ernest (Rex) Cormie
died 11 Sep 74
at Mona Vale NSW.
Rex (Sqn Ldr) was at No 2 Aircraft Depot in 1961 when I arrived. He was the OIC of AES of which Armament Section was a part.
As my big boss he signed my clearances, of course, and asked me if I could play Rugby (he was also the Rugby Officer)? Having played a few games in Victoria for Footaslavia, I was informed that I would be playing alongside another gunnie "Lloyd Allen".
Even though Rex was the Senior ArmO (Don Flint was the ArmO) we never saw Rex in the Section, as he was tied up with running AES.
I remember a time when we had the job of sweeping the floor in the AES hangar, one corner of which was the "Ejection Seat Safety Training Section" and run by Sefus Comer. A Sgt Nightingale was in charge of us sweepers and apparently we were not performing the job too well, as Titch grabbed a broom and was intent on showing us how to do it. A minute or two into the job, an almighty roar came from Rex Cormie's office. "Sergeant Nightingale come here!"
We heard the dressing down Rex gave Titch through the office windows. To the effect "if you want to sweep floors I will make you an LAC". At the time, I thought Titch would remain a sergeant for the rest of his life. Rex was known to be a tough man.
I lost my place on the rugby team after failing to appear at a game at Nirimba against the Navy and Rex swore that "you will never have a sportie again Riley, as long as your arse point to the ground". I thought looking over a house for rent was more important, and he wouldn't notice that one of his 2 gunnies was missing. Dumb! .... I got the house though.
I also remember the time when Cpl Terry (Whizzer) Falzon appeared on Rex's parade wearing sunglasses. Rex of course took exception to the corporal under the shades especially when Whizzer told him he had a medical certificate to wear them because the glare affected his eyes. Not to be outdone by a mere Cpl, Rex found a clause in Orders that you could wear sunnies or alternatively a HATS FUR FELT. And from that day on poor Whizzer was made to wear his slouch hat whereever he went. While the rest of us wore a beret or cap, Terry stuck out like a sore thumb with the SLOUCHIE!
Regards Bill Riley
The R.A.A.F. serving in Malaya, in aerial combat alone, shot down 51 Japanese aircraft, destroyed many ships, and caused many casualties.
R.A.A.F. units performed magnificently in Sumatra and Java also.
In Malaya, one Australian wing flew Brewster Buffaloes and Lockheed Hudson bomber-reconnaissance aircraft, and credit for the arrival at Singapore of six large convoys of reinforcements and equipment was largely due to them. The aircraft of this squadron gave warning of approach of enemy convoys to Kota Bharu, Endau, and Palembang, and subsequently bombed Japanese troopships, landing craft, and troops on the beaches. Each time, they sank transports, ships and barges, and killed large numbers of the enemy. At Kota Bharu their aim was so accurate that the first landing attempt was repulsed, and at Palembang the Japanese suffered fantastic losses.
During these operations, there were many feats of gallantry. In the retirement down the west coast of Malaya, Sergeant Reginald Ernest Cormie, of Adamstown, a member of a fighter squadron, provided air force crews for two armoured cars which would otherwise have had to be abandoned. Cormie kept one in action against the enemy all the way to Kuala Lumpur, and the Army took over the other one.
From an article gleaned by Ron Brett (our bloodhound researcher)