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Last Post - William Altmann

RAAF Warrant Officer William "Bill" Altmann
Died at home in Moruya (heart attack) 25 Nov 2006

 

It is with great sadness I have to inform you that William Altmann died of a heart attack this morning. For those we have not been able to contact, please accept my apologies for having to inform you in this manner.
Given the suddenness of the event and the need to inform family members who are out of the country we have no firm idea of when the funeral will be held. Jim Altmann and Alex (Tom) Schultz-Altmann will be making the necessary arrangements and will let everybody know when and where the funeral will take place as soon as we can. We understand that Bill was a significant part of many lives and the Moruya community and will be sadly missed. We also understand that many will wish to participate in the process of saying goodbye. We ask the you have patience with us and will try to ensure his farewell allows his family and friends to participate.
Alex can be contacted at the Moruya house on on Mobile: 0407 204137 Jim should also be in Moruya within the next few days.
Best regards
Alex Schultz-Altmann

The funeral date has been set for Saturday the 2nd of December 2006 at 1100 at St Johns Anglican Church. This will be followed by a private cremation and Bill's ashes will be scattered over the old cemetery on Moruya Heads. Bill has had a great deal to do with tracing the story of those buried at the old cemetery and it was his wish to have his ashes scattered there, so he could watch the sun rise in the east. We have not determined when the ashes will be scattered but I will let you all know. We are working with the RSL and others to have a plaque fixed there so we can see where he rests.
The funeral will be followed by a wake at the RSL Hall at 1200. This is being jointly arranged by the Lions Club and RSL.
As a final request Bill did not want flowers at his funeral but wanted the money put to better use. As a result we ask, if you are so inclined, that a donation be made to the erection of the memorial wall project, being run by the Moruay RSL sub branch. This project has been passionately pursued by Bill and it would be a wonderful commemoration if it could be completed by ANZAC day next year. (it is currently short of the required funds).
Vale Bill Altmann
Missed and Mourned, but Celebrated
many thanks
Alex Schultz-Altmann

Devastated to hear about Bill. I've spoken with Alex just a moment ago and passed on my regards.
He would like your contact details including telephone numbers, so he can quickly let you know what is happening. The e-mail address to use initially is wandda@bigpond.com . Alex will set up his e-mail shortly, which is asa@ansa.gov.au , but he said to use the wandda one initially.
He does not mind people sending commiserations to the family by e-mail.
The home phone number there is (02) 4474 3590 but Alex did not suggest using that one.
As an aside he said Bill was watching the cricket and Australia was batting and someone had just wacked a good stroke.
All the best, Ted Arneson

Bill was a friend over many years. Our paths crossed at 30 Sqn 1962, Malaysia... mid 60's, Williamtown 60's - 70's and finally at Suppcom ... late 70's - 81, where we were both "living in" at No 1 SD Tottenham.
We were to later meet up again at Sale and Moruya. At one time we were toying with the possibility of building next door at Moruya Hds, where we were bogged in your driveway.
We had some good times, with many discussions about the meaning of life over a glass or two.
Another good one departed too soon.
Vale Bill, and rest in peace, the world is a better place for you having been there.
Bill and Marie Riley

I first met Bill in 1960-61 when we were in the same hut at "Kings Cross" whilst on course at Wagga. Over the years I had the pleasure to meet with him and tell many lies over quite a few cleansing ales.
All I can add is we have lost a true gentleman and good mate, who will be long rembered. We should not mourn Bill's passing but celebrate him having being here.
He will not be truely dead until he is forgotten, which will not be for a long long time.
Why the good ones.
Thanks for the memories mate.
Greg Gannon

I met Bill at Kingswood in May 1973, as we gathered for a week prior to our setting up camp at the Tuggeranong Bombing Range in June 1973. I worked for Bill at the range right through until the unit’s departure in February 1975. Working for Bill was always interesting as well as rewarding. Under the direction of WOFF Reg Manners, Bill and Reg made a formidable team. Under Bill’s encouragement, the “Tuggeranong Tent Club” was born. Also, under Bill’s encouragement, the Tuggeranong Tent Social Club became a most viable association with the remains of thousands of small practice bombs being used to enhance the club!
Bill was a good leader and had a wicked sense of humour. Yes, the world is a better and different place after Bill’s influence.
Rest well, fellow armourer, you’ve run a good race!
Kind Regards,
John Clarkson.

Bill was a senior LAC when I first arrived at Williamtown in early 1959.  As I recall, Bill Lugg was the W/O and Merv Skinner was there along with Blue Salter, Gordon Blain, Keith "Dad" Roddom, Russ Johnson, and I wish I could remember who else but suffice to say they were all great guys.  I don't know where Bill went after 2OCU but I will always remember him as being extremely helpful to a young Mechanic such as myself and I am deeply saddened to read of his passing.
From Sandy Sanderson

I was so happy to meet Bill again at Penrith last year after nearly forty years. What a sad loss. People like Billy Altmann don't come by often enough.
Rest in peace old mate, we'll meet again,
Mick Cutler

A true gentleman armourer, who respected others, cared for mates, and loved a bloody good time.
Valé Bill
Peter Buce and Keith Davis

I remember meeting Bill at Billsville in the mid-fifty’s. just after he joined the Armament world, he was an A.C and at the time I had just become a Cpl. We became friends and work colleagues. We traveled to Malaya in 58-59 and celebrating his 21st in Penang, we had a darn good night, which I still remember. After our service careers, were completed, we remained in contact and from that first day, he never asked for anything but was always there to offer help. I considered him one of my closest friend (he was like a brother) and he will be sadly missed by all who knew him. He leaves a loving family. Wife, 6 Children and numerous Grand-Children.
R.I.P My Mate Bill.
Titch Nightingale

I was very pleased to be able to attend Bills funeral, for me it was an emotional and moving event. Arriving at Moruya in the evening of Friday, the day before the funeral, Bill’s son Tom picked me up and drove me to Bill’s house, where I was made very welcomed by Bill’s clan, meeting people whom I had never met before and re- acquainting myself with his family whom I had not seen for some thirty years or more plus I met three off Bill’s siblings, which I never knew existed, I knew of Gus, the new three are sisters Marina, who lives in N.Z, Connie who lives in W.A, and brother Fred who lives in South West Rocks N.S.W. If I ever pass through that town again, I will surely look him up and enjoy a beer or two with him. They all have the same looks and sense of humor. Gus lives at Penrith. During the evening the family was planning the lay out, on the top of the casket apart from his medals and cap, they arranged his Gunnies tie plus a couple off badges which was affixed to the tie. Bill’s son Jim was going to place inside the casket a small polished wooden, stained boxes, containing little knick knacks which he had collected, amongst these items were, archery badge, referee (rugby) badge, folding money (Bill always had to have money on his person) two identification plates:1 for a 250 lb and 1 for a 500lb bomb, I guess there must be a story with those plates? Plus other little items. Next day , I was fortunate enough to go with the family for a viewing of Bill, I was a bit apprehensive about the viewing, but was so pleased with myself for doing so, as it helped with my closure, he looked peaceful as though he was asleep. I uttered a few personal words to him. After the viewing we returned home to get dressed for the funeral. After attempting three times to tie my tie, Bill’s wife Dorothy got the poo’s with me and completed the job. Then low and behold Bill’s youngest grandson had a go at me about taking his grandfather’s tie (previously mentioned). I explained to him I had the same tie being it was a gunnies tie, this event bought laughter into the house. Whilst traveling to town, I observed all buildings flying the ensign at half mast, which I remarked about, I was told they had been flying at that position since Bill passed on, what a guy to deserve that honour. I met Roger Killen at the mortuary who had traveled from Canberra with the Air Force Ensign, which was to be placed over the coffin. Most suitable.

My version of the church service.

Arriving at the church, I was amazed at the number of vehicles already there, plus people. I was told after the service, the church was packed with mourners standing at the rear, plus numerous folks sitting or standing outside, it’s almost impossible to put a figure down to the number down, but it would have to be in the hundreds.
The minister started the service mentioning; “William Altmann”, then he paused a second, then said, I know this man as “Bill” who was a staunch member off the parish, who was always the first to help in any project associated with the parish, plus being a member of the R.S.L, Lions, Historical Society and any other organization which needed help, Bill was always first in and last to leave.
Outside Bill’s little car was parked. The minister said, when I arrived , and saw the car, “I said golly Bill’s beaten me again as usual, where the car was also was Bill”.
Grand-daughter Jessica spoke a tribute, she had much difficultly in this task, in true Altmann spirit, Bill’s Son Jim, rose to the occasion, stepped forward placed his hand on her arm, which gave her the strength to continue, another grand-daughter sitting close by me commenced to cry. This event became contagious. Karen (Bill’s Daughter) commenced crying, really crying, I felt tears on my cheeks, I had to leave that situation, and had to switch off to concentrate on the service, and overcome my current emotional state.
Close to the end off the service, Bill’s friend, Graham Scobie, Sang a song called “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” using lyrics about Bill’s life he played a guitar and mouth organ, I considered it a first class performance, and I had much difficulty in abstaining from standing and applauding his performance. Next the R.S.L. service, which was indeed a very moving service with speeches, plus a bugler playing the Last Post plus I think ‘The Retreat’. This was followed by the R S L members placing red poppies on the casket, just in front of the “Gunnies Tie”, this was followed by members off the congregation, I was at a bit of a loss, as I didn’t have a poppy (reason being that I was rushed through the church door) to my allotted position, thereby missing out on a poppy. So I had to watch this file of people placing their poppies on the casket, they all saluted or lowered their heads with respect, I believe the last up was Roger in his Group Captain’s uniform, who by the way looks very fit looking and excellent in uniform. At the conclusion of the service, Bill’s casket was wheeled down the aisle. I fell in behind as I was a pall bearer. I was asked if I would like to be a bearer, I replied by saying, this position I would deem it an honour for me to partake in this task, what better way to see off a bloody good mate, friend and a fellow gunnie. At no stage did I think I may not be able to lift, but I would have died trying. Outside the church , there was a guard of honour of RSL members with shiny medals galore, there may have been 20 or 30 members and as the casket went by each pair they saluted at attention. I felt very proud to observe this mark of respect for my friend, our friend and fellow gunnie, we placed the casket in the hearse and I saluted my friend farewell. In conclusion, the service was better than any other that I have witnessed and quite fitting for our friend and a gunnie. After the hearse drove off , we gather at the RSL hall, there I had a beer with the gunnies in attendance, I only had the one as it was Vic beer and me being a XXXX man, I didn’t find it suitable to my excellent taste buds. We talked, swapped stories and caught up with the passing years. After the wake Wayne and Barbara Atkinson drove me to the Altmanns house, where, on the way I asked if they could take me via the cemetery, which Bill had found on one off his numerous walks, here I believe his ashes are to be scattered, on arriving at the cemetery Barbara my photographer took photograph’s for me. All of my photo’s were taken by her,
I thank her very much.
Titch 2007

 

On behalf of my family, I would like to thank each and every one for there kind thoughts and fond memories. Life takes many paths and Dad walked many in his life’s journey. In doing so Dad had many life experiences and the best for him was his life in the Gunnie family.

Dads careers in the RAAF leaves us his family with many happy memories, and a lot of stories that entail Bombs, Bullets and a hell of a lot of Bullshit as Dad would say.

Again from the entire Altmann Family we would like to say thank you.
Kindest Regards
Jim Altmann