New Guinea Engineer: The Memoirs of Les Bell M.B.E.
World War II Royal Australian Air Force Flying Officer Les Bell, MBE recounts startling tales of settlement in Northern Queensland, the equatorial coconut and gold empires of German and Australian New Guinea, and the country's island archipelagos. In 1914 Les, aged 10, won his first Scout badge for collecting sugar bags for use in WW1 but he valued most his introduction to Morse Code. As a radio amateur (ham) Les maintained contact with operators around the world. He won ham contest certificates, among others, from Stampede City, China, Japan and the Napier Women Operators Club in New Zealand. The American Radio Relay League Inc. honoured him with their highest A1 Operator Certificate. He served in radar units in the Pacific war and won his MBE at the Battle of New Britain. In the war Les had killed Japanese but, in the peace that followed, he and his canny wife Bertha booked a tour of Japan and stayed 18 weeks. In 1945 Les returned to Kavieng and cleared away daisycutter bombs among the detritus of war. Retiring to Whitsunday Passage Les found himself among settlers of the now burgeoning tourist sun-mecca of Airlie Beach where he died in 2000 aged 95.
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aboard Abubu aircraft Airlie Beach American arrived asked Atherton Australian barge Bell Bertha Bill boat bombers bombs bought brother Burns Philp Cairns canoe cargo Carpenters charge coconut copra didn’t doover Emira engine everything feet ﬁght ﬁghter ﬁnd ﬁnished Finschhafen ﬁre ﬁrm ﬁrst ﬁsh ﬁve ﬂying gave German Guinea Harry Holland Haus Solwara head Helga Herberton installed Ireland island Jack Jack Clayton Japanese Kavieng Kutok labourers land later Lincoln looked Marta Masta miles Milne Bay morning motor Mussau Namatanai night no-one ofﬁce ofﬁcial operator Paciﬁc Papua Paslogi picked plane plantation planted Port Moresby Queensland RAAF Rabaul radar radar station radio reef riﬂe River road sail Salamaua schooner scrub typhus sent ship Soubu Stan started Sydney told took Toop Townsville transport trees truck Tsili Tung village wanted weeks wharf wife Wilde Wilde’s workshop yards