France says thank you for Reginald's Liberation efforts
HAVING flown bombers over Germany and transporting "VIP personnel and the likes" on trunk flights during the Second World War, Reginald Miles was recognised for his participation in the Liberation of France.
Mr Miles attended a group Legion of Honour award ceremony for veterans of the Second World War and received an insignia of Chevalier in the French National Order.
The ambassador of France to Australia Christophe Lecourtier bestowed Mr Miles with the French decoration of Chevalier dans l'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur on September 23, 2016.
The medal was France's way to express gratitude toward those who risked their lives for the Liberation of France.
"This goes back to June 6, 1944, D-Day, it was when the invasion of France took place," Mr Miles said.
"The French government decided to give medals to sailors, soldiers, airmen and everyone who where involved in D-Day.
"I am very humbled to receive this award and my kids, who encouraged me to attend, were very chuffed."
Mr Miles entered into service in the Royal Air Force, United Kingdom's aerial warfare force, in 1939.
"I enrolled in the number one school of technical training and qualified as an Aircraft Engineer Fitter in October 1940," he said.
"For six months I was stationed at various units in the UK as an engine fitter, repair and salvage of crashed aircraft during the Battle of Britain.
"I queued up with thousands of other to join the forces to find myself on a ship not knowing where I was going.
"I ended up in the Atlantic being sea sick and the rest of it - and who knows where you are going to end up - I ended up in South Africa.
"In 1941 I served as an engine fitter at 27 Air School Bloemspruit in South Africa, moved to RAF Lympe in the UK servicing and repairing typhoon fighter bombers in 1943 and later that year trained as a flight engineer on Lancaster bombers."
In 1944 Mr Miles seconded to the Royal Canadian Air Force as a flight engineer and second pilot flying four engined bombers over Germany and its' captured areas by night and day.
"I never got shot down but I did lose a crew with the Canadians. I got injured and I couldn't go with them that night and they took a spare flight to India and it got shot down," Mr Miles said.
"I went down to see if my crew had come back - the commanding officer nearly wet his knickers because he had sent my mother a telegram to say I was missing."
Mr Miles completed 41 bombing missions with RCAF squadrons 432 and 420 flying Halifax Mark III bombers and in 1945 was commissioned as pilot officer.
He also established trunk routes from the UK to India, and return via Malta, North Africa, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, Pakistan and Ceylon; and was promoted to flying officer.
He handed in his commission in 1946.
Mr Miles came to Australia in 1965 with his late wife Phyll and worked in a lot of different jobs including leasing and managing Golden Fleece service stations in South Australia.
Mr Miles has lived in Maryborough for 10 years.