AIR VICE-MARSHAL DONALD BENNETT CB, CBE, DSO, FRAeS
Don Bennett was born in Toowoomba on 14.9.1910 and grew up on the family property on the Condamine River. In 1928 Don applied to join the RAAF and after qualifying as a pilot was seconded to the RAF. He gained many qualifications and later joined Imperial Airways becoming a flying boat captain. He gained fame as the pilot of the Short-Mayo composite setting a world record distance for seaplanes. At the beginning of WW2 he set up the Atlantic Ferry to fly purchased American aircraft to the UK. Having rejoined the RAF he was appointed to organize and lead the Pathfinder Force which was to revolutionize the effectiveness of the bomber campaign for the rest of the war. After the war he headed the ill fated BSAA and then a substantial part of the UK contribution to the Berlin Airlift. Subsequently he built light aircraft and motor cars, and was active in politics. He became patron of QAM in January 1984 but passed away suddenly on 15.9.1986.