FLYING OFFICER ALLAN VIAL, DFC, OAM, Chev LH [Fra], OPR [Pol], COM [Pol] was born on 10 June1923 in Adelaide, South Australia.
He enlisted in the RAAF Reserve in 1941 and six months later was accepted into the RAAF 30 course intake. In May 1943 he sailed for the UK via America. After completing operational training at OTU Lossiemouth, as an observer, navigator, and bomb-aimer, on 18May 1944 he was posted to 35 Squadron, part of 8 Group Pathfinder Force. He went on to survive 64 trips and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for ‘.. complete disregard of personal safety and …. determination to hit the exact aiming point ..’ He was classified as a Master Bomber and Pathfinder by the PFF commander.
When war ended, he returned to his old job at the Department of Lands in Adelaide where his wartime experiences were put to good use. He established one of the world’s first aerial survey units and pioneered many survey techniques.
QAM has become the home to the memory of the Pathfinders, when Allan co-ordinated the personal bequest of the PFF founder, Air Vice Marshal Don Bennett, CB, CBE, DSO, ( a previous QAM Patron) that his personal papers and memorabilia be placed in the Queensland museum. Allan established the Don Bennett room near the F-111, where Bennett’s papers are housed.
He retained links to the Air Force by establishing Pathfinder Associations in Adelaide and in Queensland, being acclaimed as Life President at the latter. He initiated the establishment of the ‘Young Pathfinder’ trophy for high achievers at RAAF Amberley’s strike force in the early 90s. The trophy is still awarded today for Super Hornet crews.
His enthusiasm for the QAM saw the donation of considerable funds which enabled completion of the major hangar and the Allan Dunoon Building.
In addition to his DFC, he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to The Path Finder Force Association, The Legion of Honour for his assistance in the liberation of France, and two Polish Awards – Officers Cross Order of Polonia Restituta and Gold Cross of Merit with Swords.