ROBERT HENDERSON (Bob) KELLY
ROBERT HENDERSON KELLY, AFC, OAM
Bob was born in Sydney and raised in Erina via Gosford. Bob was dux of Gosford High School in 1942 and joined the RAAF in 1943 training as a Wireless Operator. Training (on B-24 Liberators) ended at the same time as the war but Bob remained in uniform. He saw active service during the Malayan Emergency for which he was awarded the Air Force Cross, and his flying career took him all over S.E. Asia from Ceylon to Japan. Bob met wife to be June in 1951 and they were married in 1953. Bob served mostly on Dakota and Neptune aircraft logging a total of 5600 flying hours. He retrained in 1960 studying Indonesian at the RAAF School of Languages at Pt. Cook, performing so well that he was retained for another year as an instructor. He was then posted as an Intelligence Officer at Butterworth in Malaya during the Indonesian Confrontation. Bob then was posted to Canberra working in the Joint Intelligence Organisation and the Directorate of Air Force Intelligence. He had a one year break from Canberra to serve in Vietnam (1969-1970) as an intello with 1ATFHQ at Nui Dat. He retired from the RAAF in 1976 moving to Buderim. Retirement gave plenty of time for travel and other pursuits. As well as devoting time to working at QAM, Bob wrote a detailed four volume history titled Allied Air Transport Operations South West Pacific Area in WWII. Although only three volumes had been published at the time of Bob’s death, he had completed the research for the fourth volume and his family intends to see it published. Bob passed away on 4th May 2013. The Queen’s Birthday Honours List published on 9th June 2014 announced the award of an Order of Australia Medal to Bob Kelly with the award backdated to 2nd October 2012.