Brian Peter MORRIS was interviewed by Dawn Prus for the Busselton Oral History Group (Inc) on 19th June 2014. It is one of a series of recorded interviews with ex-service personnel funded by Lotterywest to celebrate the Anzac Centenary.
Brian was born in Sydney, New South Wales, in 1951. The eldest son of George Morris and New Zealand-born mother Patricia.
Brian has two brothers, Paul and John, and a sister Sharon.
He attended St Mary’s Primary School in Rydalmere then [St Patrick’s] Marist Brothers Parramatta. He enjoyed school and loved to play rugby league and cricket.
When he left school he was a bank teller for two years.
At the age of 19, on the 14th April 1970, Brian joined the RAAF for three months basic training in South Australia, then aircraft mechanic training in Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.
His first posting was to 5 squadron in Canberra as a helicopter mechanic – seven of the most enjoyable years of his life.
There he met Beryl Machin who was a psychology assistant in the RAAF. They married on the 4th December 1976 and have two children, Teri-Jane and Peter.
On the 4th December 1976 he was one of 46 Australians posted to the Suez Canal as a Peacekeeper in the UN. The UN’s job was to create a buffer zone. Brian patrolled in helicopters as an engineer.
He describes one frightening occasion when the helicopter had to land in the desert. Brian tells of hundreds and hundreds of destroyed tanks left over from the Yom Kippur War and the social camaraderie between the other members from different countries.
On the 4th June 1977 he returned to Canberra, transferred to Richmond in New South Wales to the hydraulic department for 12 months, then did a non-destructive testing course in Ipswich in Brisbane.
After 18 months in Richmond Brian was deployed to Malaysia for two years. His family went with him to Penang and he travelled daily to the base in George Town.
Next he was posted to Darwin for two years as a NDI (non-destructive inspection) technician and describes being frightened at the time of Cyclone Max, then to the RAAF base at Pearce Western Australia for four years and, finally, Brian was posted to a desk job in Melbourne before discharge in Perth in 1990 after 20 years.
It was hard to find a job as his qualifications were not recognised outside of the military. He found a job with Skywest as a maintenance co-ordinator. In 1995 he joined Airflite at Jandakot Airport as a maintenance controller and warranty administrator. He left in 2004 after nine years and joined the RFDS in Victoria.
Brian expressed his feelings on war, the importance of the United Nations’ peacekeeping role, what Anzac Day means to him and his great respect for the courageous soldiers who have fought in wars.