Air Force Warrant Officer John Wilson.
Air Force Warrant Officer John Wilson. MAX FLEET

OAM to RSL stalwart

THE Bundaberg district’s newest OAM recipient, John Wilson, has a lot to celebrate this week.

Apart from accepting his Order of Australia Medal in the Australia Day honours list today, Mr Wilson was in Dalby celebrating his mother’s 99th birthday yesterday.

Mr Wilson, 74, was recognised by the government for service to veterans and their families through the Wide Bay and Burnett District Branch and Bundaberg Sub-Branch of the RSL.

The Burnett Heads resident said yesterday he was very proud to accept the medal — not only at having received it, but at being considered worthy to be nominated for it.

“I’m certainly very appreciative of that, and very happy to accept it,” he said.

“It surprised me when I was informed about it.”

Mr Wilson said he had been a member of the RSL for more than 30 years, and joined the Bundaberg Sub-Branch in 1985.

He was president for 20 years and has been district president for 13 years.

However, he will step down from that role in March at the annual conference.

But he planned to remain heavily involved with the RSL.

Mr Wilson joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1952 as a 16-year-old.

He served in Thailand, in Vietnam for a year, in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and almost three years in Singapore.

Mr Wilson said he served in the RAAF’s supply branch, working some of the time in the air movement section, where he co-ordinated the loading and unloading of aircraft.

He retired in 1980 and moved to the Bundaberg district.

Mr Wilson said he had not expected an award.

“You don’t look towards these sorts of things when you’re just doing what you like doing,” he said.

“Everything has been a great experience, and I’ve enjoyed myself immensely, especially the camaraderie in the RSL.”

Mr Wilson said his job was made easier with the support from his wife Leone.

“She is also involved in the RSL and RAAF association,” he said.

“My wife served in the RAAF too, and that’s where I met her.”

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