Timothy's descendants who served in World War 2

Timothy Sullivan's descendants served in both world wars, and some died . This article remembers those descendants and related family members and their service in the Second World War.

Ten of Timothy's great grandchildren served in the Second World War, and all survived. These direct descendants were:

Donald Maxwell Bowering
Rowland Dudley Bowering
Albert Frederick Sullivan
Ronald Clive Sullivan
John Aubrey Salter
Edgar Albert Salter
Ronald Grose Sullivan
Geoffrey Ernest Sullivan
Brian Harold Sullivan
Phillip Grose Sullivan


Donald Maxwell Bowering (known as Max) was born in 1916 at the School House at Murat Bay, Ceduna, South Australia, the first son of Benjamin Percy Bowering and his wife Ellen May (nee Williams).

He enlisted in the Army in 1940 and served for 14 months in the 10th Battalion based at Warradale in Adelaide. This proved to be not what his expectations were, so after applying to join the RAAF and being accepted, he transferred to the air force.

He enlisted in the RAAF as a Trainee Wireless Mechanic in November 1941, service number 47237, aged 25, single, Baptist, and previously a bank teller with Bank SA. He was promoted to the rank of Wireless Mechanic in July 1942, and then Wireless Maintenance  Mechanic in December 1942. On his discharge in January 1946 he had attained the rank of Corporal.


          Soldier Max                                                                                                                                Airman Max
Photos courtesy of Bowering Family

After completeing his training at Pt Cook in Victoria he was posted to the Northern Territory to Darwin and other remote locations during the period of Japanese bombing of Darwin and other Northern Territory targets. He was involved in setting up and maintaining radio communication facilities.


Rowland Dudley Bowering, was born at Fitzroy in South Australia on 11th April, 1922 to Parents Benjamin Percy Bowering and wife Ellen May (nee Williams). He was younger brother to Donald Maxwell Bowering

He enlisted in the Air Force in October 1942, service number 429867, single, aged 20, Baptist and working as a clerk. He undertook aircrew training in Victoria, and in January 1943 when was promoted to air crew, and in July was made an Air Gunner and temporary Sargeant. In October 1943 he arrived in the UK to continue training and was promoted to temporary Flight Sargeant in January 1944. In March 1944 he joined RAF 40 Squadron and commenced active service involving bombing raids over Europe.

In the Second World War RAF 40 Squadron operated in several theatres: flying Blenheims and Wellingtons from bases in England it bombed targets in France, the Low Countries and Germany; flying Wellingtons from bases in the Middle East it bombed targets in North Africa, Sicily, Sardinia, Rhodes, Crete, Greece, Pantellaria, Lampedusa and Italy; and flying Welling tons and Liberators from a base in Italy (Foggia Main) it bombed targets in Italy and the Balkans. Rowland Bowering flew over 35 sorties in Wellingtons totalling about 350 hours flying time.

On 24/10/1944 Flt. Sgt. RD Bowering was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal on 24/10/1944 "for skill and determination in flying operations against the enemy". The official citation in his war service record reads:

"Since March 1944 this airman has taken part in many operational sorties. In July 1944 he was rear gunner of an aircraft detailed to attack an airfield at Feuersbrun. The attack was made against fierce night fighter opposition and when his aircraft was engaged by a Junkers 88, Flight Sargeant Bowering gave his captain concise and accurate directions. He witheld his fire until the enemy fighter was within close range, when a short and accurate burst of fire caused it to crash to the ground in flames. This airman has participated in attacks on many well defended and important targets in Italy, Roumania and Bulgaria. In addition he has attacked ground defences, including searchlights and gun sites with his guns, inflicting considerable damage on enemy installations and aircraft on the ground."

In August 1944 he was promoted to Pilot Officer, with a further promotion to his final rank of Flying Officer in February 1945.



Albert Frederick Sullivan was born in Marungi Victoria in 1918, the second son and sixth of eight children of Arthur Herbert Sullivan and wife Mary (nee Alexander).

He enlisted in the Army in October 1942, service number NX140863.  He served with 2/1 Pioneer Battalion , and was discharged in January 1946 with the rank of corporal.

By late 1942 the 2/1 Pioneeer Battalion had returned from Tobruk and was in Papua New Guinea with A, B and C Companies moved to Owers’ Corner at the base of the Kokoda Trail and up the track through Uberi to Ioribaiwa. The battalion patrolled and manned defensive positions along Imita Ridge. It also helped the 14th Field Regiment move their 25-pounder guns up the track to the foot of Imita Ridge.

More draining work followed when the three companies moved to 9-mile Quarry in November. For the next seven months the pioneers worked as miners and labourers in two plants, producing crushed metal used to surface airfields and roads. Work at the quarry was frustrating and morale was low. At the same time, D Company was in Milne Bay helping to develop the area’s infrastructure. They built trestle bridges and maintained roads.

The battalion returned to Australia in October 1943 and, after leave, regrouped at Wongabel on the Atherton Tablelands. Located with the 6th Division the pioneers could concentrate on infantry training. It was with the 7th Division, though, the battalion would again go to war.

Devised towards the end of the war, the OBOE operations aimed to reoccupy areas of the Netherlands East Indies, with the 9th and 7th Divisions making amphibious landings on Borneo in 1945. The 9th Division landed on Tarakan in May, and Labuan Island and Brunei Bay in June; the 7th Division landed at Balikpapan at the start of July.

The 2/1st came ashore at Balikpapan on 1 July, the first day of the battle. After working to consolidate the beachhead, the battalion’s next task was to help defend Balikpapan Harbour. Crossing Balikpapan Bay in landing craft, A Company were sent to patrol the Penadjam and Riko Rivers, while B Company went to Tempadung. In August D Company moved out along Milford Highway.

Japan surrendered on 15 August. With the war over the ranks of the 2/1st gradually thinned, as men were discharged or transferred. What was left of the battalion returned to Australia in December and on 18 February 1946 the 2/1st was disbanded. Albert Frederick had been discharged in January 1946 with the rank of corporal. (Australian War Memorial War Histories)


Ronald Clive Sullivan was the only son of Charles Frederick Sullivan and wife Nellie. Charles Frederick had died whilst on service in the first World War.

Ronald Clive Sullivan aged 32 enlisted in October 1942 in Melbourne in the RAAF, service number 120048. He was discharged in Darwin in January1946 with the rank of flying officer.

G5     TS/JS/CS/ JOHN AUBREY SALTER (1912 - 1998) 

John Aubrey Salter ("Aub") was the second child and first son born to Francis James Salter and wife Clarice (nee Sullivan).

Because he only had vision in one eye as a result of a work accident on the farm, "Aub" was probably rejected as unfit for enlistment in the regular army, so he enlisted in the Volunteer Defence Corps instead. He enlisted at Hannaford Queensland in May 1942 and served in the 7th Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps (Qld).

The Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC) was an Australian part time volunteer military force of World War II modelled on the British Home Guard. The VDC was established in July 1940 by the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) and was initially composed of ex-servicemen who had served in World War I. The government took over control of the VDC in May 1941, and gave the organisation the role of training for guerrilla warfare, collecting local intelligence and providing static defence of each unit's home area.

Following the outbreak of the Pacific War, the Government expanded the VDC in February 1942. Membership was open to men aged between 18 and 60, including those working in reserved occupations. As a result, the VDC reached a peak strength of almost 100,000 in units across Australia.

As the perceived threat to Australia declined the VDC's role changed from static defence to operating anti-aircraft artillery, coastal artillery and searchlights. Members of inland VDC units were freed from having to attend regular training in May 1944 and the VDC was officially disbanded on 24 August 1945.

"Aub" wasdischarged as a private in late 1945.

G5     TS/JS/CS/ EDGAR ALBER SALTER (1916 - 2011)

Edgar Albert Sullivan was the third child born to John Francis Salter and wife Clarice (nee Sullivan). He was born in Flemington, Melbourne, on 9/6/1916

EdgarsalterHe enlisted in the Army in July 1942 service number Q265354, single, Church of England, and with occupation of "Poperty Manager." He was not classified as fully fit due to defective sight in one eye. About 3 months later in October  he re-enlisted this time as a Signalman in the 12 Australian Technical Maintenance Section, with a new Service Number QX58789. This time he listed his profesion as "Radio Mechanic."

He trained with the Australian Lines of Communication (L of C) Signals group in Victoria, and then in March 1943 he was posted to the signals groups operating in Adelaide River Northern Territory. This group was involved in wireless communication traffic across the South Pacific. In April 1943 he was upgraded to a Grade 1 Instrument Mechanic. In June that year he was posted to the the School of Wireless in Sydney, and was then posted to Victoria for more training. In August he was posted to Morotai, in the Molucca Islands in northern Indonesia, after its recapture from the Japanese. In December that year he was transferred to the 88 High Speed Wireless Communications Section.

The Japanese had surrendered in early September 1945, and in January 1946 Edgar was transferred to Tokyo as part of the wireless communications operations being set up in post war Japan. In May 1946 he was promoted to corporal. In March 1947 he returned to Australia and was demobilised on his return.

Photo courtesy of Mrs Joy Gordon


Ronald Grose Sullivan, the oldest of the four sons of Ernest Sullivan and wife Merva (nee Broadbent), was born in Broken Hill in 1919.

Ron enlisted in the RAAF (Service Number 60156) in Sydney in July 1941. The 1943 electoral roll has Ronald Grose Sullivan, fitter, residing at 81 Wigram Rd, West Sydney. It's unknown what his civilian profession was on enlistment, but the electoral roll suggests he was involved in aircraft mainetenace in some way.  Around 1943 Ron was transferred to the RAAF base at Tocumwal. 

By 19th February 1942 Australia was under attack, with Japan launching the first of 64 air raids on Darwin. Invasion appeared imminent and before the arrival of the American Forces, the country was virtually defenceless, and it seemed that northwest Australia would have to be sacrificed. In an effort to concentrate defences in the south east of the continent, the Brisbane Line strategy was adopted, a final defence line drawn between Brisbane and Melbourne. Tocumwal, being right on the Brisbane Line, was selected for a heavy bomber base for the United States Army Air Corps.

So great was the emergency, there was no time to give land owners notice, with local property owners forced to vacate and then see their properties immediately bulldozed. 2700 construction workers of the Allied Works Council began creating the huge airbase and working day and night, they had a runway ready for first landings in 5 weeks. They commandeered farm tractors, trucks, horses, anything to frantically complete the task. Over an area of 5,200 acres, they built 4 runways up to 1,850 metres in length, 112 kms of roadways and taxiways, 6.4 kms of branch railway line to a new rail platform on the field, 7 giant hangars to house the big Liberator bombers, 600 other buildings for hangars, workshops, mess halls, sleeping quarters, administration and a 200 bed hospital. In just 16 weeks, after expenditure of A$6 million, they built, in Tocumwal, the largest aerodrome in the southern hemisphere.

On completion of the aerodrome at the end of April 1942, the Americans poured in with all their aircraft and equipment. They named it “McIntyre Field” and established a huge supply and services base ready to back-up combat bases in the north of Australia, preparing for the then expected invasion of the mainland. The air was filled with their B17 Flying Fortresses, Kittyhawks, Airacobras, Vultee Vengeances, Dakotas and on the ground the streets were alive with convoys of military trucks, jeeps, motor-cycle despatch riders and squads of American personnel.

Many of those personnel were welcomed into the homes of local residents where they were treated with a taste of home and family life and happily partnered the young ladies of the district to cinemas & dances. But then, on the 8th May 1942, virtually eight days after completing the aerodrome, everything changed. The battle of the Coral Sea, for the first time, stopped Japan’s southward advance, and with further successes at Midway, Milne Bay and Kokoda, the threat of invasion steadily receded. The American General George C. Kenney commanding Allied Air Forces in the S-W Pacific Area looked at Tocumwal Aerodrome and said – “Mighty fine air base - just shift it 2,000 miles north closer to the enemy” ! Which is exactly what the Americans did, transferring to Queensland and building Garbutt Air Base at Townsville for the next stage of their advance towards Japan. For the remainder of the war, American units rotated through Tocumwal on special training courses in signals, navigation, bombing and gunnery, engine repair and maintenance, a total of 7,000 American personnel, a major presence in Tocumwal.

After the Americans left the RAAF took over the base as a giant multi-function depot for aircraft repair and maintenance and training base for recruits, bomber aircrews and paratroopers. All types of aircraft came in - battered planes from combat zones for urgent repair, new planes ferried in from overseas to be serviced, modified, armed and made fully operational. At its peak in 1944/45, there were 5,000 RAAF personnel on the base, including 400 WAAAF’s, these young girls fulfilling a vital role in the running of the air force. The impact upon the small township of Tocumwal was enormous - the shops and cafes and pubs were inundated. Church congregations swelled to capacity, romances led to weddings. There was entertainment in homes, cinemas and dance halls and cricket, football, tennis and swimming were all popular forms of recreation.

During Ron's time at Tocumwal he met Shepparton girl Rosina Simpson Burgess at a dance in Numurkah which in due course led to their marriage in the Shepparton Methodist Church in 1944.

At some time towards the end of the war, Ron was transferred again, this time to the RAAF No1 Flying Boat Repair Depot at Lake Boga, also in Victoria.

 When the Japanes attacked Darwin and Broome in 1942 resulting in the loss of 16 flying boats, the establishment of a safe haven for flying boats was required inland as a remote facility outside the range of Japanese airplanes. Lake Boga was picked as it allowed almost unlimited choice of landing/take off directions and was free of obstructions. It was also close to nearby infrastructure, with vacant land around its foreshore, an adjacent railhead and highway, electricity from Swan Hill and telecommunications.

Lake Boga was commissioned in June 1942.  The No 1 Flying Boat Repair and Service Depot  was set up to provide the repair and servicing requirements. Facilities constructed at the base included workshops and hangars on the foreshore, a stores area, living quarters, sick quarters at Castle Donnington, a first-aid and dental post, a radio transmitting station and a VHF transmitting station. Flying boats serviced, repaired, restored, rebuilt or overhauled during the operation of the base were  Catalinas, Dorniers, Kingfishers, Short Sunderlands , Supermarine Walrus and Martin Mariner. During the Depot’s wartime life personnel undertook large volumes of work. 416 aircraft were serviced, repaired, restored, rebuilt or overhauled. In the five years of Depot life, there were more than 1050 aircraft arrivals/departures and an estimated 800 test flights (plus associated “unofficial aerobatics”). In addition to RAAF aircraft, many allied flying boats used the Lake Boga Depot for repairs, including those of the United States of America and the Netherlands. At peak operation 39 Officers, 802 Airmen and 102 WAAAF’s staffed the depot.

Ron was discharged in December 1945 with the rank of Leading Aircraftman, No 1 Flying Boat Repair Depot. The base at Lake Boga closed in November 1947.


Geoffrey Ernest Sullivan, born 25/07/1922 in Broken Hill, is the second of the four sons of Ernest Sullivan and wife Merva (nee Broadbent.) When  war  broke  Geoff aged 19 also enlisted in the RAAF (Service Number 28179) in Broken Hill, on 10/07/1940. He served at his trade and also became a Trainee Pilot.


Brian Harold  Sullivan was born in Broken Hill on 15/06/1924, the third son to Ernest Sullivan and wife Merva (nee Broadbent). 

Brian, aged 18, enlisted in the RAN on 28/07/1942 (Service Number PA2973), as an able seaman with a home port of Port Adelaide. After training at HMAS Cerberus he saw active service on the Westralia.

The Westralia commenced her wartime career as an Armed Merchant Cruiser. In early 1943 she was converted to a Landing Ship Infantry at Sydney. A period of training exercises at Port Stephens followed before she began operations transporting United States Marines to Goodenough Island in September. The remainder of the year was spent in landing exercises and transport of troops to Goodenough Island and the operations at Arawe, New Britain.

In January 1944 Westralia landed United States troops at Cape Cretin (New Guinea). En route from the area on 28 January she was attacked by Japanese aircraft and suffered casualties and damage which was, fortunately, insufficient to put her out of commission. On 5 February she was back at Cape Cretin with reinforcements. March and April were spent operating in New Guinea waters including the landings at Hollandia

Westralia then returned to Sydney in May 1944 for refitting. In July she again began transporting troops to the forward areas operating from New Guinea bases. August was spent mainly in the Solomons on training exercises, followed by similar duties in the Aitape (New Guinea) area in September. In October 1944 she took part in the landings at Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. Westralia spent December in the Solomons and at Manus before returning to the Philippines for the Lingayen landings in January 1945. There she experienced an attempted Kamikaze attack by a Japanese aircraft. Only minor damage was sustained.

In addition to his time at Cerberus Brian also spent shore time at the Rushcutter base in Sydney, and the Penguin and Torrens bases.

He was discharged on 23/07/1946 with the rank of Able Seaman.


Phillip Grose Sullivan was born at Prospect in Adelaide in May 1922, the second child and only son of Eric Wilfred Sullivan and wife Adeline (nee Broadbent).

pgsPhil received his mobilisation call up whilst in his second year BSc studies at the University of Adelaide, and enlisted in the Army Reserve in September 1941 aged 19, service number S27312. He underwent 70 days reservist training at the Warradale Barracks between December 1941 and March 1942, and then stayed in the Reserves during 1942 whilst he completed his degree.

He then re-enlisted in the RAN Reserves as an ordinary seaman in early January 1943 service number PA/3480. He had almost 3 months basic training at the HMAS Cerberus base in Victoria, and in March 1943 was posted to the HMAS Lonsdale base for training as a radio mechanic. After 6 months training he returned to Cerberus, and after a further month was transferred from the Navy Reserve to the Navy proper in October 1943, and was graded as an Acting Leading Radio Mechanic. He was then transferred to the HMAS Rushcutter base in Sydney for further training in the technical side of Radar operations.

After 6 months at Rushcutter he was posted in May 1944 to the HMAS Ladaya base in Milne Bay New Guinea. The radar mechanics operated from a small vessel called the "Jon Jim" moored in Milne Bay. He spent some months on secondment to the HMAS Colac, and appears to have had secondments to the Warramunga, Rockhampton and Whang Pu. He was re-posted from Milne Bay to Madang  in September 1944 with a promotion to Acting Petty Officer Radar Mechanic.

He remained at Madang until the end of May 1945. During this time he undertook secondments to various HMAS ships including the Kapunda, the Wagga, the Katoomba, the Swan, the Rockhampton and the Colac. During these secondments he sailed to Meous Wendi, Halmaheras, Moratai, Aitape and Wewak. Most of the abovementioned vessels were shallow draft  "Corvettes" employed as either minesweepers or convoy support duties. Phil mentioned at one stage a torpedo passing directly under the keel whilst on patrol, and he was onboard the Colac during the assualt on Wewak in mid May.

In late May 1945 he was reposted to the HMAS Kuttabul base in Sydney for several months, then back to Cerberus, then onto HMAS Watson on South Head Sydney which was by then the centre for radar training, where he was appointed a Petty Officer Radar Mechanic in October 1945.

He was discharged in February 1946 despite attempts by the Navy to retain him to cover a navy-wide shortage of radar mechanics. He married later that same month in Adelaide, and returned to Sydney shortly thereafter to civilian employment with Imperial Chemical Industries at Botany.