Family’s war hero visits HMAS Cairns

Published on ABHSO Kate Jolley (author and photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Cairns, QLD

Topic(s): HMAS Cairns

WWII veteran Victor Glann and son Mark tour HMAS Cairns base. (photo: ABHSO Kate Jolley)
WWII veteran Victor Glann and son Mark tour HMAS Cairns base.

The term ‘war hero’ ignites a special place in the hearts of most Australians. The idea that so many men and women we never knew risked their lives to protect our country and way of life stirs feelings of patriotism and pride. The bravery, honesty and humility of those who served shines like a beacon, and Victor ‘Skipper’ Glann originally from Randwick in NSW is one such individual.

Having joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1941 at the age of 18, Victor Glann graduated from the Senior Flying Training School in 1942. Following graduation, Mr Glann was assigned to a Royal Air Force Bomber Command for further training for the Allied offensive over Europe.

In December of 1943 Victor Glann was placed as the Captain, ‘Skipper’, with Squadron 207 stationed at Spillsbury in the United Kingdom. Alongside a crew of another six brave men, Victor Glann then proceeded to undertake an impressive 35 missions during the remaining years of the Second World War.

These missions included six ‘sorties’ over the heavily defended Berlin, Mali Camp in France, a SS Panther Division at Nuremberg in Germany, Allied Troop Support, mine deployment over the Baltic Sea and ‘D-Day’ gun emplacement in Normandy, France on 6 June 1944.

Victor Glann’s son Mark, a local Cairns resident, wanted to do something special for his dad who for medical reasons was unable to attend the recent remembrance events in Normandy, France.

91-year old Victor had no idea what his son had in store for him when he was driven through the main gate at Royal Australian Navy base HMAS Cairns last week.

WWII veteran Victor Glann and son Mark tour HMAS Cairns base.

WWII veteran Victor Glann and son Mark tour HMAS Cairns base.

Accompanied by Lieutenant Commander Damien Casey, who gladly volunteered his morning to help out, Victor Glann was treated to some local military engagement courtesy of his proud son and the Royal Australian Navy.

The visitors first viewed all of the Navy ships alongside Cairns and then spent sometime with Cairns Commanding Officer, Commander Tony Powell, where the two men reflected on the lessons of history.

Like most war veterans Victor Glann doesn’t talk much about his wartime service, as such his son Mark only recently learned just how extensive his father’s service history was. Noting the additional memory of his grandfather, Robert Glann, who was stretcher bearer on the Western Front during the First World War, Mark presented his father with a tribute to the past two family generations.

Mounted in a frame handmade by Victor himself at an RSL ‘Men’s Shed’, Mark proudly displayed both his father’s and grandfather’s medals as mark of honour and recognition of their personal sacrifices. The tribute recognised the Glann family’s contribution to the freedom the people of Australia enjoy today.

Mark said his Dad does not see himself as a hero.

“He was very proud to be associated with the brave and dutiful men in his crew.”

Victor now resides in an aged care facility in the Sunshine Coast, but still keeps in contact with the surviving members of his crew. Some bonds can just never be broken.