Murray Adams, Veteran, Gets to Spend Time with His Old Plane

Murray Adams was a pilot in the Second World War. Now in his mid-90s, his fighting days are long behind him. Still, as with many veterans, his history in the war remains a big part of who he is today, and he took a chance to remind himself of that when he visited the Australian National Aviation Museum to take possibly his last look at his former Wirraway A20-10 aircraft, which he has not flown in over 70 years, back in 1941.

Adamswas unaware of his plane’s presence in the museum until a war history buff in Brisbane informed him of where the aircraft was being harbored. United with his beloved plane once again, Murray was able to remember in detail the days of his youth.

The elderly pilot recalls that, by his estimation, his admission to the air force was due more to good fortune than to anything else. He was not an experienced pilot at the time of his enlistment, but he soon found himself and his plane zooming over people’s heads in his city of origin. Adams recalls humorously that he was supposed to be in training exercises that day, and he had to call on a favor from his dad to keep his escapade from being reported to the authorities, the Herald Sun News reports.

Adams flew several different types of aircraft during the length of his career. He had originally not even planned on joining the air force due to his former inability to fly, but he was thankful that one of his cohorts convinced him to change his mind. While he actually failed the verbal test to make it into the force, unable to correctly respond to a single question about airplanes, he was admitted by the good graces of the enlistment officer with whom he shared some interests in sports.

Toward the end of his 1941 career, Adams and his plane were shot from the Libyan skies by the Luftwaffe. At the time, Adams had only ever manned an aircraft by himself for a collective 126 hours, and he had less than 20 hours accumulated through actual missions. Though still inexperienced, the young pilot managed a forced landing of his aircraft in a Nazi-occupied desert, where he managed to finagle some rations from British troops who had lost their way. Adams was something of an accidental hero that day, for if his plane had not been dropped from the sky, those troops may have never found their way back to safety.

Now retired for some time, Adams is surely thankful for his ability to spend some parting moments with his old training craft, where he can remember the days of youthful recklessness and the camaraderie he found in the heat of warfare.



Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE