Warrant Officer Michael IVICEVICH
454 RAAF Squadron
Service No. 436604
Date of Birth: 18 Oct 1923
Place of Birth: VIS, DALMATIA
Date of Enlistment: 13 Feb 1943
Date of Discharge: 18 Dec 1945
Rank: Warrant Officer
Date of Death: 09 Oct 2016
Michael Ivicevich recently wrote these notes on his wartime experience
I turned 18 years old a few months before Pearl Harbour and I was drafted in to the army in January 1942. I was in the army for one year then I enlisted in the Airforce, became a pilot and went overseas to England, Egypt and Italy. I was in the Airforce for 3 years.
When I was assigned to 454 Squadron at Villa Orba in Italy - the war was ending. Villa Orba is near the city of Udina about 60 kms north east from Venice. When the war in Europe ended there was a possibility that we would go to Okinawa to bomb targets in Japan. After America dropped the second atom bomb the war ended. It was time to go home.
It was arranged that on August 14, we would fly our aircraft and leave them with the British squadron which was about 10 kms away. We had a big party the night before and some partied too much and were unable to fly the next morning. I was very busy, after delivering an aircraft to the British, we were driven in a jeep back to Villa Orba and had to fly another aircraft over.
As I flew low over the base, now with all the aircraft gone I realised that I was flying the last flight and that the time of the proud and historical Royal Australian Airforce Squadron 454 had come to an end.
On August 17, 1945 we went by train from Verona to Taranto where we boarded the ship “Mororua” to take us to Alexandria, Egypt. On board there were about 1,000 German Prisoners of War. On the second day while we were walking on deck a German P.O.W. came towards us and one of my mates jumped forward they embraced each other. They had gone to High School together in Melbourne. They talked about competing in sports and showed great respect towards each other. The German had gone to Germany to attend medical school.
When we arrived in Cairo we were informed that the ship that was to take us home had some engine problems and we would have to wait 4 weeks for the next ship.
Our Squadron Pastor organised an 8 day trip to Palestine, twenty-six of us went by truck and a jeep. We saw where Jesus was born, where he preached and where he died. It was a wonderful experience.
We came from Egypt on the Sterling Castle and I had my 22nd birthday half way across the Indian Ocean. On October 29, 1945 we arrived in Fremantle.
After four years in the service, one in the army and four in the air force, two of which were overseas, I was finally home. Amen.