- Clyde John Thomas Bruce (1921-2014) - Life Events
Clyde was born in Austinmer but always had a soft spot for the family's old stomping ground, Hillgrove, travelling by train on his holidays to stay with his grandparents Thomas and Amelia, and Roach.
He used to tell how at a young age he started a life-long love of aeroplanes and flying when he witnessed Charles Kingsford Smith's departure for New Zealand in the Southern Cross from Seven Mile Beach, near Gerroa on the South coast of NSW.
His early school years were at Austinmer Public School but following the family's moved to Hurstville in about 1933, he attended Sydney Technical High School. His main sporting interest was cycling and he regularly raced down to Wollongong and at the Wiley Park velodrome.
Clyde trained as a fitter and instrument maker and had a long and varied career which took him to the great iron ore mines in Western Australia, to TAA and to operating theatres of major hospitals calibrating specialised medical equipment.
World War 2
At the outbreak of WW2, Clyde enlisted in the RAAF intending to fly but an industrial accident between his enlistment and call-up, resulting in the loss of a finger, put paid to that hope. Without mentioning his missing digit he still reported for duty.
His training included a stint at Uranquinty, south of Wagga Wagga in NSW, where he survived an emergency landing in a paddock that would have been entirely successful except for a single tree stump left among the furrows. While recovering from his injuries, he met his future wife, Violet Joyce Trott, on an outing to Wagga Wagga Beach (on the Murrumbidgee River).
He served as ground crew with No. 4 Squadron in the New Guinea campaign.
Although relatively unscathed physically the war had a permanent effect on Clyde. A group of nine cycling mates enlisted for service but Clyde was the only one to return.
(See further WW2 service details)
After the war Clyde and Joyce married were in 1947 and Clyde opened a grocery store at Herne Bay (now Riverwood) in Sydney and they raised their two children. The advent of supermarkets led to Clyde returning to his trade with TAA.
He had a wicked sense of humour and one of his favour stories was about an incident that occurred when he had taken Joyce into the City on a shopping trip.
Clyde was waiting for Joyce outside the David Jones department store and was leaning against a car that that someone had parked evidently illegally. He was approached by a young constable who instructed him to move the car. Clyde said that he wouldn't. The constable, apparently not used to such non-compliance repeated his request with the threat of likely consequences. Clyde remained firm in his objection and the constable became quite angry.
The stalemate was brokenwith the arrival of the police Sargeant, and when the constable explained the situation the superior officer calmly asked Clyde why he refused to move the car. Clyde replied that it was not his car.
Clyde recalls how he enjoyed the resulting dressing down that the constable received.