IT’S the flight honour he’s been waiting 71 years for.
Former Tamworth bank teller and World War II pilot Ken Wright was presented with an honorary rank of flight lieutenant by Chief of Air Force Air Marshall Geoff Brown last Friday.
Flight Lieutenant Wright, 93, was born in Ballina in 1920 and worked as a bank teller in Tamworth until joining the RAAF on December 9, 1940.
On his 20th mission, undertaking photographic surveillance between Bremen and Bremerhaven in northern Germany, he was fired at by a German Messerchmitt BE109.
Receiving shrapnel wounds and with his aircraft damaged, he bailed out of his aircraft and was captured, spending three years as a prisoner of war before escaping at Elbe on Victory in Europe Day.
Family and friends were present on the day to help celebrate the momentous occasion.
“Thank you, it’s a real surprise,” a visibly moved Flight Lieutenant Wright said of the unexpected gesture.