Staff and Workshop at the Horn Island Advance Operations Base in 1942

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Royal Australian Air Force RAAF

Advance Operation Base, Horn Island, 1942

Staff outside the Workshop:

Standing L-R: Robert Stehbens, Bert Ivers, Ron Barnett, Herbert Derbyshire, Len Sullivan, Bill Madellena, Ken Baguley, Bill Gwyneth;

Squatting L-R: Les Butcher, Terry Hutchison, Ken Friers, Harold (Joe) Davidson.

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Comments (18)

©Würmer on November 18, 2007

Great spot to spend the war...

Ian Stehbens on March 25, 2009

Advance Operation Base, Horn Island, 1942

Staff outside the Workshop:

Standing L-R: Robert Stehbens, Bert Ivers, Ron Barnett, Bert Derbyshire, Len Sullivan, Bill Madellena, Ken Baguley, Bill Gwyneth; Les Butcher, Terry Hutchison, Ken Friers, Harold (Joe) Davidson.

My Dad was quite meticulous about recod keeping, and in his very neat handwriting each name was recorded on the back of this photo.

At this point, this image is not in the archives of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. I guess it should be.

stephan Seo on May 9, 2010

Ian, Is Robert Stehbens your father?I can't distinguish two stehbens. It is lucky that your father stayed in Australia during war.I think that father of German Ian have directly suffered from war.Then again,My father too..He was a soldier during Korean War(1950~1953).And My elder bother the 25-year-old was shipped to Vietnam war.(1968~1971).Even if the “Sunshine Policy” sees the light of a new dawn, North Korea’s million-man army remains the number one threat to the South. ;((


Ian Stehbens on May 9, 2010

Dear Stephan,

My father is this Robert. He served first at Australian Air force bases, then at Horn Island for 6 months, then was trained for aircrew, and sent to UK. He was a navigator in decoy flights of bomber squadron 460 during 1945.

I pray for the success of reconciliation policies that one day, soon, there may be a peaceful reunification of Korean people as there was in Germany in 1990s.


©Würmer on May 9, 2010

yes, Stephan, both my grandfather and father got drafted at 18 and got "shot to pieces" within a few months, handicapped for life (a very short one at that, my father barely reached 35), and I consider myself lucky that I didn't get sent to Vietnam at 18 (like my classmates and friends did), the German passport saved me from that fate...

Ian Stehbens on May 10, 2010

And Würmer, Dad arrived in UK in 1945, as additional aircrew and as it turned out never had to drop bombs for there was a switch of pilots and crew at the last moment. Their pilot had to take over from another who had been shot and injured, so he then flew with another pilot who was presumably being punished or wasted by being sent in as decoy. But the pilot knew his stuff and brought each flight back to base - some hairy landings away from the drome on occasions. That meant that Dad came home without the guilt, trauma or injuries.

And stories of U-turns over Heligoland!

And I am grateful. Today would have been his 96th birthday. He died at 91.

Ian down south

stephan Seo on May 10, 2010

WürmerI hate myself when I said that...War,The War is an endless chain of misfortunes.Even if German passport saved you from that fate,We Koreans still are at war between the South and North.Unfortunately,the warship of South Korea got shot to pieces by North Korean force before 50days.46 lives were destroyed in the sea by the blitz of North Korea.September 11th event, that is manmade disaster and our current sort is same event.But what we can't do is squabble and fight.We don't need to make the total war against the blitz of North Korea.Right now, the situation can be characterized as South Korea's dilemma....I wish my grandson say my grandfa came home without the guilt, trauma or injuries.

stephan Seo on May 10, 2010

Ian, Thank you so much for the happy ending of your father.Your story is that piece of work honestly captures the truth about common life.


©Würmer on May 10, 2010

...and I never missed saying "thanks" to any Allied veteran I met, for fighting those damn Nazis -- because they freed ME and the country from an unimaginable curse, couldn't have done without it. I really feel with Koreans (as I told you before, Stephan), for your dilemma seems much the same. Somehow South Korea has to figure out how to tempt the Northern leaders to avoid another generation getting wasted, no amount of money you'll have to turn over to them is too much to avoid the losses of another war... In Russia today, the old KGB is running the country like a mafia, and the west pays through their nose for oil and gas, etc. -- but what the hell, a war would be much costlier... so we bought them, in effect, and I'll never stop wondering if that all happened by design, or by lucky chance.

Ian, thanks for your dad's work and for your labouring...

Ian Stehbens on May 11, 2010

Dear Stephan and Würmer,

I deeply appreciate your commitments and your testimonies. Today my labour engaged me with a victim of the war in Angola - and she has refused to be an aggressor in response to her suffering. So often the tragedy is that victims do not find a way towards healing and flow from being in a cycle of victimhood into a cycle of aggression. And so it can be with nations too - as in Germany 1918-1945. National levels of forgiveness are as liberating as personal forgiveness. Liberation from curse!


©Würmer on May 12, 2010

Over on FaceBook, the Dalai Lama is an interesting page to become a fan of, as every second day there is a post (regurgitating a statement by him) which has me think of you PeaceMakers -- had you noticed already?

...but I've terminated my account there as I found the repeated and endless 'new twists' at user tracking insupportable -- even the German minister of consumer affairs publicly stated as much a couple of weeks ago, threatening to terminate her account. Well, when at login yesterday it insisted on wanting to "register my computer" (unexplained, whatever that is supposted to mean) I decided that I've had it with FB... (in case you wonder what I'm babbling about, googling located this explanation just now)...

Ian Stehbens on May 12, 2010

Thanks for the guidance to the Dalai Lama's posts and also on the Google megalomania. We are living in a world that has no privacy left, and not just because of the e-system operators but also because of we e-sytem users who share everything in public forums!

I still enjoy my email communications, and Skype and Pano. FB has become a popular networking site with our peacebuilders...and I am not sure what to do about it.

Regards from down here.


stephan Seo on May 12, 2010

Würmer and Ian,I think that facebook caused problems that is a argument for the sake of argument.These factors have caused political and ideological differences among countries.Perhaps FB is created to help hunters of information or to promote private profits.Of course, this is just a personal opinion.


stephan Seo on May 12, 2010

By comparison,Panoramio seemed very gentle and rational to people. do you think so? ;))

©Würmer on May 12, 2010

both Google and Facebook (and many other such programming efforts) were started with the best of intentions, I believe, but then became commercialized (went public on the stock-market). Since then the profit-principle that drives management in capitalist ventures have steadily changed their priotities and behavior (to better serve Mammon)

my view of both Facebook and Panoramio-Google is similar but there are differences (which are subjective and not deep-rooted, though based on nearly 40 years of computing experience including some rather large installations and user communities at times). I don't want to bore you with the details, unless you insist, but not quite so publicly then...

motorhand on March 7, 2012

Nice document !

Ian Stehbens on March 7, 2012

Well Stephen and Ian, we are still incrementally adding to our galleries on Panoramio, and I must admit that technically it seems so much more stable nowadays, and steps towards serving the users have been made.

As the number of users, gallery size, and networks have grown, I find I just don't have enough time to relate to other friends as we did in the early days... this very belated response to both of you is proof.

Regards to you both,

Ian - down under.

Ian Stehbens on March 7, 2012

Thanks for your appreciation of it, Matthias. It is a significant moment in the history of Horn Island - a refuelling airstrip for the aircraft flying in the Pacific campaign from World War II.


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Photo details

  • Uploaded on August 3, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens