A World War II veteran who lives at the Carinity Wishart Gardens aged care community in Brisbane is turning 100 years old today!
Norman Abbey was born in London on 18 April 1920 and grew up in Sydney after his parents migrated to Australia following World War I, when Norman was one year old.
He joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1940 and during World War II was based in Port Moresby, Noomfa, Moretai, Borneo and Labuan.
The Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942 saw Norman on a crash boat picking up mostly US fighter pilots.
Norman met his wife Joan on a blind date in Sydney. They were married in 1950 and were together for 61 years. They had three daughters and a son and have four grandchildren.
Norman’s wartime experience left him with a strong love of his country. This was actualised in his working life after the war as a master builder and foreman with his father’s building company in Sydney, which was contracted to build war service homes.
Upon moving to Brisbane in the 1960s, Norman joined the Commonwealth Department of Works. His work saw him travel to many towns in Queensland, some of them quite remote.
Two of his major jobs were the Oakey army airbase and the Amberley aerodrome for air force jets.
Before moving to Carinity Wishart Gardens, Norman was a keen gardener and loved lawn bowls. He was also an accomplished carpenter and wood worker.