Celebrating 75 years of bringing ‘G for George’ home
Published on 12 November 2019
75 years ago today, Rockhampton residents gathered at the airport to cheer the arrival of Lancaster Bomber ‘G for George’ as it touched down after surviving 90 operational missions over Europe during World War 2.
The momentous occasion was made even more special by the fact that the bomber was commanded by a young Rockhampton man, Flight Lieutenant Eddie Hudson.
‘G for George’ was one of thousands of bombers, many with Australian aircrew, which flew during the height of the bombing offensive. In the end over 50,000 men from Britain and the Commonwealth died in bomber operations over Europe.
After ‘G for George’ survived its missions between 1942 and 1944, 50 of which were operated by Eddie Hudson, the Rockhampton man safely returned both himself and the aircraft home to Australia on November 10, 1944.
Eddie Hudson had requested that he be allowed to fly the Lancaster from Brisbane to Rockhampton on the 12th of November to see his family, and after circling Rockhampton twice, Eddie landed ‘George’ at the Rockhampton Airport at 3pm.
Chair of Rockhampton’s Airport Committee, Councillor Neil Fisher said the remarkable story of Eddie and ‘George’ is one that will never be forgotten.
“Most people would not realise that one of the true flying heroes of World War 2 was a resident of Rockhampton. He was known as a modest and gallant lad with a devotion to duty,” Cr Fisher said.
“It is amazing when you think that the bomber was flown by 29 different crews, with 50 of the 90 missions led by Flight Lieutenant Eddie Hudson and his crew. They were particularly renowned for hitting the right target in the dark.
“As we look back today and think of his achievements, we are so proud of his service to Australia and his safe return home. It’s so special that he could then create a historical moment by flying ‘George’ to Rockhampton with his crew.”
On their return to Rockhampton, Squadron Leader Hudson and his crew were the guests of the Rockhampton Club, were entertained by the City Council at a lunch at the Heritage Hotel (formerly known as the Commercial Hotel), and during the afternoon they were guests of the Rockhampton Jockey Club at Callaghan Park. At night they attended a reception given by the YWCA.
During his visit, Eddie said he was glad to be back saying, “We are having an excellent time here, and the hospitality is almost overwhelming.”
In 2014, Council opened the Eddie Hudson room at the Airport to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of ‘G for George’ landing in Rockhampton.
“It’s important that we remember and tell this story so that the memory of Eddie and his achievements live on within our community,” Cr Fisher said.
Eddie worked as a clerk with the Rockhampton City Council before joining the RAAF in September 1940 where was known to his cobbers as ‘The Champ’ and won the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar.
With a red G on its nose and 90 tiny bombers painted on the plane to signify the number of its attacks on Germany, ‘G for George’ now takes pride of place in the Australian War Museum at Canberra.