Unflagging Albany veteran part of the fabric

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RSL member Evan Hobley.
Camera IconRSL member Evan Hobley. Credit: Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Every morning, World War II veteran Evan Hobley raises the Australian flag with pride outside the Albany RSL sub-branch.

The 97-year-old has been doing it for almost 20 years, since the sub-branch moved into its Stirling Terrace headquarters.

A former wireless operator-air gunner in the Royal Australian Air Force, one of his first fields of battle was El Alamein.

“We’d just been on the squadron for a couple of weeks and we were told when the battle was going to begin at 10pm,” he said.

“I think it was the biggest artillery barrage in history.

“You’ve seen the sunrise with the big red arc — that’s what the sky was like with this barrage.”

Mr Hobley flew over North Africa and Italy during the war before he returned home and married his late wife Violet.

He has fond memories of his bomber crew, but other memories of the war still haunt him.

Evan Hobley, bottom left, with his WWII bomber crew.
Camera IconEvan Hobley, bottom left, with his WWII bomber crew. Credit: Supplied

Today, he will wave to the children who line York Street for the Anzac Day march.

Albany RSL president Geoff McNeil said Mr Hobley was “part of the fabric of the place”.

Mr McNeil said he was the most active of the sub-branch’s WWII veterans.

“He’s just a mine of information,” Mr McNeill said.

“He’s been in Albany all his life. He has a lot of history behind him.

“It’s fascinating to sit and listen to the stories of what things were like in the early days.

“He’s really one of the last of his era. Just sitting and having a chat with him if you’re lucky enough, it can be fascinating.”

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