VETERAN Desmond Creighton of Narooma was thrilled to learn that one of his old identity tags had been recovered.
The brass tag was located on an abandoned Royal Australian Air Force base at Uranquity near Wagga Wagga where he served during World War II and has now been returned to him.
Riverina Relic and Jewellery Recovery group member Darren Blake found the item while sweeping the area with his metal detector.
Blake said he nearly threw the little piece out, thinking it was a piece of scrap metal.
“I gave it a clean-up, and a name and numbers came up,” he said.
Blake initially speculated that the tag could be “maybe a lapel badge from a shirt, or could be a locker tag or a trunk tag, just not sure.”
The information written on the brass tag was posted on group’s Facebook page, which lead to Blake being provided with Creighton’s phone number, allowing him to return the relic to its original owner.
Creighton served at the base as Leading Airman, looking after and maintaining the Wirraway training aircraft.
Now that he has seen the tag, Creighton is certain that it went on the end of his bed and may have even stamped out his enlisted number of 162902 and name on the tag himself.
He said he valued the tag as a keepsake and plans to pass it on to grandchildren “or something like that”.
He was at the base for two years from 1944 to 1946 after being enlisted as an 18 year old and he worked on the airframes of the training aircraft.
A carpenter by trade, he later moved to Narooma in 1949 and has been in the fishing industry for 65 years.
He can now be found most days helping out at his granddaughter Hayley Abbott’s seafood business, Narooma Seafood Direct.
He doesn’t remember too much about the base other than it was huge with 1300 personnel and about 40 planes, and eerily today there is almost no sign it even existed.
The unlikely relic was found during a metal detecting hunt on the abandoned WWII RAAF base, among silver coins, live bullets and pennies.
There was a group of seven from Riverina Relic and Jewellery Recovery, on their first official group hunt.
Blake said his group had known about the Uranquity base for quite a while.
“I like military stuff and dug up a medal once before and gave it back to the family,” he said.
“Someone mentioned it, so we went out there.”
Name CREIGHTON, DESMOND
Service Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number 162902
Date of Birth 10 Mar 1926
Place of Birth WOOLLAHRA, NSW
Date of Enlistment 14 Apr 1944
Locality on Enlistment SANS SOUCI
Place of Enlistment WOOLLOOMOOLOO, NSW
Next of Kin CREIGHTON, JOHN
Date of Discharge 11 Mar 1946
Rank Leading Aircraftman
Posting at Discharge 5 SERVICE FLYING TRAINING SCHOOL URANQUINTY
WW2 Honours and Gallantry None for display
Prisoner of War No
Married 1949 to DOROTHY THOMPSON from HURSTVILLE"