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Wally Dubosky

  • Josh Levine


Wally Debasky was born on the Milan Road

in East London at the beginning of 1923.

He started working as a lady's hairdresser,

but during the second world war,

he joined the Royal Air Force regiment,

which had been founded in February 1942.

The intention here was to create

an official RAF ground defense force,

able to seize air fields,

to secure them and to defend them,

basically, in order to allow air operations

to take place.

Because if you think about it,

the early part of the war had shown the RAF

how vulnerable it was on the ground.

During the battlefronts,

rapidly advancing German units,

had badly damaged the RAF,

as it tried to withdraw from the continent.

And then during the Battle of Britain,

airfields had been struck hard

by intensive German air attacks.

Basically, the defense of Air Force bases ,

allowing the RAF to do its job,

was too important to be left

to already heavily stretched British Army units.

The regiment consisted initially of field squadrons,

anti aircraft squadrons,

and a number of parachute squadrons.

But all members were initially trained

as Combat Infantryman.

Wally Debosky, as leading aircraftsman,

sought service in Palestine, in India, Burma and Hong Kong.

And then from September 45,

he was based at RAF high-tech in Hong Kong.

He was transferred to an Air-Sea Rescue unit

and received additional training in anti piracy work.

Now, piracy had been a problem in the South China Sea

in the 1920s and the first half of the 30s.

It had debated in the mid 30s,

when Chinese authorities just stamped down on it.

But with the end of the war,

fishing vessels, trading junks and passenger ships

were once again falling victim to pirates.

So it became Wally Debosky's very unusual job,

as one of the crew of six onboard a high speed launch

to patrol the islands dotted around the South China coast,

and then to chase any pirates he found,

who tried to outrun him in their motorized junks.

In 1946, while he returned to Britain,

where he was demobbed,

he moved to Reading where he became a tailor,

like his Polish born father,

and he never married,

but died at the age of just 53 in 1976.

His name lives on though at Reading Synagogue,

where a family safe atuer,

rescued from Poland,

can be found, dedicated to him.

  • Wally Dubosky

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