Brave man left family farm 80 years ago, but never returned
WHILE proud of her late brother's courage during World War II, Phyllis Adair cherishes most the love he shared throughout his 25 short years.
Sgt William "Bill" Edmonds enlisted as a member of the Royal Australian Air Force in 1941 but was killed in action just two years later.
A bombing mission in Munich, Germany was his first and last assignment.
The son of a Mackay cane farming family, Sgt Edmonds went down with his plane in 1943, trapped inside the plane due to a jammed door as his comrades escaped the stricken aircraft before it crashed.
He left behind his wife, Mona, who he had married just prior to his deployment.
While his loss is still felt by Mrs Adair, she said she had only fond memories of a brother she never argued with.
"We used to go to old time dancing a lot, and he had a motorbike, so we'd hop on there and away we'd go," Mrs Adair recalled.
"The girl he married was the pianist ... we'd go out to Farleigh or Glenella - wherever Mona was playing we went.
"I was a bridesmaid and my husband was best man (at their wedding). It was happy but sad because we knew he was going away ... it's just the way it turned out."
Sgt Edmonds received six medals and accolades posthumously for his service - including the 1939-1945 Star with Bomber Command Class.
Mrs Adair described her older brother as very loving and caring.
In letters received fortnightly from Sgt Edmonds, Mrs Adair said the family was clearly always in his thoughts.
He wrote to Mrs Adair and his other three siblings - brothers Rob and Col and sister Iris - regularly to detail his experiences and love for them.
Mrs Adair said Anzac Day was a proud time of remembrance, but was also a bittersweet reminder of the man who left the family farm almost 80 years ago but never returned.
"I'm very proud of him, but ... it's a bit upsetting; just a reminder that he is no longer here," she said.
"It does make you feel proud that he made the sacrifice, but it's hard to take just the same."