Air Commodore WH 'Bull' Garing CBE, DFC, Captain of the Sunderland from 10 Sqn RAAF found the last lifeboat from the City of Benares
August 11, 2010
Hello to you both,
I'm not sure how much information is needed or appropriate - pleased edit as you see fit.
Rather than try and load lots of information and pictures here I'll just give you the links and you can see what you need/want.
Just as some background...this is something I wrote some years ago.
My name is Phillipa Byrne from Australia. I am the daughter of Air Commodore WH 'Bull' Garing CBE, DFC. My Dad was the Captain of the Sunderland from 10 Sqn RAAF who found the last lifeboat from the City of Benares and sent their location to the rescue vessel.
My father was not decorated for his finding of this lifeboat, however, I can assure you it was one of his proudest moments during his long RAAF career. It was much talked about within our family and friends during my Father's life.
As far as I remember all the RAAF pilots were aware of the sinking of the 'City of Benares' and my Father spent many hours 'plotting' the direction in which he thought the lifeboat would 'drift' given the weather and the current - many thought their fate had been 'long met'.
He set off from 10 Squadron on another mission, however, while returning to dock he took a longer path determined to find the lifeboat. At a critical point (fuel wise for the Sunderland) he found the lifeboat including the last survivors of the "City of Benares"...he has told us that he circled them three (?) times to let them know that they had been found. The water was too rough to land but I believe he dropped flares with a note for them to let them off when they saw a ship approaching.
It was then that he radioed back and the second Sunderland was sent (that dropped food packages?) I believe this was the one from
On the way back to Dock Dad found his flying boat in a critical fuel situation and there was much discussion within the crew of the Sunderland if they would make it back to land - they did.
Dad went on to be influential in the Pacific war against the Japanese and based in New Guinea.
I have inserted the inscription from a copy of General Kenney's book "General Kenney Reports" - it reads
My Dad was always proud of his work in the Pacific, however, I can assure you he was very proud of being 'influential' in the finding of the life boat from the "City of Benares" and their salvation. Despite leading a long life he never met anyone from the lifeboat but I know he would have loved to.
It was generally not known that there were members of the RAAF flying Sunderland's in those early days of the war - however, if you go to this link you'll read why they were there..
This link has a photo of Dad during those early days - he is second from left on the third photo down on the left hand side...
This was a story that Allan Stephens wrote after Dad passed away and has a photo of him after he'd retired in full dress uniform and medals...
Many thanks for your interest. I have a painting here which belonged to Dad and was painted by Air Commodore Stan Nicol (he took up painting in retirement and it is quite a 'naive style) - however, was always treasured by Dad and hung with great pride in our family home. You will find a photo I took today attached. We are in the process of donating this to 10 Squadron RAAF for the Crew Room.
Please be assured that I am not trying to blow my own trumpet or Dad's with this information, however, I have found so many sites on the internet that attribute the discovery of the lifeboat to the RAF and not the RAAF that I am just trying to set the record straight, so to speak.
Feel free to contact me anytime.
Cheers and regards,
At our URL:
Can you please add a post Script to include Pip's story about her Father, and this photo much later than when he found the boat from City of Benares?
Air Commodore W H Garing RAAF.
Update 27 September 2010 See also "City of Benares - RAAF rescue"