John Lerew (1912–1996) was an officer and pilot in the Royal Australian
Air Force (RAAF) during World War II, and later a senior manager in the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). As commander of
No. 24 Squadron, he became famous in Air Force history for his
irreverent response to orders by RAAF Headquarters during the 1942
Battle of Rabaul. After being directed to assist in repelling the
invading Japanese fleet with his one serviceable bomber, and to keep
his bombed airfield open, Lerew signalled headquarters with the ancient
Latin phrase used by gladiators honouring their Emperor: "Morituri vos
salutamus" ("We who are about to die salute you"). He also defied an
order to abandon his staff in Rabaul. In February 1942, Lerew led a
raid on enemy shipping in New Guinea; he was shot down but evaded
capture, returning to safety nine days after being reported missing.
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, he later commanded the RAAF's
first flying safety directorate. After leaving the Air Force in 1946 as
a Group Captain, he joined the newly formed ICAO in Canada. He was
responsible for administrative and technical reforms, and rose to Chief
of Flight Branch. Retiring in 1972, he travelled extensively before
settling in Vancouver.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
The Bechuanaland Protectorate (modern Botswana, then a protectorate of
the United Kingdom) formally annexed the Tati Concessions Land, a
portion of Matabeleland that had been conceded to the British South
The Flag of Quebec, featuring a white cross and four fleurs-de-lis on a
blue field, was adopted and flown for the first time over the Quebec
Parliament Building in Quebec City.
Cold War: A B-52 bomber carrying four nuclear weapons crashed onto sea
ice near Thule Air Base, Greenland, causing widespread radioactive
The Concorde supersonic transports began scheduled commercial flights
to London, Paris, Bahrain, and Rio de Janeiro.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 395–28 to reprimand Newt
Gingrich for ethics violations, making him the first Speaker of the
House to be so disciplined.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
The fear of abstract knowledge or philosophical thinking;
Wikiquote quote of the day:
That which is above comprehension we cannot perceive to be
contradictory, nor on the other hand can we perceive its rationality or
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