GEORGE Baillie Ferguson was an unassuming hero who had two homes — Warrnambool and England.
He will be buried tomorrow in Suffolk at the age of 87 in a memorial service.
Mr Ferguson held the distinction of being the only Australian to have been awarded a conspicuous gallantry medal for his services with the air force during World War II.
Born in Warrnambool in 1925 as one of three brothers and one sister whom he all outlived. The family house was at the corner of Raglan Parade and Banyan Street.
When war loomed, young George joined the Australian air force and was posted to England as a rear gunner in Halifax bombers.
On February 23, 1945, on his 16th mission into Germany, the plane took a hit and a large piece of shrapnel was embedded in his jaw.
Despite pain and bleeding he insisted he was OK and remained at his post throughout the bombing run.
It was not until landing back in England his crew realised Mr Ferguson’s jaw was fractured and several teeth were knocked out. After surgery and recuperation he rejoined his squadron.
When the war ended he returned to Warrnambool and worked at the gas works and Beaurepaire Tyres before heading back to England for the 1946 victory parades.
Then it was back to Warrnambool, but only until 1951 when he went back to England where he settled.
He married Doreen in 1958 and the couple spent several years moving between Kent and Suffolk, before settling in Halesworth. They had two children, Sally and David.
Mr Ferguson worked as a driving instruction and carpenter until well past retirement age, then became full-time carer for his wife when she suffered a stroke.
“His years of service during the war and later his years of looking after Doreen were typical of George’s willingness to put others before himself,” his daughter said in her eulogy.