Author Biography

Geoff Raebel, RAAFinRussia.comGeoff Raebel was born in Melbourne in 1947 in the shadow of World War II.  His parents were trying to put back together a young love after almost five years of separation and his mother watching other girls become widows.

His father Bob was damaged by war experience and the phobia of cold earned in Russia.  The family tracked up and down the East coast of Australia for fifteen years while his father Bob sought a warmer place and his Mother Marj a cooler one.  In that time Geoff went to 13 schools in three states.  At the end of that his brother Nelson had elected to stay in Queensland and Geoff was settled in Sydney.  Inevitably Bob and Marj split up and ironically they both ended up in Queensland.

Geoff, always a "would be" engineer and "wanna be " flyer had a memory for experience and stories.  Those first 17 years were a treasure trove of experience.  Flying, sailing, time on farms, exploring the Brisbane River and Hervey Bay and with a father in the Wide Bay Regiment an understanding of military and shooting.  Finally he worked during school holidays for an aircraft wrecker.  It was a different age.
At the end of High School he got a job with de Havilland Marine.  It was a free and easy job and gave access to most of de Havilland's hangars and access to senior managers who had transferred from the aircraft side.  One in particular had been a Tiger Moth rigger during WW2 and as a boy had been at Mascot with half of Sydney to see "Smithy" land after the aborted Tasman mail flight.  Geoff learned to fly with a de Havilland offshoot, Hoxton Park Flying School in 1966.

Frank Bailey an early ultralight promoter and manager of de Havilland Marine head-hunted Geoff into his new business with Pongrass Marine.  From there he drifted into boat sales, then chandlery sales, then fibreglass boat building ostensibly as a bookkeeper.  In reality he was also learning the trade.

During a recession in 1974 he trained as an accountant but only worked at it for eighteen months before going overland through Asia on the hippie trail to London.  It was a grand tour 20 months long and taking in most of Europe,Nepal India, Afghanistan and Iran.

Coming back to Australia, he put in a five year stint with British Leyland converting from accountant to IT specialist.  From there he went into Office Automation and IT with NSW Railways and most of its iterations.

In 1990 his father called him back to aviation "Only 10 hours and you can convert your PPL into an Ultralight ticket".  It was a con but he soloed in 10 hours after 25years.  Today as a member of Sydney Recreational Flying Club he is a volunteer instructor.  He has also gained a commercial coxwain's ticket and takes charter sailing cruises on Sydney Harbour.

As an Author he has written, "The RAAF in Russia" and "Australian Yachtsman". He is editor of the Bomber Command Association of Australia newsletter.  Writing is something of a passion as well as an old MG TD called "Charlie".

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