Eighty years late but not forgotten

Better late than never is an expression often heard and one that has particularly special meaning for a previous Air Force member.

CAPTIONFormer Flying Officer Sidney Mibus next to his service certificate, badge and World War 2 medals on his 100th birthday in Florida. Story by John Noble.

Former Flying Officer Sidney Mibus was an active service member at the height of World War II from 1943 to 1947, yet never received formal recognition from Air Force of his contribution during this momentous period.

Now living in St Petersburg, Florida, a special event was recently held on his 100th birthday to formally recognise his service 80 years ago.

A certificate of service along with two unissued war medals and the Return from Active Service Badge were presented to Mr Mibus.

While almost a lifetime ago, Mr Mibus’ family said his service in the war was now rightfully recognised by Australia.

“We were surprised and delighted when the Royal Australian Air Force presented our father with recognition of his World War 2 service,” Mr Mibus’ daughter Karen said.

“It was a proud moment for him, and for us, as we look back at the sacrifices made during the war by many people.

“Our family would like to add that when presented with his honours for his World War 2 service, three generations of the Mibus family in the United States were present: his daughter, grandson and three great-grandsons.

“At least one of his great-grandsons (Oliver) is old enough to remember the event and I am confident that it left a very important favorable impression on him.

“On behalf of the entire Mibus family, we are truly appreciative of the RAAF’s commemoration on my father’s 100th birthday for his service all those years ago.”

On hand to preside over the very long overdue recognition was Group Captain Mike Burgess-Orton, who recently posted to Tampa, Florida.

Group Captain Burgess-Orton said it was a privilege to be a part of such an important occasion for Air Force.

“I felt truly honoured to present Sidney with his World War 2 medals on his 100th birthday. It really was an opportunity to recognise his dedication and service to his country, although well overdue,” Group Captain Burgess-Orton said.

“He has finally been honoured by the community for a life of service and by Air Force in recognising a veteran for their contribution.

“It was an emotional moment for his family, as they weren’t expecting the presentation of World War 2 medals and a Returned from Active Service Badge. They only requested a Certificate of Service and were overcome with joy and excitement when I then presented Sidney with his other very deserving medals.

“It was indeed a special day for all involved.”

CAPTIONFormer Flying Officer Sidney Mibus during World War 2.

Mr Mibus made a valuable contribution to Australia’s effort in World War 2 when he served as a flying instructor for the RAAF in Canada, preparing aircrew for the European theatre.

There he instructed Commonwealth pilots under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), often referred to as simply ‘the Plan’.

A large-scale multinational military aircrew training program, the Plan remains one of the single largest aviation training programs in history.

It was responsible for training nearly half the pilots, navigators, bomb aimers, air gunners, wireless operators and flight engineers who served with the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA), RAAF, Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force.

After the war, Mr Mibus used the veteran’s re-education program to gain a Bachelor Degree in Architecture before returning to Canada with his wife to raise his family, eventually retiring in Tampa, Florida.





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