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Betty Seery (nee Clyde)

Betty Seery (nee Clyde)

Motor Transport Mechanic, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force

“I was the best mechanic there. I was not very tall, so I got all the small dirty jobs.”


Betty Clyde was living in Scotland in World War II and with three brothers playing their parts in the war, Betty felt she needed to be involved too.

“My eldest brother was in the Highland Light Infantry, my second brother was in the Guards Armoured Division, and my third brother was an Engineer Officer in the Merchant Navy.”

In November 1941 in Glasgow, Scotland, 19-year-old Betty Clyde enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and was posted to Gloucester as a ledger clerk, but she wanted a change. Betty remustered to driver training and ended up as a motor transport mechanic at St Annes Blackpool.

Betty said, “From there, I was posted to London Victoria. I was the best mechanic there. I was not very tall, so I got all the small dirty jobs.”

Betty enjoyed her work as a mechanic, but she “hated the doodlebugs”, the V-1 flying bombs that terrorised London during World War II killing thousands. “I was billeted out in a small room at the top of an old house in Sloane Square, and I spent some nights with the elderly couple down in the kitchen.”

Betty loved London and it was there that she met Frank Seery. “I was with some friends at a pub in Fleet Street and we got chatting to some Aussies. They were ex-POWs from Hilter’s Hotel. The next morning I went to Holy Mass and waiting outside was one of the Aussies, Frank Seery. We were friends from then till he went to Brighton and then flew home to Sydney.”

Betty’s “friendship” with Frank continued and she travelled to Sydney to join him. “I arrived in Sydney in early July and we got married at Edgecliff.”


POW Frank Seery

Frank Seery was lucky to have survived the war.


Frank Serry and his Lancaster crew

Francis John “Frank” Seery was a Flight Sergeant on JB 607, a Lancaster bomber in 460 Squadron. The plane had a crew of four Australians and three Scots. On December 29, 1943, the Lancaster was one of 700 aircraft taking part in a raid on Berlin. The plane had dropped its load of bombs and was heading home over Kerkrade on the German/Holland border when it was attacked by a night fighter. A fusillade of shells killed four of the crew and destroyed the engines. The plane was ablaze when Frank escaped and parachuted to the ground. It exploded before the other two could get free. Frank was captured by the Germans and spent the rest of the war as a POW at Stalag IV-D.

“Billy the engineer got Frank out and went back for the Skipper,” said Betty. “Frank was helped by a Dutch family, but still ended up in a camp. I always thought that being the only survivor gave Frank nightmares and played on his mind. Still we managed.”

Frank ended up teaching in a local high school, and he and Betty had three children together. Betty never regretted her time in the war nor moving to Australia.