Les Ware celebrates 100th birthday with family and friends at Bethshan Nursing Home, Wyee, on November 8

CENTENARIAN: Les Ware celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends at Bethshan Nursing Home, Wyee, on November 8. Picture: Supplied
CENTENARIAN: Les Ware celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends at Bethshan Nursing Home, Wyee, on November 8. Picture: Supplied

THERE was a very good reason why Les Ware took his wartime role of teaching airmen Morse code so seriously.

Mr Ware, of Wyee, enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force and was stationed at the large airfield and training base at Parkes during World War II.

Mr Ware's son, Russell Ware, said his father rose to the rank of Sergeant Instructor.

"He specialised in teaching Morse code to air crews destined to man the bombers bound for England," Russell said.

Sergeant Instructor Ware took his responsibilities very seriously and if he noticed that a particular air crew member was a poor learner of Morse code he would provide extra training.

"The reason for this was that the aircrew members with the weakest command of Morse code would usually be assigned to the rear gunner position on the bombers, a position with a much higher mortality rate than any other," Russell said.

Sergeant Instructor Ware didn't want any of "his boys" ending up as rear gunners and likely war casualties.

That was just one of the anecdotes recounted when Mr Ware celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends at Bethshan Nursing Home, on November 8.

Mr Ware was born at Newstead, Victoria, the fourth of five children.

WARTIME WEDDING: Les and Edna on their wedding day in 1944. Picture: Supplied

WARTIME WEDDING: Les and Edna on their wedding day in 1944. Picture: Supplied

He wed Edna in 1944 and they were married for more than 72 years before Mrs Ware's passing in 2016. The couple had four children - Graham, Max (deceased), Russell and Margaret.

Mr Ware has eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

"After the war Les joined his father in farming, first near Blayney then near Parkes. He was a fourth generation farmer who was successful and innovative," Russell said.

He held various positions with the Masonic Lodge and local fire brigades, and was Deputy Sheriff at Parkes Courthouse.

"Les has been a wonderful and caring father. All in his extended family are immensely proud of him and his achievements in his life. I couldn't want for a better or more loving father. Truly, he is my hero," Russell said.

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