Flying on a high

Veteran’s good humour after surviving three crashes

By Kirra Livingstone

LAWRENCE ‘Lawrie’ Howard was a WWII veteran who worked with the Catalinas in Cairns, and spent his spare time drawing war inspired cartoons.
But after he was involved in three Catalina crashes, he decided to bow out of the war.
Lawrie died 39 years ago at 68 years old, and his son, Greg Howard, who is also a member of the Beerwah Lions Club, has kept an extensive collection of his drawings and pictures of his father in the war.
Greg said it was important to preserve the collection as it has a rich history dating back to 1939, with his father providing commentary through his drawings.
“He was a very good drawer, with the Catalinas they would have nothing to do, so they would sit around pen to paper type of thing which he was very good at, but I’m hopeless at. It didn’t rub off on me,” he said.
“They are very unique drawings, my daughters kept on saying don’t you get rid of them because they are treasures for the family and preserving history.”
He added that his father was a good man, and his life was fulfilling with his fair share of ups and downs.
“My father got kicked out of home at 20, so he hitchhiked all the way to Cairns to work up there, and once the war broke out he got into mechanics and then the Catalinas,” Greg said.
“He used to love flying, he was in Cairns for many years, but after three big plane crashes that was enough for him, to survive all three was amazing.”
His son described his father as a jackaroo who was a very hands on, a handy man who could do anything mechanical, and that he had a good life.