Memorial for the ‘boy from Bundaberg’ Squadron Leader Bert Hinkler opens in Italy

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Squadron Leader Herbert (Bert) Hinkler AFC DSM, affectionately known as the ‘boy from Bundaberg’, was a gallant First World War airman and renowned aviation pioneer.

After distinguished service in the First World War with the Royal Naval Air Service on the Western Front and 28 Squadron, Royal Air Force in Northern Italy, Bert Hinkler was the first pilot to fly solo from England to Australia. Sadly, he was killed on 7 January 1933 when his aircraft crashed in Tuscany, Italy, during his second solo flight from Britain to Australia.

On 2 August 2015 a commemorative walking trail and memorial, named the Hinkler Ring, was opened in Tuscany, marking the place of the crash. The Queensland Government, as part of the Anzac Centenary program, contributed to the installation of a memorial. Representatives from Queensland and Australia attended the commemorative service to acknowledge his aviation achievements.

The memorial, an initiative of Queenslander Kevin Lindeberg, also features a time capsule. The capsule includes messages from the Prime Minister of Australia, Prime Minister of Italy and the Queensland Premier to be opened in one hundred years.

The motto of 28 Squadron, Royal Air Force where Bert served as a pilot in 1918 “Whatsoever you may do, do” was mirrored in his life story and will continue to inspire young and old here and  abroad.