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ID
b160
Title
"The Young Man From Kalgoorlie."
Genre
Story
Page Count
16
Word Count
3900
Publication Year
1942
Document Types
First-Person Narratives
Flying Officer X Stories
Topics
Pilots, Death, War

One of the longer of Bates's A "Flying Officer X" tales, based on an incident told by an Australian pilot named Geoff Heard, that Bates said "almost drove me wild with excitement" (The World in Ripeness, 19). A young sheepfarmer named Albert, living with his parents on a remote farm in Australia, is kept ignorant of the war for an entire year through determined efforts and tricks of his parents. Once he learns of it, he becomes a pilot, and is shot down, his girlfriend commenting that "in a week nobody will know him from anyone else. Nobody will even remember him." The narrator recalls the parents "who had so bravely and stupidly kept the war from him and then had so bravely and proudly let him go...I was thinking of the thousands of farms like it, peopled by thousands of people like them: the simple, decent, kindly, immemorial people all over the earth. 'No,' I said to her. 'There will be many who will remember him." In The Greatest People in The World and Other Stories (1942), There's Something In The Air (1943), Something In The Air (1944), The Stories of Flying Officer 'X' (1952). Reprinted in Best Flying Stories (1956), The Harrap Book of Short Stories (1956), Twelve Modern Short Stories (1958), No Time for Glory: Stories of World War II (1962).