The Military

The Military

Few institutions in this country's history can boast an armed services involvement such as that of Hale School .

In almost every theatre of war, through the Boer War, 1914-18 Great War, World War II to the Korean and then Vietnam conflicts, Haleians have been there. Those mentioned below achieved some notoriety. For an account of each of the Old Haleians who lost their lives whilst serving their country - please see the Memorial Groves page which includes a flip book presentation of each and every one.





'Singapore Samurai'

Lieutenant Penrod Dean was ‘taken into the net’ at the fall of Singapore. His remarkable story was revealed in his autobiography ‘Singapore Samurai’. Penrod was a Lieutenant in the Second AIF and was among the thousands captured at the fall of Singapore in WWII. Penrod and a fellow serviceman escaped from the Changi POW camp in 1942. While on the run, they succeeded in sabotaging the Japanese war effort, fell in with the Chinese Communist guerrilla group and then moved on alone in the jungles of Malaya. Eventually they were betrayed to their enemies, mercilessly tortured and sentenced to two years solitary confinement, where Penrod taught himself Japanese at the notorious Outram Road prison in Singapore. After his release in 1945 Penrod was an observer at the War Crimes Tribunals in Tokyo.




Lance Howard (1926-30) was involved in one of the most daring and dangerous air force operations in WWll. The ‘Dam-Buster’ was a raid carried out on the 16th and 17th May 1943, after Barnes Wallis decided to destroy various dams. During the raid, two large dams in Germany’s Ruhr Valley were broken using experimental ‘bouncing’ bombs to burst them open. Various factories and facilities were inundated as a result. Eight planes were lost, fifty-three men died and three were captured, but the daring raid was hailed a success as the breached dams flooded towns and cut transport links to help the Allied war effort.



'The Wooden Horse' Escape'

The ‘Wooden Horse Escape’ was one of the most innovative escapes of WWII. A tunnel was dug under the noses of the German guards using a vaulting ‘horse’ placed over the mouth of a tunnel relatively near to the prison wire. Though weak with hunger, dozens of men including Ian Keys (1931-34) vaulted and exercised on and around the horse daily for many months, while those below audaciously excavated their way beneath the wire. Three men managed to successfully escape and make their way back to England.



'Great Escaper'

Flight Lieutenant Paul Gordon Royle (1923-27) (wearing the hat) was an Australian Royal Air Force pilot who was one of the last two survivors of the 76 men who were able to escape from the Stalag Luft III German POW in WWII in what became known as ‘the Great Escape’. On the night of 24th March 1944, Paul was fifty seventh in the queue of war prisoners waiting to escape and teamed up with Flight Lieutenant Edgar Humphreys, the next in line. After being pulled through the narrow tunnel on a trolley and climbing the exit ladder, Paul and Edgar ran for the cover of pine trees and then set off in the direction of Switzerland. They evaded capture for two nights and crossed the Berlin to Breslau Autobahn before they were arrested by the home guard upon entering a village. The two men were interrogated by the Gestapo in Görlitz, Paul was then returned to solitary confinement in Stalag Luft III.


Sir Valston Hancock

Chief of Air Staff, RAAF

In 1948 Valston Hancock was appointed the first Commandant of the new Air Force Academy at Point Cook, Victoria. In 1961 he was appointed Chief of the Air Staff, promoted to Air Marshall and the following year knighted, adding a KBE to his CB and DFC. It was Valston and another Old Haleian Colin Hannah who were largely responsible in the very early years of WWII for setting up the infrastructure of the ‘Empire Air Training Scheme’.


Frank Lukis



Ben Roberts-Smith

Victoria Cross