3 Squadron LIFETIMES

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RAAF Service No. 401151

15 March 1918 – 15th August, 2015.

Alan in his 3SQN Kittyhawk.  Battle of Alamein Nov 1942.

Vale ALAN RIGHETTI (1918–2015)

Alan Righetti was a remarkable man who led a remarkable life. Alan was born in Heywood (Victoria) and was House Captain and Prefect at Melbourne Grammar School, 1934-1936.  He was a champion tennis player and rifle shooter, winning the Victorian Rifle Association King’s Badge in 1939.

Alan’s extended family had military involvement in the Boer War and World War I.  By the time World War II came around, Alan and all four of his siblings volunteered for service.  Alan interrupted his studies at Melbourne University to serve in the RAAF in January 1941, training at Somers, and then in Harvards in Southern Rhodesia.  He was posted to the UK, flying Hurricanes, and joined 3 Squadron in the Middle East in Kittyhawks.  In 1942 he was involved in the Battle of El Alamein and subsequent air-battles across North Africa.  He was shot down near Tripoli on his 59th operational flight, the 127th victim of one of Germany’s greatest air aces, Major Joachim Müncheberg.  Alan was wounded, but had successfully bailed-out of his Kittyhawk just before it exploded in mid-air.  He was captured by enemy soldiers in the desert and spent three months recovering in POW hospitals near Naples, before being sent to northern Italy.

Moved by the Germans to Stalag Luft III at Sagan in Silesia, he played a role during the preparations for the ‘Great Escape’ in March 1944.  As the War drew to a close, he was forced to march away from the advancing Russian Army west to Bremen and then Lubeck.

Released in May 1945, he attended Leeds University (Textiles) followed by three months in 1946 studying textiles, sheep and wool in the US and was discharged in September 1946.  He obtained his B.Agr.Sc. degree from Melbourne University in 1950, during which time he married Janet Ellison, and together they farmed near Wangaratta until 1960.  Alan became Head of the NSW Sheep and Wool School and in 1964-68 Director and General Sales Manager of Allied Feed Mills.  From 1968 he was General Manager Marketing for Ingham Enterprises and retired in 1983. 

Alan and Janet moved to the Sunshine Coast in 1991.  During that time he was much sought after by military historians from around the world, eager to learn from his experience in this remarkable life.


 For Alan's fascinating full story, in his own words, please see our Righetti Interview.

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