Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

Search the Guide

To find information in this Guide please select one of the green coloured options.

To Select a Page Group when displayed, right click and select 'Open'.

Copyright Conditions Apply.

AITKEN, James Kenneth (1921-2009)

AITKEN, James Kenneth (1921-2009)

Ken Aitken during WW II.

Ken Aitken during WW II.

James Kenneth Aitken, lawyer, died in April 2009. 'Ken' was the son of Phillip Lewis Aitken and Marguerite Clara nee Davis and attended Geelong College as a boarder from 1932 until 1939 after attending Glamorgan School. At College, he was particularly active in the House of Guilds and in 1939 was Chairman of the House of Guilds Committee and Sub-Warden.

After leaving College he studied at Ormond College, Melbourne University. Called up by the RAAF in August 1941, he left Australia on 1 November that year for Southern Rhodesia where he trained as an Air Observer (Navigator-Bomb Aimer). This was the tenth and last draft to leave Australia for Southern Rhodesia, as the entry of Japan into the war changed Australian priorities. He was posted to a General Reconnaissance School in South Africa and then to Egypt where he completed his training at 75 OTU, Gianaclis, near Alexandria. Ken then joined 459 Squadron at Gambut, near Tobruk early in 1944, principally doing anti-submarine work. The squadron later moved to Palestine and carried out night raids on shipping in the Dodecanese Islands. In August, 1944 the squadron was sent to Benghazi in Libya and Ken went to an advanced bombing and gunnery school at Ballah in the Canal Zone and headed the bombing leaders’ course. For the remainder of Ken’s tour, 459 Squadron operated in the Aegean on reconnaissance and daylight bombing. On leaving 459, he and his pilot, Bob Norman (later Sir Robert Norman of Bush Pilots) were posted to Helwan and later to Heliopolis, two established RAF stations near Cairo. They flew IP’s (as opposed to VIP’s) to destinations in the Middle East and Southern Europe. Ken returned to Australia in November 1945.

In January 1946 he was discharged from the RAAF with the rank of Flight Lieutenant and returned to Ormond College to continue studying law. He later married Sylvia nee James and they were to have four children. During his career he lectured on conveyancing at Melbourne University but spent most of his working life with Russell, Kennedy and Cook, Lawyers becoming a senior partner. Ken was keenly interested in ornithology and bush walking and had trekked in the Himalayas. Both his brothers Phillip and Robert ‘Bob’ (1922-2004) also attended the College.

Sources: James Affleck, Geelong Collegians’ at World War II citing Aitken Family Recollections; Winter, Vincent Adams: Noble six hundred: the story of the Empire Air Training Scheme with particular reference to 674 Australians who trained in Southern Rhodesia. OGC 1934.
© The Geelong College. Unless otherwise attributed, The Geelong College asserts its creative and commercial rights over all images and text used in this publication. No images or text material may be copied, reproduced or published without the written authorisation of The College.