Ian Affleck thrived at the Black Head Surf Life Saving Club; achieving his Junior Qualifying Certificate in 1933 aged 14, his Bronze Medallion in 1935 and Instructors’ Certificate in 1939. He was a gifted swimmer and expectations were high for this youngster.
In 1940 Ian was one of 31 members of the Black Head Surf Club who enlisted in WWII. That same year he won both the Senior Surf and Senior Belt Championships before starting military training in country NSW.1 While on leave in Sydney he met Ida Maxwell and before long they were dating. They married in 1941 just before Ian embarked overseas.2 His arrival was delayed by illness but on reaching Singapore Ian received the joyous news that Ida was pregnant.
Ian lost his life in the final stages of the defence of Singapore. He was guarding the Provost Corps base when Japanese forces attacked and delivered shell fire. Ian suffered several shrapnel wounds and died three days later on the 18 February 1942. This terrible news was delivered to Ian’s family in September 1945 three and a half years after his death. His family had spent that time believing he was alive in a POW camp.3
Ian Maxwell Affleck had been born just four months after his father’s death. While Ian never met his dad, never heard his voice, never held his hand, he was in later years, when visiting his grandparents, able to encounter the same familiar sights, smells and atmosphere of summer at Black Head beach that his father had experienced.
Author: Tracey Wilson
1 Black Head Surf Life Saving Club records and oral history from Ian M Affleck.
2 NSW BDM, Marriage Index No. 14812/1941.
3 Northern Champion, 22 September 1945, 2. NAA: B883, AFFLECK IAN ANDREW WILLIAM.