The late Peter Isaacson grew up in Melbourne and started working for a newspaper when he was sixteen. He joined the RAAF in 1940. Following his stint in Bomber Command, he became well known in Australia for his tours in the Avro Lancaster Q-for-Queenie to promote the sale of war loans and, in particular, for flying his plane under the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1943.
He transferred to the RAAF Reserve after the war, retiring as a wing commander in 1969. Since 1956 he has served as a Trustee, Chairman, and finally Life Governor of the Victorian Shrine of Remembrance. In 1991 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his publishing and community work.
On 8 December 1940, nineteen-year-old Peter Isaacson enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and after completing his training in Australia and Canada, he was posted to the United Kingdom. There he joined No. 460 Squadron RAAF at RAAF Breighton, Yorkshire, as a Sergeant Pilot.
Operating Wellington medium bombers, No. 460 Squadron was one of a number of Australian squadrons taking part in Bomber Command’s strategic air campaign against Germany. The squadron commenced operations in March 1942 and participated in 1,000-bomber raids against Cologne, Essen and Bremen in May and June. It converted to Avro Lancaster heavy bombers in October.
Peter Isaacson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal on 6 November 1942 for “many successful night attacks on the enemy” with No. 460 Squadron. The following month his Lancaster was damaged by a Junkers Ju 88 night fighter after a raid on Munich.