Extract from Tom Fitzgerald's interview by Tim Bowden for the Australian
War Memorial, 1989
Australian War Memorial: Tom Fitzgerald, Navigator No.
547 Squadron Royal Air Force RAF, interviewed by Tim Bowden for the Keith
Murdoch Sound Archive of Australia in the War of 1939-45, 10 March 1989,
ID Number: S00536
And, look, to me it was a wonderful world trip, beginning in America.
I fulfilled several ambitions of my life, I heard Elizabeth Schumann sing
in the Carnegie Hall, I heard and saw Bruno Walter conduct, I saw Paul
Robeson play Othello, -- this is all on the way over! I saw Catherine
Cornell and Helen Hayes in the theatre – this is in America. I saw
their great art galleries, terrific.
And in London, on leave again, I saw Olivier, Richardson, Peggy Ashcroft,
Gielgud. And the partial exhibition of paintings in their great National
Gallery, particularly in the latter weeks of my stay in England when they
were very quickly, as the Allies moved on in towards Berlin, they were
bringing back great paintings, great paintings, from the Welsh caves,
and if they had a really magnificent one to exhibit such as the unforgettable
angel’s head of Leonardo’s ‘Virgin of the Rocks’
they would put it at the top of the staircase for a day or two in the
National Gallery. You’d walk in there and it would hit you as a
new addition, it was dazzling.
So you had this marvellous …you know, as you say, conjunction of
the highest pleasure with the other job.