Graham Emery   1942 - 2019

The Indomitable Captain Fingers

And so dear friend the time has come

To farewell you with a sigh

There was no chance to shake your hand

Or to share a last goodbye.

So many exploits to recall

And so much gravity to defy

With the very many stories

That we told of times gone by.


It’s sad to think that we have lost

A part of our eclectic band

And that special personality

That we had come to understand.

The one we knew as ‘Fingers’

Will now be sorely missed

A little vacuum in our hearts

Not easily dismissed.



Although the last few years were tough

He showed no sign of giving in

Through trials and tribulations

Still’, every week he’d wander in

With his usual ribald greeting

And that welcome cheeky grin

Despite the years, a testament

To a young heart still within.

As to why we called him ‘Fingers’

You probably all can guess

An altercation with a propeller

How It came about – more or less.

A little absent minded, he could be -

(But aren’t we all the same)

For he’d come here on occasion

Intent to fly his plane.

Now forward preparation

Was a concept quite unknown

And while setting up his aircraft

You would hear this mighty groan

To find that he had left behind

Some insignificant small  thing

Like that little nut from off a bolt

Or an inconspicuous wing.


Still, it’s better such omissions

Are noticed while in the pits

Cause once the model’s airborne

It would really test his wits.

Like the day he flew an airplane

With the radio wrongly matched

And on another instance

With a clevis unattached.





And so just like the rest of us

These situations don’t end well

A case of search and rescue

And another sorry tale to tell.

You could say that Graham became

Very familiar with our wild grounds

After many such expeditions was

Well tuned to his surrounds.

One day Graham was spotted

On recovery mission to the bush

When it was noticed he was motionless

And perhaps might need a push.

When asked why he was standing there

Said, He’d been startled by a snake!

But if he’d had his glasses on

May have realised this mistake.

You see, the dreaded creature

Was partially hidden in the grass

And so he stood there – frozen

Quietly hoping it would pass.

You’d think he might be wondering

Why it was painfully - so slow

Well, that’s just the way a procession

Of bush caterpillars, always go.


 An exponent of this hobby

From a time when he was young

Graham had so much experience

To prove just what he’d done

And it’s very probably likely

That not many of you know

That he designed and built in partnership

A branded RC tele radio.




He liked to share his knowledge

And help new members on their way

A little difficult to assimilate

Everything he had to say.

So if you had a question

You didn’t have to ask him twice

He was very quick to answer

And offer sage advice.

As a staunch club member

Graham always tried to pull his weight

But this became more difficult

Through failing health, of late.

Recently, while on the mower

Old ‘Tatts’ would have him paged

“You’ll find it works much better

With the mower blades engaged”.

Despite his body stalling

His enthusiasm never waned

Determined he’d get his mojo back

Old reflexes be regained.

With his flying days nigh over

And although time had clipped his wings

He still strived like biplane ’Evermore’

To do heroic things.


So far we’ve told Graham’s story

Through the eyes of his rough old mates

Who don’t really know his history

Or how his younger life relates.

So now we are reflecting from

A more sensitive point of view

In respect to his wife and family

And the more gentle man they knew.




With Audrey was a union

Enduring more than fifty years

Surviving life’s long journey

Through all the joys and fears.

In the celebration of his life

It’s all right to shed a tear

In the hope that we cry for happy,

In remembrance of a life held dear.

Graham grew up on a cane farm

And Magnetic Island in the tropic North

And after leaving Grammar School

On a new life ventured forth.

His sport was racing motorbikes

With a sidecar attached

Heaven help the fellow hanging on

If it ever came unlatched.


By trade a radio technician

He joined the Air Force at Point Cook

And was with Mark’s Aero Modellers

The oldest Club there in the book.

Not only was he interested

In flying model RC planes

He had some classic motors

And collected electric model trains.




Meanwhile, the  Airforce had him posted

Off to Butterworth in his prime

And life in South East Asia

Was a most illuminating time.

On returning then to Laverton

Life once again changed pace

He was to become instructor

Of their Radio School on the Base.

With the Air Force days behind him

The young family moved on to Kellyville

A suburb north of Sydney

Where Graham had bigger shoes to fill.

With this firm called Data General

He worked there fervently

And was ultimately promoted

The regional manager in PNG.

Their house in Pt Moresby

Was overlooking Jackson Field

And flying from that famous airstrip

New horizons were revealed.

He flew throughout the Provinces

Spending time in Rabaul and Lae

A wealth of special memories

That have lived with them to this day.


On a special trip to Tufi

They flew up the impressive fiords

On board Somare’s private plane

The family lost for words

Staying in the guest house

Perched up on the peaks

And way down below a picnic

On a secluded tropic beach.

For Graham, the family

Was his special source of pride

And they all loved his free spirit

That he never tried to hide

And so for his children

It was a time of constant fun

While for his little grandson

Old ‘Poppy’ was the favourite one.


Now our world is tinged in sorrow

That this day should come to pass

And with these words all now spoken

Let’s all raise a parting glass

That we should all now make a toast

At the fall of his setting Sun

To our friend Graham Emery

And to celebrate a life well run.




The old warbird spread his wings

And soared on way up high

Until he reached the ultimate

That Kingdom in the sky

To a find a final dwelling place

Where his soul will never die

Eternal peace and harmony

Where his spirit shall forever fly.