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David Archibald Morgan (1920–1995)

A former director-general of the RAAF Medical Service and a leading authority on the evacuation and repatriation of wounded and sick servicemen during the Korean and Vietnam wars died in Canberra on May 30, aged 75.

Air Vice-Marshal David Morgan, AO, OBE, graduated in medicine and surgery from Adelaide University before joining the Royal Australian Air Force as a doctor in 1945.

He held many important medical postings in the RAAF during his 35-year career. He served with distinction in the Korean War from 1950-54 and was decorated with an OBE for outstanding service in the air evacuation of sick and wounded servicemen during that war. The organisation of aeromedical teams and facilities became a life-long interest.

In the late 1960s, this time during the Vietnam War, he spent two years as commanding officer of No 4 RAAF Hospital at Butterworth in Malaysia. Butterworth was an important staging post in the repatriation of wounded servicemen from Vietnam to Australia.

In 1971 Air Vice-Marshal Morgan was appointed director-general of the Air Force Health Services, an appointment he held until his retirement in 1980.

Retirement scarcely slowed him. From 1980 until the day of his death he served as a civilian medical officer at the RAAF Base Fairbairn.

An abiding interest of Air Vice-Marshal Morgan, during his years as director-general, was the fitness level of air force personnel at all levels, and he pushed hard for health promotional programs designed to improve the fitness of the men and women under his care, sometimes in the face of great inertia by fellow members of the senior administration. Many of his reforms were eventually adopted.

For two years Air Vice-Marshal Morgan was honorary physician to the Governor-General and from 1975 was honorary physician to the Queen. Just before his retirement he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Interviewed on retirement, Air Vice-Marshal Morgan said the happiest, most satisfying times of his career had been when directly associated with flying, during his active service years. His love of flying endured after retirement, as did his lifelong love of music.

Air Vice-Marshal Morgan was buried with full Air Force honours on Monday June 5 at the Anzac Memorial Chapel, Duntroon. He is survived by his wife, Josette, son David and daughter Helene.

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'Morgan, David Archibald (1920–1995)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 4 March 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


29 April, 1920
Yorketown, South Australia, Australia


30 May, 1995 (aged 75)
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

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