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OLD FRIENDS PAY TRIBUTE TO 'BOMBER' HUDSON

Laurence Robert (“Laurie”) Hudson, a final year student of Parade’s class of 1951, has died at the age of 85.

The Old Paradians' Association was notified of Laurie’s passing by Frank McClements – an old College contemporary of Laurie’s who shared the classroom with the likes of Kevin Barham, the late Ron Barnett, Gerard Cudmore, Hilton Deakin, Max Hallam, Mick Heffernan, Peter Lay, Noel Purcell, Peter Scott and Bill Somers.

Laurie is pictured (far right) at the Association Centenary Dinner at the RACV City Club in late 2014. OPA Hall of Famer Kevin Rickard (1953) stands in the middle and Laurie’s long-time friend the late John Garland (1951) stands alongside.

In the 1951 edition of The Paradian it was noted that a number of matriculation students from the previous year had returned to the College, Laurie Hudson included.

“From the thick of many misfortunes, Laurie Hudson has managed to drop in occasionally to see if school proceeds according to plan,” an unnamed correspondent wrote.

An old classmate, Maurice Tarrant, said that Laurie’s early years were particularly trying, as he was just a boy of seven when he lost his father in wartime.

Chief Petty Officer Andrew Matthew Hudson, a native of Wexford in Ireland, was amongst the 468 crew members killed when the HMAS Perth was hit by a barrage of Japanese torpedoes and missiles in the Sunda Strait on March 1, 1942.

“Laurie’s father was killed in the war. He was on a ship that was torpedoed by the Japanese. There were many survivors but his father wasn’t one of them,” Maurice said.

“Laurie was only a young boy at the time, but he very often talked about his father. He missed him enormously.”

Laurie was enrolled at Parade College on February 4, 1948 – as Kevin Rickard recalled with the assistance of a scholarship – and completed his final day at the “Old Bluestone Pile” on December 16, 1951. The College enrolment card also reveals that in terms of character, Laurie earned a B for industry, B for courtesy, B for leadership, A for self-reliance and B for dependability.

“Laurie was a few classes ahead of me, but I had a bit to do with him at Parade. I’d come over from St Ignatius, but I didn’t know any Latin or French and wasn’t very good at Maths . . . and Br. Marlow told me that I should do form 2,” Kevin said.

“I was 18 months older than all the other boys in the class and I was closer to boys who were two or three years ahead of me, Laurie included.”

Kevin recalled that at Parade he participated in the Air Training Corps (ATC) overseen by the teacher Lawson “Bonnie” Muir and “I met Laurie on an ATC camp in Laverton”.

“We became quite friendly,” Kevin said. “He was a really nice fellow, he always had a smile and he was always cordial. We used to call him ‘Bomber’ after the RAF’s Hudson aircraft.”

Maurice explained that his friendship with Laurie endured through the years beyond the school gates by way of telephone conversation “and we both earbashed one another”.

“I didn’t know his family at all, but I knew him as a classmate and I had an on-going relationship with him over the phone. I also used to meet him at the Old Paradians luncheons,” Maurice said.

“He was larger than life. He was a bit of a comic and a bit of a rough diamond, but I got on very well with him.

This afternoon, Laurie’s daughter Vanessa Burn paid the following tribute to her father.

Laurie was a proud Old Paradian and a brilliant, complicated, wonderful, fabulous, fantastic father. He had a loving wife of 60 years this year – Helen – six children and 11 grandchildren,” Vanessa said.

“He was also proud of his mother Dorothy, his brother and his sister, and of how they all banded together after his father died. Dad got himself through on scholarships and he worked through all the school holidays to support his Mum. He got all the way to Melbourne Uni on scholarships.”

Vanessa said that Laurie worked for many years in Customs, travelled the world and for a period served with the Australian High Commission in London. In later life he committed his energies to KPMG.

“He was such a brilliant man, but he also knew that he had to do it,” Vanessa said.

Laurence Robert Hudson died on Tuesday (March 17). His funeral is to be held at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, 71 Orrong Road, Elsternwick, this Friday, March 20, commencing 1.30pm.