Donel Froome, 2/71
Donel John Froome was born in Perth on 3 October 1948. He completed his secondary education at Mount Lawley Senior High School in WA. He attended Perth Technical College and graduated with a Diploma of Cartography in 1970.
Before entering the Army as a National Serviceman 5718283 on 21 April 1971, Don was employed as an
Engineering Survey Draftsman by the
Public Works Department, Perth. With his
fellow West Australians, he flew to
Melbourne and was transported to 2 RTB,
Puckapunyal. There he was selected for officer training and commenced at OTU with Class 2/71 on 7 May. Don was allocated to 14 Section, 7 Platoon, Blamey Company. In his Senior Term Donel held the position of Battalion Regimental Duties Corporal (Q) at Battalion Headquarters, with his room on “King’s Row”.
Donel graduated with his class on 6 October 1971 and was allocated to the Royal Australian Survey Corps. The following day he was posted to 4 Field Survey Squadron. The squadron was deployed to PNG in 1972 where Don was responsible for aerial photography, flying grid sections over the Owen Stanley Ranges and coastal areas of PNG, and updating the maps of this difficult terrain. Although he only needed to serve eighteen months, Don served a little extra time, discharging from National Service on 20 January 1973. Don married Deb in 1973.
Post – NS, Don returned to surveying with the Public Works Department in Perth as an Oceanographic Cartographer and in later years went back to New Guinea to walk the Kokoda Track. He also climbed many mountains throughout the world. Towards the end of his career with the Department of Transport in WA Don was Manager of Hillaries Boat Harbour in Perth and prior to retirement was tasked with monitoring all marinas in WA. Don and Deb were keen explorers and there are not many outback tracks and camping spots that they haven’t enjoyed throughout Australia in their 4WD and Off-Road Caravan.
Don was a pilot prior to NS and maintained his Private Pilot’s Licence until his death this year. He was also an Ultralight Pilot and built his own Ultralight aircraft at home and maintained it at a club on a friend’s farm at Calingiri east of Perth
Don was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year and was admitted into palliative care. After just one week in hospital, he passed away on 30 August 2021. His Funeral was held at Pinnaroo Valley in Perth on 15 September and was attended by OTU classmates and Senior Class 1/71 WA members, family and a large number of friends. Don is survived by his lovely wife Deb and sons Jarrad and Craig and their wives Melena and Lucy. Jarrad and Melena have given Don and Deb two grandsons, Jack and Ry.