Sir John Grey Gorton GCMG, AC, CH was the nineteenth Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1968 to 1971. He led the Liberal Party during that time, having previously been a long-serving government minister.
Gorton was born out of wedlock and had a turbulent childhood. He studied at Brasenose College, Oxford, after finishing his secondary education at Geelong Grammar School, and then returned to Australia to take over his father's property in northern Victoria. Gorton enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1940, and served as a fighter pilot in Malaya and New Guinea during the Second World War. He suffered severe facial injuries in a crash landing on Bintan Island in 1942, and whilst being evacuated, his ship was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine. He returned to farming after being discharged in 1944, and was elected to the Kerang Shire Council in 1946; he later served a term as shire president.
After a previous unsuccessful candidacy at state level, Gorton was elected to the Senate at the 1949 federal election. He took a keen interest in foreign policy, and gained a reputation as a strident anti-Communist.