In Memory of our 3 Squadron
Colleagues who Gave their Lives
They shall grow not old, as we
are left grow old.
--- LEST WE FORGET ---
George Edmund HANSEL (Died of Disease 13.2.17)
Harold Strachan KITSON (Died of Accidental Injuries 15.6.17)
Thomas William BARTLE (Killed in Flying Accident 16.6.17)
Roy Cumestree TROUT (Killed in Flying Accident 27.7.17)
Francis Cunningham SHAPIRA
(Killed in flying accident whilst deploying to France 21.8.17)
William Douglas SLOANE (Killed in Flying Accident 21.8.17)
William Norman Eric SCOTT (Killed in Action 2.12.17)
Henry Haigh STORRER (KIA 2.12.17)
James Lionel Montague
(KIA "The Ghost RE8" 17.12.17)
Henry Francis HUGHES (KIA 17.12.17)
John Riggall BLAIR (KIA 26.1.18)
Clarence DONAHAY (KIA 26.1.18)
Henry STREETER (KIA 17.2.18)
Francis Joseph TARRANT (KIA 17.2.18 - Friendly Fire)
Edward Bertram DEWHIRST (Died of Wounds inflicted
German Shelling of Bailleul Airfield - 23.3.18)
Leslie Simeon John SELL (Died of Wounds 25.3.18)
Military Cross. (Killed in Action 12.4.18)
Owen Gower LEWIS (KIA 12.4.18)
William Alexander John BUCKLAND (KIA 6.5.18)
Henry Douglas Eyre RALFE (KIA 6.5.18)
Albert Lawrence Dean TAYLOR (KIA 20.5.18)
Sydney JONES (KIA 15.6.18)
Stanley Arthur LORAM (KIA 15.6.18)
Arthur O'Connor BROOK (KIA 27.6.18)
Edward John BICE, Military Cross. (KIA
Battle of Amiens 8.8.18)
John Ernest CHAPMAN (KIA Battle of Amiens 8.8.18)
Roland Frank Charles MACHIN (Died of Wounds 18.9.18)
(Missing in Action 19.9.18)
John Patrick JEFFERS (MIA 19.9.18)
Bruce Garie THOMSON (KIA 3.10.18)
John GOULD-TAYLOR, Distinguished Flying Cross. (KIA 3.10.18)
Albert John WALKER (Died of Disease - Flu
Epidemic - 16.10.18)
Stanley Herbert NEWTON (Died of Disease 30.10.18)
Edward Joseph MAHER (Died of Disease 1.11.18)
Gustav William FEILD (Died of Disease 9.11.18)
George PICKERING (Died of Disease 13.11.18)
John Edward HURST (Died of Disease 28.11.18)
Thomas Grant DICKSON (Died of Disease 4.3.19)
Vincent SMITH, Meritorious Service Medal. (Died in Australia of War-Related Injuries 18.3.20)
The Squadron's WW2 Fatalities, in Date Order, were:
Pilot Officer Robert John OHLMEYER is buried at Clare and District Cemetery, South Australia. Grave 46. GRM/5. Age 21.
Son of Mr and Mrs J. W. Ohlmeyer, of Clare, South Australia.
Shortly after 3pm on 23/11/39, Jack Ohlmeyer, a recently-arrived 3 Squadron pilot, lost control of his Hawker Demon II, Serial A1-62, in low cloud, whilst flying solo on a training exercise near Jamberoo NSW. He attempted to bale out, but his parachute ripped and he fell to earth only 100m from the wreckage of his aircraft. His death at this early stage of the war was an unaccustomed shock and elaborate public remembrance ceremonies were undertaken by the Squadron. His coffin was then transported to his home town in South Australia where another huge funeral took place. Amazingly however, Jack’s membership of No.3 Squadron was soon forgotten. The Squadron had departed Richmond for overseas and the AWM’s registry paperwork erroneously allocated him to No.22 (City of Sydney) Squadron. Jack has only recently been restored to his rightful position at the head of 3 Squadron’s WW2 Roll of Honour.
Squadron Leader Peter Ronald HEATH, service number
87, is buried at
Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, Egypt. Plot 18, row F, grave number 4.
Son of Harry and Annie Jean Heath. Husband of Margery Sybil Heath, of Burwood, New South Wales, Australia.
3 Squadron's first operational mission of WW2 was conducted on 13/11/40 in the Egyptian Western Desert. Six days later they met with enemy aircraft for the first time:
On 19/11/40 at 1320, four No.3 Squadron aircraft took off on a tactical reconnaissance. They were attacked, seven miles east of Rabia, by an estimated 18 Fiat C.R.42 fighters. In a swirling and confusing combat, Squadron Leader Heath, in Gloster Gladiator II N5750, was shot down and crashed in flames. There were no other pilot losses on either side, despite the fact that both the Italians and the Australians reported numerous further victory claims.
Flight Lieutenant Charles Burton GADEN, service
number 289, is buried at Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, Egypt. Plot 22, row
B, grave number 1. Age 24.
Son of Keith Burton Gaden and Olga Maude Gaden. Husband of Barbara Evelyn Gaden, of Ascot, Queensland, Australia. B.Sc.
Six Gladiators took off at 0800 on 13/12/40 from Gerawla to fly an offensive fighter patrol over the Sollum / Fort Capuzzo / Halfaya area. At Sollum they came across five Italian SM79 bombers (from 60a Squadriglia, 33o Gruppo Autonomo BT, escorted by ten CR.42s from the 9o Gruppo) attacking British vehicles.
Diving in to attack, Flight Lieutenant Gordon Steege claimed one of the bombers and a second 'probable'. Flight Lieutenant Chas Gaden (Gladiator N5765) was killed when his aircraft was shot down by an SM79 rear gunner. [The body of Flight Lieutenant Gaden was later found by the 7th Hussars, in his crashed Gladiator. He was buried beside the wreckage by Lieutenant J. Napier and later moved to Sollum War Cemetery.]
The escorting Italian CR.42 fighters then intervened. Steege became separated from the others, ran out of ammunition and returned to base at 1030. Flying Officer Lex Winten was hit in the right hand by an explosive bullet and baled out. [This was 3 Squadron's first-ever parachute escape in combat. Fortunately he landed near a British Army doctor.] Italian records show that none of the SM79s was actually shot down, but the C.O. of the 60a Squadriglia, Capitano Loris Bulgarelli, was killed in his cockpit while another of his crew was wounded. Bulgareri's SM79 and one other were classified as "heavily damaged" after returning to base.
Flying Officer Wilfred Arthur's Gladiator (N5752) was accidentally rammed by a CR.42 flown by Capitano Larsimont. The wings of the Gladiator collapsed and folded back along its fuselage. Arthur struggled to free himself from his oxygen tube and was then caught in the tangle of wing-bracing wires. Fortunately, at about 1,000 feet he broke clear and was able to deploy his parachute just before hitting the ground. [Later, back in the Mess, he produced the ripcord of his parachute, which meant that he didn't have to buy a round of drinks!] Larismont's CR.42 force-landed after the collision and was abandoned as a total loss, although the pilot was unhurt.
Flying Officer Alan Boyd claimed two CR.42s and his aircraft had its port flying-wire shot away, causing him to force-land. Boyd repaired his own Gladiator and returned to Gerawla at 1110. Flying Officer Alan Gatward was also forced down. Gatward's Gladiator was later recovered from the desert, but was so damaged that it was written-off.
Three other Italian fighters sustained some damage, but were able to return to base. The Italians thought that they had been attacked by ten Gladiators and claimed five shot down, plus one rammed, three more 'probables' and several more damaged. Actually, only six 3SQN Gladiators took part in the combat, but four were written-off and the remaining two had been damaged to some extent. It had been a 'black day' for 3SQN.
[Italian data from Hakan's Biplane Fighter Ace website.]
Corporal Vincent Jack Edwin JARVIS, service number
300047, is buried at Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya. Plot 15, row D,
grave 14. Age 28.
Son of Mary Elizabeth Jarvis, of Orange, New South Wales, Australia.
On 14/1/41 Corporal Jarvis and Leading Aircraftman Parr went from Gambut to Tobruk in a Wireless Tender to assist with maintaining wireless-telegraphy equipment attached to the Allied artillery batteries beseiging Tobruk. They accidentally drove into the enemy perimeter in a sandstorm and Corporal Jarvis was killed instantly by Italian fire. (Parr was captured, but freed a few days later, during the Allied taking of Tobruk.)
Flying Officer James Chippindall CAMPBELL, service
number 634, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 245. Age 22.
Son of Forbes and Doris Campbell. Husband of Ann Campbell, of Kew, Victoria, Australia. Former Melbourne Editor of Sydney Daily Telegraph.
On 25/1/41 a patrol of 3 Squadron Gladiators from Martuba (Libya) and staged through Tmimi were flying at 2,000 feet over the 7th Armoured Division when they were attacked by five Fiat G.50s. One of the Italian fighters was damaged by Flying Officer Pete Turnbull, but Flying Officer Campbell in Gloster Gladiator I K8022 was shot down and killed eight miles south-east of Mechili.
Flying Officer Alan Arthur GATWARD, service
number 272, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 245. Age 23.
Son of Arthur Gatward and Amelia Kate Gatward, of Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.
On 19/2/41 at 1000hrs, Flight Lieutenant Perrin, Flying Officer Gatward and Flying Officer Boyd took off to patrol the Agedabia-El Agheila area. The formation split-up when Jock Perrin and Alan Gatward dived on nine Stukas that they spotted bombing the Mersa El Brega area. Perrin (in Hurricane I V7557) shot down Stuka WkNr.5455 of II/StG2 (crew Stuber/Nentwig, both of whom survived with injuries). Four Messerschmitt Bf110s of 8/ZG26 then attacked the two Hurricanes. Flying Officer Gatward, in Hawker Hurricane I V7552, was shot down in flames and killed. [This was actually the Luftwaffe's first aerial victory claimed over the Desert.] Jock Perrin shot down one of the Bf110s, but then a German cannon shell ignited his petrol tank, setting his Hurricane on fire. He turned-about and fired on this second Messerschmitt until his ammunition was exhausted. As he was too low to bale out, he crash-landed in flames and was then strafed by the Bf110s. Remarkably, he was only slightly injured, despite his plane being incinerated. He was awarded an immediate Distinguished Flying Cross for his outstanding leadership in this action. The crew of Perrin's Bf110 victim, Wehmeyer and Wust - who had shortly before shared in shooting down Gatward - ditched in the ocean, with injuries, and were adrift in a raft overnight before being rescued by an Italian seaplane. Perrin was evacuated to a hospital in Tobruk - which was bombed (he was blown out of bed and found himself wearing a window frame around his neck!); and then removed to a ship, which was soon afterwards sunk by more Stukas! However he again escaped death and swam to the shore. He returned to 3 Squadron in April 1941. (Just in time for the Squadron's fraught "First Retreat" from Libya, pursued by Rommel and the Afrika Korps...)
Leading Aircraftman David RANSFORD, service number
6641, is buried at Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt. Plot P, grave 175. Age 34.
Son of Charles and Alice Ransford, of Chesterton, Stoke-on-Trent, England.
On 20/2/41 Armourer David Ransford died at 1455 at the 15th Scottish General Hospital after an operation.
Leading Aircraftman Percival Arnold Roy McFARLANE,
service number 9089, is buried at Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya. Plot 6, row E,
grave 2. Age 22.
Son of Howard Irvine McFarlane and Florence Esther Bernice McFarlane, of Torrensville, South Australia.
On 12/3/41 Telephone operator Leading Aircraftman McFarlane died at 2/1st Casualty Clearing Station at Benghazi having been admitted on 8/3/41 dangerously ill from purpura haemorrhagica.
Squadron Leader Duncan CAMPBELL, service number
134, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 245. Age 25.
Son of Colin and Maria Campbell, of Dulwich Hill, New South Wales, Australia.
On 5/4/41, with a patrol from Marauna (Libya) over Barce Pass of seven 3 Squadron Hurricanes and two Hurricanes of 73 Squadron, Squadron Leader Campbell (in Hawker Hurricane I V7567) was shot down near Barce whilst attacking Stukas of II/StG2. Squadron Leader Campbell's aircraft was probably hit by return-fire from one of the Stukas. His Hurricane was seen on fire and diving steeply towards the ground. Nine of the 12 Stukas were shot down; one of them by S/L Campbell, adding to his two previous victories with 3SQN.
Corporal Reginald Stanley BURDUS, service number
26379, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 246. Age 22.
Son of Thomas Aubrey and Irene Amelia Burdus, of Grange, South Australia.
On 5/4/41 at 1000, a convoy of 3 Squadron vehicles had left Maraua, retiring towards Martuba as part of the general retreat before Rommel's offensive. At the western boundaries of Derna, four Messerschmitt Bf110s strafed the convoy, sending Squadron members sprawling for cover and fatally wounding Service Policeman Burdus. 14742 Leading Aircraftman A. Durant also received a slight flesh wound in the leg. On 6/4/41 Corporal Burdus died at 15th Casualty Clearing Station, having been admitted the day before. He was buried in the Derna Military Cemetery but the precise location of his grave appears to have been lost in the subsequent fighting.
Sergeant Norman Arvon EVANS, service number 402113,
is buried at Ramleh War Cemetery, Israel. Plot T, grave 40. Age 24.
Son of John and Jennie Evans, of Naremburn, New South Wales, Australia.
On 5/6/41 Sergeant Evans was killed during a training flight when his Curtiss Tomahawk IIB AK408 spun and crashed into an orange grove two and a half miles east of Jaffa (modern-day Haifa) in what was, then, the British protectorate of Palestine. He had joined 3 Squadron on 30/4/41.
Sergeant Michael Patrick Alfred RANDELL, service
number 407080, is buried
at Damascus British War Cemetery, Syria. Plot H, grave 8. Age 25.
Son of Alfred Swaine Randell and Olive Marion Randell, of North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia.
On 28/6/41 nine 3 Squadron Tomahawks flew to Damascus, refuelled and escorted Blenheims on a raid, then shot down six Vichy Martin 167Fs. After refuelling at Damascus and taking off to return to Jenin, Sergeant Randall's Curtiss Tomahawk IIB AK427 spun into the ground three miles south of Damascus after his engine failed. (Bob Muirhead, DFC, comments: "Mick, evidently flying low, tried to gain enough height to bale out, stalled and spun in.")
Sergeant Thomas Dudley PARKER, service number
402391, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 246. Age 28.
Son of Thomas Joseph and Lydia Parker, of Vaucluse, New South Wales, Australia.
On 12/10/41 Leutnant Rudolf Sinner of I/JG27 shot Dudley Parker's Curtiss Tomahawk IIB AN355 out of a defensive circle in the Bir Sheferzen area. He baled out of his burning aircraft, but bullets cut his parachute harness and he fell 4,000 feet. It was reported at the time that a 109 pilot had deliberately shot at him in his parachute.
Flying Officer Eric Hall LANE, service number
406002, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 245. Age 22.
Son of John and Florence Edith Lane.
On 22/11/41 at 0945 twelve 3 Squadron Tomahawks escorted six 45 Squadron Blenheims to bomb the Acroma - El Adem road and met 109s. Oberleutnant Hugo Schneider and Hauptmann Karl-Wolfgang Redlich of I/JG27 shot down three Tomahawk IIBs: Eric Lane in AM378, John Saunders in AN416 and Malcolm Watson in AK510. Eric Lane was buried by 13 Corps personnel at PP.436365.
Flight Lieutenant John Henry William SAUNDERS, service number 471, is buried at Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya. Plot 15, row D, grave 21. Age 21.
Son of John Edward Stanley Saunders and Florence Catherine Saunders, of Cottesloe, Western Australia.
Flying Officer Malcolm Hector WATSON, service
number 845, is buried at Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya. Plot 15, row
F, grave 5. Age 28.
Son of Alexander Malcolm and Annie Watson, of Mount Gambier, South Australia.
Flight Lieutenant Lindsay Eric Shaw KNOWLES,
service number 456, is buried at Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya. Plot
15, row F, grave 9. Age 24.
Son of Sir George Shaw Knowles, Kt., C.B.E., M.A., LL.M., and of Lady Knowles (nee Bennett), of Applethorpe, Queensland, Australia. B.A. (Sydney).
On 22/11/41 at 1540 fourteen 3 Squadron Tomahawks with nine Tomahawks of 112 Squadron took off to sweep over the Tobruk-El Adem area and met over twenty 109s of I and II/JG27 south-east of El Adem. During an hour-long dogfight, JG27 lost six 109s. Six Curtiss Tomahawk IIBs of 3 Squadron were lost. Pete Jeffrey (AN390) and Ron Simes (AM507) returned to the Squadron, Robbie Roberts (AN373) and Bill Kloster (AK390) were taken prisoner. Lin Knowles (AN410) and Sammy Lees (AN305) were killed; one of them made a head-on attack on a 109 and the two aircraft collided, both losing their starboard wings and crashing. The pilots of II/JG27 who made claims were Hauptmann Wolfgang Lippert (shot down and taken prisoner the next day, but he died from his injuries several days later), Feldwebel Karl-Heinz Bendert, Oberfahnrich Franz Woidich, Feldwebel Hans Glessinger (of 5/JG27, shot down and killed the next day), Oberfeldwebel Otto Schulz (shot down and killed on 17/6/42) and Oberleutnant Emmerich Fluder (of 5/JG27, missing on 31/5/42, probably shot down by Tomahawks of 5 Squadron S.A.A.F.).
Flying Officer Lawton ("Sammy") LEES, service number 400092, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 245. Age 27.
Son of Samuel and Adelaide Emma Lees. Husband of Mabel Ada Lees, of East Prahran, Victoria, Australia.
Brian Thompson later visited Sammy's crash site in the desert and observed:
"...the Italians had buried him and made quite a nice grave. He had gone straight in."
Flying Officer Percival Roy BOTHWELL, service
number 695, is buried at Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, Egypt. Plot 22, row A,
grave number 2. Age 20.
Son of Percival James Bothwell and Ellen Charlotte Davis Bothwell of Rose Bay, New South Wales, Australia. Date of death given as 26/11/41.
On 25/11/41 at 0825 3 Squadron were ordered to strafe a column of tanks at PP.491335 which were heading east through Allied lines near Sidi Omar. Roy Bothwell in Curtiss Tomahawk IIB AM398 was hit by ground fire and crashed. His aircraft hit the ground at speed, the engine was found 100 yards away from the airframe. Bobby Gibbes (memoir, page 74) states that Roy Bothwell flew straight into a tank.
Flying Officer Bruce Aitken EVANS, service
number 713, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 245. Age 23.
Son of William de Lacey Evans and of Elizabeth Agnes Evans, of Frankston, Victoria, Australia.
On 25/11/41 at 1512, seven 3 Squadron Tomahawks took off with twelve of 112 Squadron and met seventy Axis aircraft over Sidi Rezegh. Bruce Evans in Curtiss Tomahawk IIB AN343 was last seen chasing a Messerschmitt out to sea near Tobruk.
Sergeant Geoffrey Edward HILLER, service number
407075, is buried at Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya. Plot 15, row D,
grave 25. Age 25.
Son of Charles Edward and Amanda Elizabeth Marie Hiller, of Glenelg, South Australia.
On 26/11/41 Geoff Hiller in Curtiss Tomahawk IIB AM413 was shot down by Hauptmann Karl-Wolfgang Redlich of I/JG27 just outside Tobruk and baled out of his burning aircraft with head burns. He was taken prisoner by the Germans and hospitalised, but died of his wounds on 2/12/41.
Flying Officer David RUTTER, service
number 400833, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 245. Age
Son of Hubert and Beulah Rutter, of Armadale, Victoria, Australia. B.Mech.Eng. (Melbourne)
On 9/12/41 at 1035 nine 3 Squadron Tomahawks, with ten from 112 Squadron RAF, were bounced south of El Adem by six 109s of I/JG27. Dave Rutter in Curtiss Tomahawk IIB AK378, Rex Wilson (AN457), and Tiny Cameron (AK499) were shot down by Oberleutnant Gerhard Homuth, Unteroffizier Grimm and Oberleutnant Hugo Schneider.
Both Rutter and Wilson were killed. It is reported that Rex Wilson was buried by an R.A.F. officer.
[Tiny Cameron force-landed west of El Adem but returned to the Squadron three days later. Wing Commander Pete Jeffrey in AN408 force-landed at Tobruk. Two months later, on 11/1/42, Hugo Schneider of I/JG27 was shot down and killed by 3 Squadron's Nicky Barr. Coincidentally, Tiny Cameron was also shot down once more during this combat - by either Leutnant Hans-Arnold Stahlschmidt or Leutnant Friedrich Korner; Cameron was taken prisoner.]
Sergeant Rex Kerslake WILSON, Distinguished Flying Medal, service number 407088, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 246. Age 22.
Son of Norman and Mary Emmeline Wilson, of Glen Osmond, South Australia.
Flying Officer Donald Erskine KNIGHT, service
number 2762, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 245. Age 23.
Son of Evelyn Vernon Knight and Ina Beresford Knight, of Newstead, Tasmania, Australia. Date of death given as 13/12/41.
On 14/12/41 at 0915 six 3 Squadron Tomahawks took off on a sweep over Martuba and west to 50 miles south of Gazala and met eight 109s and seven Stukas. Leutnant Hans-Arnold Stahlschmidt and Oberleutnant Josef Unterberger of I/JG27 claimed a Tomahawk each in the Tmimi area; Don Knight in Curtiss Tomahawk IIB AN285 was killed, Derek Scott in AN270 baled out and was taken prisoner.
Leading Aircraftman Robert Allan Ross BRAYE,
service number 6137, is buried at Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya. Plot 15, row B, grave 17. Age 24.
Son of Thomas Alfred Inglis Braye and Sarah Brewer Braye. Husband of Gladys Olive Braye, of Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, Australia.
On 26/12/41, while collecting a new coil for his truck which had broken down, Leading Aircraftman Braye was killed instantly when a single enemy aircraft bombed No.121 Maintenance Unit. Corporal A. Campbell, No.8788, was seriously injured and admitted to 62nd General Hospital at Tobruk. Leading Aircraftman Braye was buried the next day by the 118 kilo post on the Tobruk to Derna road near Gazala No.2 airstrip.
Flying Officer Alan Rupert BASTER, service number
400035, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 263. Age 25.
Son of Charles William and Violet Adele Baster. Husband of Lesley Victoria Baster, of Box Hill, Victoria, Australia.
On 8/1/42 at 0820 ten 3 Squadron Kittyhawks from LG110 (Sidi Barrani, Egypt) intercepted forty three Axis fighters over Agedabia-El Agheila and shot down five Macchi C.200s, two Fiat C.R.42s with several other probables and damaged, for the loss of Alan Baster in Curtiss Kittyhawk I AK656.
Sergeant Ronald Henry SIMES, Distinguished
Flying Medal, service number 402259, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial,
Egypt, Column 266. Age 24.
Son of John Johnson Simes and Edith Amelia Simes. Husband of Mary Josephine Simes, of Stanthorpe, Queensland, Australia.
On 9/1/42 eleven 3 Squadron Kittyhawks with eight of 112 Squadron escorted seven Marylands to Mersa Brega. Oberleutnant Gerhard Homuth of I/JG27 shot down Ron Simes in Curtiss Kittyhawk I AK610, and wounded Geoff Chinchen in AK581 who crash-landed at Msus; Geoff returned to the Squadron from hospital on 7/3/42.
Flying Officer James Andrew McINTOSH, service
number 742, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 264. Age 22.
Son of James and Elizabeth Agnes McIntosh, of Goodwood, South Australia. Date of death given as 23/1/42.
On 22/1/42 James McIntosh was shot down in Curtiss Kittyhawk I AK736 returning from a sweep over Agedabia-Ghetafia-Bettabel-Hasseiat. One Kittyhawk was claimed by Leutnant Hans-Arnold Stahlschmidt of I/JG27. Flying Officer Eric Bradbury was also hit and forced down in AK599 near Saunna. Eric returned to the Squadron on 25/1/42 with shell-shock, having been caught up in the middle of a tank battle.
Sergeant Frank Blunden REID, service number 402137,
is buried at Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, Egypt. Plot 17, row E, grave number 7. Age 26.
Son of Donald Edwin and Cecilia Mary Reid, of Artarmon, New South Wales, Australia.
On 15/2/42 at 1322 Frank Reid in Curtiss Kittyhawk I AK605 with Tommy Briggs in AK594 took off from Gambut to intercept four 109s bombing a road nearby. They were both shot down by Leutnant Hans-Joachim Marseille waiting up-sun. Briggs baled out at 200 feet and survived, wounded. Frank Reid's aircraft was hit and dived steeply into a ridge.
Flying Officer Thomas Lancelot THRELKELD, service
number 761, is buried at Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya. Plot 15, row
F, grave 8. Age 23.
Son of Percy Harris Threlkeld and Flora Menzies Threlkeld, of Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. Husband of Norma Margaret Threlkeld, of Parramatta.
On 16/2/42 at 1600 five Kittyhawks of 3 Squadron took off to intercept bombers near El Adem. 10 miles south-east of El Adem six 109s of I/JG27 were sighted 1,000 feet below and pursued, but no contact was made. On returning three 109s were sighted behind. The formation turned to attack them, Sergeant Gordon White fired at one from 100 yards and damaged it. Lance Threlkeld in Curtiss Kittyhawk I AK691 was shot down by Oberleutnant Friedrich Keller 20 miles south of El Adem and crashed in flames.
Sergeant Roger Maurice Herbert JENNINGS, service
number 404509, is buried at Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya. Plot 15,
row D, grave 5. Age 24.
Son of Horace Hocking Jennings and Celeste Jennings. Husband of Esma Lily Jennings, of Goondiwindi, Queensland, Australia.
On 27/2/42 at 1120 six Kittyhawks of 3 Squadron with six of 450 Squadron scrambled from standby to intercept enemy aircraft over Tobruk. Pilot Officer Reg Pfeiffer in AK796 and Sergeant Brian Thompson in AK622 were jumped by 109s of JG27. Thompson shot one down and damaged another. Two aircraft of 3 Squadron were lost, probably to Leutnant Hans-Joachim Marseille: Dick Hart in AK689 who baled out and returned to the Squadron; and Roger Jennings in Curtiss Kittyhawk I AK665 who crashed near 13 Corps H.Q. and was killed on this, his 4th operation.
Flying Officer Peter Radcliffe GIDDY, service
number 715, is buried at El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt. Plot AIV, row F, grave
19. Age 22.
Son of George William and Dorothy Herschell Giddy, of Toorak, Victoria, Australia.
A No.3 Squadron 'Ace', Peter joined the Squadron on 29 December 1941, flying Kittyhawks. On 22 January 1942 he destroyed a Macchi 200 and damaged a Bf 109. He followed this up with the destruction of two more Macchi 200s and damage to another Bf 109 on a later sortie. He had his Kittyhawk emblazoned with the legend ‘The Secret Weapon’. Giddy and another pilot accounted for two Macchi 200s in a fierce battle on 14 February 1942. On 8 March he had his last battle, when he claimed yet another Macchi and a Ju87, bringing his total to five.
On 12/3/42, after taking off from Gambut Main in Curtiss Kittyhawk I AK830, Peter Giddy's hatch door came open when doing an upward roll and he crashed.
Sergeant William Allan BEARD, service number
402717, is buried at El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt. Plot A1, row A, grave 21. Age 22.
Son of William and Catherine Jemima Sawle Beard, of Strathfield, New South Wales, Australia.
On 16/4/42 at 1600 after taking off in Kittyhawk I AK712 or AK649 from LG102 (Sidi Haneish, Egypt) his engine failed. He tried to turn back but the aircraft spun-in and burned near L.G.12, Sidi Haneish North.
Flying Officer Harold Graham PACE, service number
824, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 264. Age 25.
Son of Arthur Harold and Jeanie Christie Pace. Husband of Ida Frances Pace, of Dalveen, Queensland, Australia. B.A., LL.B,, Hons
On 13/5/42 twelve aircraft of 3 Squadron were bounced by two 109Fs over Gazala, Oberleutnant Hans-Joachim Marseille of I/JG27 shot down Graham Pace in Curtiss Kittyhawk I AL172, who was killed by a single shot to the head. (Graham was recorded as buried at Derna map reference PP.381431, but it proved impossible for recovery teams locate his grave after hostilities had finished.) Marseille also shot down Colin MacDiarmid in AK855, who baled out, wounded.
Sergeant Colin Shaw MacDIARMID, service number
404345, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 266. Age 25.
Son of Douglas Holmes MacDiarmid, and of Irene MacDiarmid, of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
On 30/5/42 Sergeant MacDiarmid was in Curtiss Kittyhawk I AL153 one of four 3 Squadron aircraft which took off at 1555. After bombing and strafing M.T. at PP.357413, he was shot down and killed by 109s of I/JG27 or III/JG53. Nicky Barr in AK889 was also shot down, but walked back.
Pilot Officer Ross BIDEN, service number 402718, is
buried at Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, Egypt. Plot 17, row E, grave
number 2. Age 23.
Son of Norman Frederick and Hilda Biden of Cremorne, New South Wales, Australia.
At 1620 hrs on 16/6/42, Ross Biden took off from Gambut Satellite airfield in Curtiss Kittyhawk I AK745, on his third mission of the afternoon, attempting to stem Rommel's breakout from "The Cauldron". Ross then attempted an emergency landing at Gambut Main field, probably experiencing engine trouble. He crash-landed just short of Gambut Main with his undercarriage not fully extended and still carrying his bomb. The bomb nose-rod hit sand piled up around some camel thorn and the bomb exploded.
Sergeant Frederick Joseph RYAN, service number
403149, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 266. Age 20.
Son of Frederick and Laura May Ryan, of Woollahra, New South Wales, Australia.
On 16/6/42 Fred Ryan disappeared in Curtiss Kittyhawk I AL145 on his third bombing and strafing mission of the day, after taking off at 1620 [the same mission as Ross Biden - see above]. Fred was thought by his colleagues to have been hit by flak north-west of El Adem. [But from German records, he may actually have been finished off by a German fighter after being damaged by flak: Oberleutnant Hermann Tangerding of III/JG27 claimed a Kittyhawk shot down in flames. No.450 Squadron's Operations Record Book adds further information: 450 had three Kittyhawks accompanying this mission and they recorded: "On route back 2 M.E.109s attacked formation. One Kittyhawk was seen to strike ground and burst into flames." ]
Flying Officer George Alan DOUGALL, service number
403324, is recorded on
the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 263. Age 26.
Son of William and Louise Mary Dougall, of Centennial Park, New South Wales, Australia.
On 15/7/42 George Dougall was in Curtiss Kittyhawk IA ET911, one of four 3 Squadron aircraft which took off at 0915 and bombed a target of 150 vehicles at PP.874297 west of El Alamein. On his fifth operation just six days after joining the Squadron, his aircraft was hit by intense flak over the target and he was killed.
Sergeant John James MANDERSON, service number
401708, is buried at Heliopolis War Cemetery, Egypt. Plot 2, row A, grave number
15. Age 23.
Son of Henry John and Minnie Beatrice Manderson of North Williamstown, Victoria, Australia.
On 6/8/42, Sgt. Manderson, one of the new draft of 3SQN pilots, crashed on a training flight near L.G.222 (El Faiyum Road) in Curtiss Kittyhawk I AL182, a 250 Squadron aircraft. His engine lost power and the aircraft spun into the ground on approach.
Flying Officer John MACTAGGART, service number
405752, is buried at Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery,
Egypt. Grave P166. Age 20.
Son of John Lacy Mactaggart and Marjorie Jane Gilmore Mactaggart of Ascot, Queensland, Australia.
On 18/8/42, in Curtiss Kittyhawk IA ET871 on dive-bombing training exercise, John Mactaggart lost control while pulling up from his bomb-dive. His Kittyhawk went into a spin at low altitude and impacted the ground at PP.538878.
Sergeant Gordon George SCRIBNER, service number
411392, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 266. Age 22.
Son of Hugh Gordon and Clarissa Emily Eugenie Scribner, of Forster, New South Wales, Australia.
On 15/9/42 at 1725 eight 3 Squadron aircraft scrambled, with twenty-eight other fighters from 239 Wing, to intercept aircraft 10 miles south-west of El Alamein. They met forty-three 109s of JG27. In the resulting dogfight, Gordon Scribner was shot down in Curtiss Kittyhawk IA EV322 and killed.
Pilot Officer Edward Henry Thomas ALDERSON, service
number 402838, is buried at El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt. Plot XXXII, row A,
grave 20. Age 29.
Son of Corporal Henry Alderson (died on active service in Belgium, 21st October 1914) and Ethel Frances Alderson.
On 20/10/42 at 1135 ten 3 Squadron Kittyhawks from LG91 (Amiriya Egypt) escorted Baltimores to bomb the Fuka landing grounds. Ted Alderson in Curtiss Kittyhawk IA EV361 was presumed shot down by 109s that intercepted after the bombing. Germans Lt. Kientsch and Uffz. Vavra made claims in this battle.
Pilot Officer Garth Angus NEILL, Distinguished
Flying Medal service
number 404773, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 265. Age 20.
Son of Captain Matthew Bell Neill and Muriel Elizabeth M. Neill, of East Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
On 22/10/42 at 1045 eighteen B-25 Mitchells with ten Kittyhawks of 3 Squadron (medium cover) six of 450 (close cover) and 250 Squadron (top cover) flew to bomb L.G.104 (Qotafiyah II) west of Daba. Nearly all the B-25s were hit by flak, as was Garth Neill in Curtiss Kittyhawk IA ET1016, he was seen going down streaming glycol.
Flying Officer John William UPWARD, service number
402896, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 265. Age 27.
Son of Raymond and Chloe Lansdowne Upward. Husband of Joan Dorothy Upward, of Gordon, New South Wales, Australia.
On 17/11/42 over Magrun, nine 3 Squadron aircraft met three 109s. Johnny Upward in Curtiss Kittyhawk IIA FL306 collided with a Messerschmitt 109F of 5/JG27 flown by Feldwebel Gerhard Buter and spun in from 1,500 feet at PP (S) X 2497, 13 miles at 110 degrees from Magrun. Neither pilot baled out. [That evening, Alan Righetti recorded in his diary: "I spent an hour talking to him yesterday about married men being in a game as risky as this. - He was married shortly before joining up. He reckoned he had a pretty good chance of getting through. A very nice chap was "Uppy" and another sad young widow will get a 'missing' cable in the next week or so, and start praying in vain for his safety."]
Corporal Donald Arnold RILEY, service number 21719,
is buried at Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya. Plot 6, row E, grave 23. Age 21.
Son of John Robert and Ada Hannah Riley, of Bondi, New South Wales, Australia. Date of death given as 3/12/42.
On 4 /12/42 Corporal "Curly" Riley was accidentally killed while assisting in the cleaning of a set of twin machine guns. Another armourer, LAC Wilkes, was placed on a charge of manslaughter and negligent handling of firearms.
Leading Aircraftman Leslie John HORNE, service
number 40506, is buried at Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya. Plot 6, row E, grave 18. Age 21.
Son of John Robert and Ethel Horne, of Stanley, Tasmania, Australia.
On 18/12/42 one of the advance ground-crew party jumped out of their truck at the newly-occupied Marble Arch Landing Ground and tripped a German "Bouncing Betty" or 'S' mine. "Snowy" Horne, Maurice Thompson and Tommy Waugh were killed instantly. Brian Gates died enroute to hospital during the air-evacuation of casualties to Benghazi. George Bartsch died on 21/12/42 in Benghazi Hospital. LACs Kelly, Gurney and Mellow were all seriously wounded but survived the disaster, after being hospitalised.
Leading Aircraftman Maurice Basil THOMPSON, service number 7170, is buried at Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya. Plot 6, row E, grave 16. Age 34.
Husband of Margaret Thompson, of East St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia.
Leading Aircraftman (Aircraft hand) Thomas Frederick WAUGH, service number 37197, is buried at Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya. Plot 6, row E, grave 17. Age 25.
Son of William and Elizabeth Isabel Waugh, of Cardiff, New South Wales, Australia.
Leading Aircraftman Brian Metcalfe GATES, service number 14827, is buried at Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya. Plot 6, row D, grave 18. Age 22.
Son of Ernest John and Ethel Amelia Gates, of Drummoyne, New South Wales, Australia.
Leading Aircraftman (Flight Mechanic) George Murray BARTSCH, service number 39549, is buried at Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya. Plot 6, row D, grave 17. Age 21.
Son of Johann Gottlieb Bartsch and Daisy Bartsch, of Solomontown, South Australia. Date of death given as 19/12/42.
Flight Sergeant Kenneth Clifford BEE, service
number 403854, is buried at Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya. Plot 12, row A, grave
14. Age 21.
Son of Jasper Oswald and Emma Pauline Bee, of Cremorne, New South Wales, Australia.
On 21/12/42 at 1305 Bobby Gibbes led six 3 Squadron aircraft to recce the airfield at Hun; they strafed the eleven aircraft there twice. Ron Watt in Kittyhawk IIA FL346 led in for a third pass and Ken Bee in Kittyhawk IIA FL286 and Rex Bayly in Kittyhawk IIA FL327 were both shot down by ground fire. Ken Bee's aircraft had been hit by flak whilst diving to attack; it caught fire, dived into the ground and exploded. Bayly force-landed in the desert near the enemy airfield. The heroic Bobby Gibbes then landed and picked Bayly up.
Flying Officer William George DIEHM, service number
412049, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 277. Age 22.
Son of William and Helen Diehm, of Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia.
On 14/1/43 at 1125, twelve Kittyhawks from 3 Squadron (along with twelve Kittyhawks from each of 250, 260, and 450 Squadrons) escorted eighteen Bostons to attack the Bir Dufan airfields. The formation flew out to sea then back over the coast at the grid S.40 line and were then attacked continuously to Bir Dufan and back by twenty 109s of I/JG77 with some Macchi 202s. Reg Stevens and Sergeant Hook probably shot down a 109, but six Kittyhawk IIAs were shot down: Bobby Gibbes (FL323 crash-landed at 300 m.p.h.); Les Weatherburn (FL330 - baled out); Norm Caldwell (FL363 crash-landed); Bill Diehm (FL346) and Allan Tonkin (FL345). Two parachutes were seen to open at R 9359 and two fires were seen at R 7645 and R 9535. Les Weatherburn was taken prisoner and ended up in Stalag Luft III and Bobby Gibbes and Norm Caldwell later returned to the Squadron, but Bill Diehm and Allan Tonkin were both killed. Allan Tonkin had only joined 3 Squadron on the day before, from an Operational Training Unit.
Flying Officer Allan Edward Henry TONKIN, service number 401200, is buried at Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya. Plot 12, row D, grave 16. Age 22.
Son of Edward Thomas Allan Tonkin and Amy Louise Tonkin, of West Footscray, Victoria, Australia.
Flying Officer Arthur Neville AUSTIN, service
number 411726, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 272. Age 24.
Son of Arthur John Samuel and Elizabeth Austin, of Homebush, New South Wales, Australia.
On 14/1/43 at 1640 eight 3 Squadron Kittyhawks flew an armed reconnaissance from Hamraiet over the Gheddahia area. Flight Lieutenant Garth Clabburn, leading the formation, had to return at 1700 with a faulty prop motor, so Pilot Officer Rex Bayly took over. At Ref.X3080 there was medium flak, Bostons bombed at Ref.X2095. Several 109s intercepted. In the resulting combat Sergeant Alan Righetti saw Kittyhawk 'CV-Q' heading towards the coast near Sirte. Nev Austin failed to return and has no known grave.
Flight Sergeant Alexander Jennings WILLIS, service
number 401873, is buried at Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya. Plot 12, row D, grave
15. Age 22.
Son of Alexander Hamilton Willis and Gladys Willis, of Balldale, New South Wales, Australia.
On 22/1/43 at 0755 twelve 3 Squadron Kittyhawks took off on an armed recce of the Pisida-Zuara area. The bottom six bombed the landing ground at Ben Gardane where fifteen enemy single-engined aircraft were seen, the top six bombed a hundred nose-to-tail vehicles. Whilst forming up after strafing the Pisida-Zuara road, Flight Sergeant Alec Willis in Kittyhawk IIA FL325 was possibly hit by flak, he ran into the tail of Sergeant (A. N. 'Sandy') Jones's FL336, cutting off most of Jones's tailplane. Willis spun in near Ben Gardane. (Sergeant Jones managed to return to base with a badly damaged rudder and aileron.) Alex Willis was found on the 5th of March at J7142 and buried by his aircraft. Later his body was moved to Tripoli War Cemetery.
Squadron Leader Ronald James WATT, service number
273, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt, Column 271. Age 24.
Son of John William Watt M.B.E. and Laura Isabel Watt, of Warragul, Victoria, Australia.
On 27/1/43 at 1520 ten 3 Squadron Kittyhawks took off to attack two ships north of Ben Gardane. Through heavy rain squalls, six to eight enemy aircraft were seen four miles east of Zuara, down on the water. They made a wide climbing sweep and hid in the clouds. Flight Lieutenant Garth Clabburn detached blue section to go down and investigate, when the leader gave the order to jettison bombs, the bottom section also engaged the enemy aircraft. Garth Clabburn and Pilot Officer Andy Taylor fired at the 109s, Flying Officer Bob Dent saw a 109 heading west with the left aileron damaged and trailing W/T aerial. Ron Watt in Curtiss Kittyhawk IIA FL292 was shot down, probably by Oberleutnant Siegfried Freytag of II/JG77 or Hauptmann Kurt Ubben of III/JG77.
Sergeant William Bruce WARD, service number 411622,
is buried at Medjezel-Bab War Cemetery, Tunisia. Plot 14, row A, grave 10. Age
Son of Bruce and Annie Ward, of Windsor, New South Wales, Australia.
On 6/4/43 twelve 3 Squadron Kittyhawks took off at 1530 to bomb enemy troops massing for a counter attack at PP.Z0565 at Wadi Akarit. Bombs were dropped when enemy aircraft appeared. Flight Lieutenant Ron Susans in FL270 shot down a Macchi 202 which crashed at PP.Z0560. There was intense accurate heavy and light flak. Sergeant Bill Ward's aircraft, Curtiss Kittyhawk II FR271, was seen to crash and burn at PP.0556, possibly hit by the A.A. fire, although the Macchi 202s of 7º Gruppo made one claim.
Fitter) Rex Ian PALMER, service number 21053, is buried at Enfidaville
War Cemetery, Tunisia. Plot II, row F, grave 25. Age 30.
Son of Jack Elphinstine Palmer and Margaret Emma Palmer. Husband of Norma Palmer, of New Lambton, New South Wales, Australia.
On 24/1/43, No.3 Squadron acquired a Caproni Ca164 biplane at Castel Benito. Whilst attempting to start it on 20/4/43 the engine blew back, blowing burning petrol over Rex. Tom Russell and Bob Dent put the flames out with their hands, but Rex was badly burned and died at 1135 on 21/4/43 at 21 Medical Receiving Station.
Flight Sergeant David John Galabin
SHEARMAN, Service Number 411394, is commemorated on the Malta Memorial to the
Missing, Panel 12, Column 1.
Son of Dr. Cyril Howard Shearman and Jean Grace Shearman, of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Killed in a flying accident, behind the front lines in Tunisia on 2/5/1943. He was due to commence flying with 3 Squadron, but at the time of his death was practising dive-bombing over the Mediterranean Sea, flying an old Kittyhawk of the 239 Wing Training Flight. Flt. Sgt. Shearman's body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Malta Memorial to the Missing, which honours those lost in the Mediterranean Area.
Corporal (Fitter D.M.T.) William FLEMING, service
number 411135, is buried at Malta (Capuccini) Naval Cemetery. Prot.
Sec. (Mens) plot F, coll. grave 35. Age 23.
Son of William and Florence Louisa Fleming, of Gordon, New South Wales, Australia.
Died on 21/7/43. Bill's death occurred as a result of an accident while using petrol to delouse a newly-occupied building near the airfield at Pachino, Sicily. Leading Aircraftman Peter Enright (see below) also sustained burns in this accident and died four days later.
Flight Sergeant Jack Garfield BEER, service number
10634, is buried at Catania War Cemetery, Sicily. Plot I, row G, grave 1. Age
Son of Stanley Frank Garfield Beer and Elisheba Beer. Husband of Millicent June Beer, of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.
On 22/7/43 at 1200 twelve 3 Squadron aircraft took off from Pachino on an armed recce of the Leonforte/Nicosia area, flying north along the road at 11,000 feet, crossing the coast at Augusta and heading north-west to Nicosia. Flying north along the road, 20 vehicles heading north at 200 yard intervals were bombed. Four hits were made on the road with several near misses. Eleven vehicles were damaged; Sergeant J. Howell-Price in Kittyhawk II FS441 made a direct hit on a petrol wagon that went up in flames. The aircraft then made a left-hand sweep and strafed the main Nicosia-Leonforte road, where thirty to forty vehicles were heading north. At H3894 fifty tanks were seen, which fired on the formation. Sergeant Jackie Beer in Curtiss Kittyhawk IIA FL271 was last seen by Pilot Officer R. L. Matthews (Kittyhawk II FS404) heading south at H4659 at deck level. Ron Matthews called him on the R/T and Beer said he was okay, but he failed to return. He was presumed shot down by flak.
Leading Aircraftman (Driver Motor Transport) Peter Edward ENRIGHT,
service number 29797, is buried at Malta (Capuccini) Naval Cemetery. R.C.
Sec. (Mens) plot P, coll. grave 6. Age 27.
Son of Jerimiath Joseph and Mary Margaret Enright of Goomalling, Western Australia.
Leading Aircraftman Enright received petrol burns along with Corporal Bill Fleming (see above) in a petrol explosion at Pachino airfield, Sicily on . Peter died on 25/7/43 in hospital at Malta. (Pilot Officer Tom Russell, who had entered the room at the time of the explosion, was lucky that he had been wearing a long-sleeved shirt and long trousers that protected him from most of the petrol flash, compared with bare-chested ground-crewmen working in only shorts and boots, in the torrid Sicilian summer. Tom was taken to Cairo for treatment.)
Flight Sergeant Kenneth GOULDER, Mentioned in
number 403693 is recorded on the Malta Memorial. Panel 11, column 2. Age 22.
Son of Frederick Clayson Goulder and Bertha May Goulder, of Campsie, New South Wales, Australia.
On 8/8/43 at 0620 twelve aircraft took off to strafe enemy transport in northern Sicily. Four aircraft led by Pilot Officer Ian Roediger flew out to sea and turned in at Giardini to strafe along the road at Riposto. Two vehicles were damaged but Ken Goulder's aircraft, Curtiss Kittyhawk II FS423, was hit at 50 feet by small arms fire near Mount Etna and the aircraft caught fire. Ian Roediger saw it crash in flames at D1214 near Riposto. Roediger saw the crash site again on 13/8/48 and recorded it as D 095125.
Warrant Officer Reginald Edmund PERCIVAL, service
number 402671, is buried at Catania War Cemetery, Sicily. Plot I, row K, grave
47. Age 22.
Son of Edmund Samuel and Edith Annie Percival, of Strathfield, New South Wales, Australia.
On 5/9/43 at 1710, twelve 3 Squadron Kittyhawks took off and circled Lentini. Of an escort of eight Spitfires, four went with a formation from 450 Squadron, but the other four didn't follow the 3 Squadron formation, who flew west without fighter cover to bomb and strafe the Pizzo-Gioria-Locri area. They were in three sections led by Squadron Leader Brian Eaton (FS431), Flying Officer Murray Nash (FS409) and Flight Sergeant Ted Hankey (FS410). Vehicles on the road south to Gioia were bombed and strafed. The formation then turned inland, where Ted Hankey and Flight Sergeant George Hardiman (FS454) damaged vehicles. They then continued along the road across a peninsula to Locri. Whilst attacking enemy transport near Vibo Valentia, Mileto and Givia Taura, Warrant Officer "Perce" Percival's Curtiss Kittyhawk II (FS446) was badly hit by flak at Mileto (Y7904). He was escorted back to the tip of Sicily by Murray Nash but he was unable to control the aircraft. He crash-landed on a Sicilian beach at D4265, but the aircraft hit a bump and bounced into the sea. Army personnel were seen to help Percival out of the aircraft, but he died of his wounds that same night.
Warrant Officer Murdo "Doc"
McLEOD, service number 406943, is buried at Mazargues War Cemetery, Marseilles,
Bouches-du-Rhone, France. Plot 3, Row D, Grave 1. Age 24.
Son of John and Annie McLeod, of South Fremantle, Western Australia. Date of death 11/9/43.
On 3/8/43 at 0950 Pilot Officer Ian Roediger led four Kittyhawks to strafe the roads in the Randazzo area. They attacked 20+ vehicles moving north between Zaffarana and Map Ref. C9914; 50+ vehicles moving both ways on the secondary road between C9821 and Randazzo; and 15+ vehicles between Maletto and Bronte. Warrant Officer McLeod in Curtiss Kittyhawk IIA FL309 was last seen strafing the road two miles east of Randazzo. There was intense light anti-aircraft fire from D0514 and the Giardini area near Mount Etna. He was presumed by the Squadron to have been hit by flak.
Meanwhile, Doc had survived being shot down, but was captured [most probably by a German parachute regiment, based on what happened next]. Quite remarkably, Doc was then flown from Sicily to the German airbase at Istres in France (the modern-day Marseilles airport) where the paratroopers had their base. (Although the Allies had established daytime “Air Superiority” over Sicily, German Ju52 transports were still conducting skilful nocturnal supply and evacuation missions.) Doc was then put to work with labourers of many other nationalities, preparing the Istres base for the arrival of an elite Luftwaffe anti-shipping group with their revolutionary Hs293 missiles. Tragically, Doc was then mortally wounded during a huge American air-raid on Istres on 17 August 1943. He was an unintended victim of “friendly fire”.
Doc died from his wounds in hospital in the town of Avignon on the 11th of September 1943, more than three weeks after the air-raid.
[A bizarre chain of events then ensued. See our feature The Four Funerals of Doc McLeod.]
Flying Officer John Percy RAFFEN, service number
407183, is buried at Moro River Canadian War Cemetery, Italy. Plot XII,
row A, grave 3. Age 23.
Son of Percy Edward Leonard and Vera Violet Raffen, of Hilton, South Australia.
On 30/12/43 at 1310, twelve aircraft led by Flight Lieutenant Murray Nash (FS468) took off to bomb gun positions south of Chieti. They flew up the coast to C1836 at a height of 13,000 feet then turned west, approached the target from the north, losing height to 8,000-8,500 feet, and then bombed from west to east, diving to 1,000-1,500 feet. Eleven pairs of 250 lb. bombs fell in the target area. A large fire was later seen giving off black and blue-grey smoke on the north side of the ridge near the target. After the bombing some aircraft flew north-east to Francavilla, while others followed the Miglianico road to the coast. The latter experienced intense light flak from guns concealed on ridges. Three aircraft were holed and Jack Raffen's Curtiss Kittyhawk II, FS429, caught fire in the air. He lost height, apparently out of control, and crashed into a hillside at C2821 near Francavilla. Warrant Officer Short in FS458 saw the aircraft explode when it struck the ground at 1400.
Flying Officer Kent Morgan WATKINS, service
number 425689, is buried at Ancona War Cemetery, Italy. Plot III, row J, grave
10. Age 20.
Son of John Gruffydd Thomas Watkins and Mabel Gwendoline Watkins, of Lutwyche, Queensland, Australia.
On 17/3/44 at 0805, Flight Lieutenant Funston (in Curtiss Kittyhawk II FS450) led twelve Kittyhawks off from Cutella to attack the 230ft-long Massa Martana railway bridge over the Naia River at A811587. They flew due west to Popoli at 9,000 feet, then swung north-west to Aquila, and on to Terni. On arriving the leader saw a train with twelve carriages crossing the bridge towards a siding on the western side, it stopped at the railway station at A8059, but Funston's R/T was unserviceable and he was unable to report the train, so dive-bombed the bridge from 9,000 down to 1,500 feet, from north-west to south-east. Funston scored a direct hit on the eastern end, and Flying Officer Hayes (in Kittyhawk II FS462) a hit near the centre. The remaining pilots couldn't see the target for smoke but bombed in the area. After the bombing Funston handed over to Flying Officer Matthews (in Kittyhawk II FS424). Whilst at 11,000 feet near Rieti, Flying Officer "Ken" Watkins in Curtiss Kittyhawk IIA FL332, who was on his first operational mission, reported engine trouble with overheating glycol. [Later it was reported that FO Hayes had seen Watkins flying with closed engine-cooling gills whilst forming-up.] Warrant Officer Steele was detailed to follow him, but didn't hear the message so Flying Officer Shipley (in Kittyhawk II FS467) broke away to follow him. Watkins then called up to say that he was making for the coast, then later reported that he couldn't make it over the mountains, saying, "Going to bale out, can't make the hill". Shipley gave a mayday call on Channel D and obtained a position fix, and then searched the area Aquila-Amatrice-Teramo for an hour, but without finding him.
Flight Lieutenant Maurice Charles Supple HAYES, service number
401090, is recorded on the Malta Memorial. Panel 16, column 1. Age 27.
Son of Henry and Rita Hayes. Husband of Sheelagh Maria Hayes, of Mosman, New South Wales, Australia.
On 15/4/44 at 1230, Flight Lieutenant Jack Doyle (in Kittyhawk II FS468), temporarily in command of 3 Squadron, led twelve aircraft from Cutella to strafe 60 railway trucks reported south of San Benedetto. The formation flew northwards, five miles offshore, gaining height to 7,000 feet and crossing inland at B9859. They then continued north, five miles inshore, until they were almost opposite San Benedetto, where a right-hand diving run was made over the point where the trucks had been reported. None were seen, but at the San Benedetto railway yards twenty trucks in a line were strafed by the formation, who passed over at 300 m.p.h. There was no flak as the leader flew over, but the following aircraft experienced medium to intense Breda fire. Hayes, in Curtiss Kittyhawk II CV- FS482, was hit by the flak. He pulled up to 500 feet then gradually lost height heading out to sea, but suddenly the aircraft crashed into the sea one mile offshore. The leader circled the spot but the aircraft had disappeared leaving a patch of burning oil on the water.
Flight Sergeant John Malcolm CRAIG, service
number 410309, is buried at Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio, Italy. Plot XVII,
row F, grave 3. Age 20.
Son of John Frederick and Margaret Kerr Craig, of Murrumbeena, Victoria, Australia.
On 4/6/44 at 0600 six aircraft led by Squadron Leader Rex Bayly in FX667 took off from San Angelo on an armed recce of the area Guarcino-Subiaco-Arsoll-Avezzano. They set course for Sora, gaining height to 9,000 feet at Alatri. Forty vehicles were reported on the road between Subiaco and Agosta but only a few vehicles were found, at G2175, which were bombed by the leader and his No.2, Flight Sergeant Craig, scoring a direct hit on the road. But intense accurate light flak was experienced and John Craig's Curtiss Kittyhawk IV FX528 was hit by the flak. He did not pull up after his bomb dive. Flattening out, losing height and crashing at G1777, the aircraft exploded on impact.
Pilot Officer Allan Thompson FIELD, service number
412939, is buried at Florence War Cemetery, Italy. Plot I, row B, grave 10. Age
Son of William Henry Heward Field and Eva Rose Field, of Bowral, New South Wales, Australia. Pharmacist.
On 4/7/44 at 1205, Flying Officer Irving in Kittyhawk IV FX693 led six Kittyhawks off from Falerium climbing to 9,000 feet through 8/10 cloud and rain between 3-4,000 feet and heading north. Passing Arezzo, eight to ten vehicles were seen on the road between R1046 and R1940. Whilst preparing to attack these, intense 88mm, 40mm and 20mm flak opened up, and the formation dived down, re-forming over the mountains at R0025. Continuing north, Flight Sergeant Field in FX704 and Warrant Officer Cotterill in FX701 bombed a large vehicle at Q 9656. Flight Sergeant Field started his dive at about 6,000 feet and seemed to delay his bomb release below the normal level. His aircraft, Curtiss Kittyhawk IV FX704, was hit by a rocket projectile and immediately caught fire and dived into the ground. An open parachute was seen on the ground. On the return journey near San Giovanni, Flight Sergeant Turkington's Kittyhawk FX808 was hit by 88mm flak which shot away half of one of his mainplanes. He crash-landed at A1540, hitting a low stone wall, but returned to the unit uninjured the next day.
Warrant Officer Clement Thistleton HALPIN, service
number 420746, is buried at Ancona War Cemetery, Italy. Plot III, row J, grave
11. Age 26.
Son of Cyril and Ida Francis Halpin of Tweed Heads, New South Wales, Australia.
On 21/8/44 at 1705, Lieutenant-Colonel Baker of 239 Wing led twelve aircraft to attack some gun positions facing Polish troops south of Pesaro. Three aircraft bombed a heavy gun sited at S170747, all bombs were on the pinpoint from which intense and very accurate 20mm flak came up. Warrant Officer Halpin in Curtiss Kittyhawk IV FX760 was hit by the flak whilst dive-bombing the 88mm and 212mm gun positions. His aircraft spun in 200 yards south of the target.
Warrant Officer John Henry HEDGER, service number
418114, is buried at Ancona War Cemetery, Italy. Plot II, row D, grave 7. Age
Son of John Edward and Ivy Ruth Hedger, of Albert Park, Victoria, Australia.
On 6/9/44 in Curtiss Kittyhawk IV FX750 Warrant Officer Hedger returned to base at Iesi Landing Ground half an hour after taking off at midday. Without radio-telephone communication to control his approach he made a heavy landing and his bombs exploded.
Warrant Officer Raymond FARIA, service number
421045, is buried at Ravenna War Cemetery, Italy. Plot I, Row A, grave 1. Age
Son of Cecil and Mathilde Herminia Faria, of Northbridge, New South Wales, Australia.
On 25/9/44, after a formation take off at 1445 his Curtiss Kittyhawk was hit by flak attacking a bridge over the Savio River; the aircraft spun down in flames. Flight Sergeant Haggatty's aircraft was also hit by flak and crashed on landing at base.
[Thanks to the kindness of a local Italian farmer, Ray was respectfully buried at the time and later located by Padre Davies, once the battle-front had moved on. Archaeological fragments from Ray's crash have recently been recovered in Italy and 3SQN Association have been pleased to re-establish contact between the now-elderly Italian farmer, Paolo Giambi, and long-lost members of Ray's family.]
Flying Officer Francis Carstairs SANDERS, service
number 416155, is buried at Faenza War Cemetery, Italy. Plot II, row F, grave 8. Age 24.
Son of Francis Gordon Sanders and Elsie Madge Sanders, of Jamestown, South Australia.
On 26/9/44 at 0725 Pilot Officer Sanders in Curtiss Kittyhawk IV FX569 led six aircraft off to bomb gun positions at M637026. Flight Sergeant Matley returned early with engine trouble, the other five successfully attacked two heavy guns sited two hundred yards southwest of the Causese road junction. After re-forming, a lone vehicle was seen on Highway 67 at M5320 which Pilot Officer Sanders went down to attack, experiencing intense 20mm flak suggesting the target was a decoy. Going on towards Bologna, at 0820 Sanders saw another lone vehicle at M1047. After instructing Flight Sergeant Finch (FX725) to lead the other three along Highway 9 to Rimini, Sanders went down to attack the vehicle, and although no flak was seen, he disappeared and wasn't seen again. He was called repeatedly with no reply and, as the other aircraft were low on fuel, they had to return to base.
Pilot Officer Ronald Edward Robert FOUNTAIN,
service number 421195, is recorded on the Malta Memorial. Panel 16, column 1. Age 22.
Son of Albert Edward and Ivy Jane Fountain, of Bondi Beach, New South Wales, Australia.
On 6/12/44 at 0955 Flight Lieutenant Ian Roediger (in Mustang III KH615) led a formation of eleven 3 Squadron Mustangs on a long-range strafing operation to Brod/Sarajevo in Yugoslavia over 10/10ths cloud at 3,000 feet, which extended as far as could be seen to the east and south, with a small clearing to the north-west over what was thought to be Drazica. Twenty vehicles entering the town from the north looked American, so weren't attacked. A railway viaduct at SF1977 was bombed and near-missed, several bombs failed to explode. As the weather deteriorated the leader decided to return to base, although a train with 30 loaded trucks moving east in one of the valleys skirting the Sava river was seen through a break in the cloud and thoroughly strafed. On returning, the weather closed in and the 3 Squadron formation had to detour to the south to avoid heavy cloud. Over the Adriatic they received a homing signal from MORU control and descended from 16,000 feet through 10/10ths cloud, breaking through cloud-base over the sea at 5,000 feet approximately 50 miles off the Italian coast, although the cloud was down to 1,000 feet in places. All pilots were running low on fuel but returned safely, except for Warrant Officer Fountain in North American Mustang III KH630, CV-E, who acknowledged the homing signal but did not break cloud with the rest and was presumed lost. Ron's commission was notified on 18/12/44. [Cec Plumb's diary records: Our recently-acquired Mustangs were forced to break formation to avoid collision in the cloud. CV-W ran so short of fuel that the pilot was forced to land at Falconara. CV-X took a chance on the last few miles and landed safely at Fano with a bare 2.5 gallons to spare.]
Flying Officer Vincent Maxwell THOMAS, service
number 400944, is buried at Argenta Gap War Cemetery, Italy. Plot I, row F,
grave 22. Age 24.
Son of Frederick Victor and Isabel May Thomas, of East Malvern, Victoria, Australia.
On 9/1/45 at 1535 Flight Lieutenant Hodgkinson in Mustang IVA KH679 led a formation of ten to attack a road bridge at Alfonsine at M448478 over a river near Mestre. They arrived over the target at 8,000 feet and bombed along the line of the bridge in a south-east direction down to 1,500 feet. The bridge received two direct hits which demolished all of the southern span and most of the centre span. Flying Officer Thomas in North American Mustang III KH615 went into a spin at 1,500 feet after bombing, his aircraft crashed into a minefield and burst into flames at M470479; he may have been hit by flak. After the German surrender in May 1945 Padre Fred McKay searched for, found and identified Max Thomas and conducted a proper burial service.
Warrant Officer Ian RENNISON, service number
419704, is buried at Udine War Cemetery, Italy. Plot IV, row 0, grave 8.
Son of Charles and Daphne Mabel Rennison, of Boronia, Victoria, Australia.
On 21/2/45 at 0920 Flight Lieutenant Barney Davies in KH851 led seven Mustangs to escort 450 Squadron Kittyhawks to bomb the Casarsa rail diversion. After 450 Squadron had bombed, the 3 Squadron Mustangs bombed from east to west from 8,000 down to 1,500 feet. Warrant Officer Ian Rennison in North American Mustang IVA CV-L KH806 was seen to pull out slightly when low in his bomb dive, and then go straight in at C135080 where the aircraft exploded. Padre Fred McKay searched for Ian Rennison after the German surrender in May 1945 and conducted a proper burial service.
James Talbot EDMONDS, R.A.F.V.R.,
service number 114755, is buried at Faenza War Cemetery, plot
V. F. 5.
Son of W. Talbot Edmonds and Effie R. Edmonds, of Maidstone, Kent.
On 11/4/45 at 1335 Flight Lieutenant Edmonds in Mustang KH677 led a three-aircraft formation on a "Cab Rank" close support mission. They were directed to bomb a heavily-camouflaged German artillery site N.E. of YMOLA in the yard of a building at M23123883. They dove from 7,000 feet to 1,500 feet from the south-west. One bomb fell on the target and started a fierce fire. Flight Lieutenant Edmonds' bombs overshot the target slightly and his aircraft crashed approximately 250 yards north-east of the target. It is suspected that he blacked out during his dive. Flak over the target was observed to be only slight and inaccurate. "Jungle Jim" Edmonds had previously served with the RAF in the Burma theatre, and when posted to Italy had requested to fly with 3 Squadron because of his fondness for Australians. He had been an accomplished athlete: Champion of the Kent Amateur Athletic Association in 1938 and 1939; and Champion of the Bengal Amateur Athletic Association in 1944. Jim was 3SQN's last battle casualty of WW2.
Flight Sergeant John Charles Anderson, service number 403545, is buried at Heliopolis War Cemetery, Egypt. Plot 3, row H, grave number 24.
Age 23. Son of Frederick John and Mary May Anderson, of Mascot, New South Wales, Australia. Died on 13/12/42.
[A Wireless Operator/Air Gunner with No.38 Squadron RAF, flying Wellington bombers based in Egypt, Anderson is incorrectly listed on the AWM's 3 Squadron RAAF Honour Roll, due to a typing error on his War Graves form. He died after an accident while on leave at Giza Egypt; where he fell from one of the famous Pyramids and suffered fatal head injuries.]
Sergeant Roy Thomas Aston WALLIS, service number 406269, is recorded on the Alamein Memorial to the Missing, Egypt, Column 266. Age 21.
Son of James Lewis Wallis, J.P., and Annie Elizabeth Wallis, of Fremantle, Western Australia. Died 10/7/42.
[Mistakenly listed on the AWM's 3 Squadron RAAF Honour Roll. Actually a member of 250 RAF Squadron, he was flying a borrowed 3SQN Kittyhawk [ET837] at the time of his death in aerial combat and this resulted in his casualty registration paperwork being incorrectly completed. On the afternoon of 10/7/42, RAF Squadrons 250 and 112 and 450 RAAF flew from Amiriya to attack L.G.21 (Qotafiyah III). The Allied fighters were intercepted over the sea north-east of El Daba by 109s and Macchi 202s. Roy Wallis of 250 Squadron was hit and baled out. He splashed down in the sea and was seen to wave. He was last seen two miles offshore. Unfortunately air-sea rescue was impossible due to the presence of enemy fighters.]
Flying Officer Ian Alexander McADAM, service number 401654, is buried at Salerno War Cemetery, Italy. Plot VII, row B, grave 14.
Age 28. Son of Clyde John and Ellen McAdam, of Colac, Victoria. Husband of Elizabeth Geraldine McAdam, of Hepburn Springs, Victoria, Australia. Died 14/10/43.
[Mistakenly listed on the AWM's 3 Squadron RAAF Honour Roll (due to an error on his War Graves form) McAdam was serving in Italy with No.4 Aircraft Delivery Unit, RAF, delivering a Spitfire IX aircraft, EN188. This new Spitfire crashed, out of control, near the town of San Donato and McAdam's body was buried by US soldiers. The cause of the crash could not be determined but the weather was noted in the crash report as "exceptionally bad" and McAdam was considered a "very good and experienced pilot".]
Pilot Officer William Ronald Phillips, service number 407079, is buried at Ipswich Cemetery, Suffolk, England.
Age 26. Died 28/5/41.
[Killed serving with 3SQN RAF, not RAAF, on operations over the United Kingdom. When returning to RAF Martlesham Heath from an uneventful operational patrol over the Thames Estuary, his Hurricane inexplicably went into a vertical dive and crashed.]
Sergeant Rex Joseph Marre, service number 403355, is buried at Folkestone New Cemetery, Kent, England. Plot O, grave 54.
Age 23. Son of Michael and Margaret Adrienne Marre, of Rose Bay, New South Wales, Australia. Died 15/3/42.
[Killed in an aircraft accident, flying a Hurricane on a night-time searchlight co-operation mission with 3SQN RAF, not RAAF.]
Pilot Officer William Henry Moore, service number 405114, is buried at Pihen-lès-Guînes War Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Plot 1, row C, grave 3.
Age 24. Son of Alfred Allan Moore and Annie Moore, of Wickham Terrace, Queensland, Australia. Died 18/6/43.
[Killed on intruder operations flying a Typhoon aircraft with 3SQN RAF, not RAAF. Typhoon EK167 QO-D flown by PO Moore was sent out on an intruder patrol to the Furnes-Blankanberghe area of Belgium. Nothing was heard from him after take-off and his aircraft did not return to base. The other two aircraft detailed on this mission returned without making landfall, due to heavy mist and cloud over the Belgian coast. It is likely that the Germans recovered Moore's body from a beach on the Channel Coast after he had crashed into the North Sea, as his burial site in France is 80km westwards from his target area.]
Pilot Officer Colin George Benjamin, service number 403855, is buried at Rotterdam (Crooswijk) General Cemetery, Netherlands. Plot LL, row 2, grave 47.
Age 22. Son of Cyril Hastings Benjamin and Eva Eleanor Benjamin, of Gordon, New South Wales, Australia. Died 1/7/43.
[Missing in action whilst flying with 3SQN RAF (not RAAF); flying Typhoon DN589 in a 24-aircraft attack on shipping off the Dutch islands. German records show that Benjamin was shot down at 12.05 hours by Lt. Georg Schott of JG1, approx. 25 km west of Hoek van Holland. His body was recovered from the sea by the German minesweeper M425 and brought to Rotterdam.]
Flight Sergeant Donald John Mackerras, service number 422599, is buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey, England. Plot 4, row O, grave 9.
Age 23. Son of John William and Ermonce Irene Mackerras, of Pymble, New South Wales, Australia. Died 6/8/44.
[Killed as a result of operational flying accident with 3SQN RAF, not RAAF. He was flying Tempest JN759 on an 'Anti-Diver' patrol (against German V1 flying-bombs) and crashed near Minfield Sussex, apparently while attempting to bring down a V1. He had previously shot down several flying bombs.]
Flight Lieutenant Bruce Calder McKenzie, service number 401994, is buried at Hamburg Cemetery, Germany. Plot 10A, row O, grave 6.
Age 24. Son of Alexander Keith and Florence McKenzie. Husband of Margaret Emily Thelma McKenzie, of Cromer, Norfolk, England. Died 21/4/45.
[Killed by flak flying with 3SQN RAF, not RAAF. - He was leading eight aircraft from his Squadron on an armed recce in Tempest JA610 on this day.]