3 Squadron LIFETIMES

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Squadron Leader Alan Hill BOYD

RAAF Service Number 561

17 March 1916 – 20th June, 2014.

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9 December 1940.  GERAWLA EGYPT - THREE OF THE PILOTS OF NO.3 SQUADRON RAAF
WHO ARE DOING MARVELLOUS WORK IN THE DESERT CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE ITALIANS.
(L TO R) F/O ARTHUR, F/LT. BLAKE PELLY, F/O ALAN BOYD.
(NEGATIVE BY FRANK HURLEY. AWM 005267)

The death of Alan Boyd at age 98 marks the passing of one of 3 Squadron's most famous "Gladiator Aces".  Alan was one of the "3 Squadron Originals" whose departure from Australia on 15 July 1940 is commemorated on the memorial gates at Richmond RAAF Base.

Alan was born in Quirindi, New South Wales, on 17 March 1916.  He was a regular RAAF officer before the war.  In 1940 he served with 3 Squadron RAAF in the Middle East.  At this time the Squadron was flying Gloster Gladiator II biplanes.  In a period between 19 November and 26 December 1940, Alan had claims of six destroyed, two or three probables, and two damaged. 

All his Middle Eastern claims were against Italian CR42 biplane fighters.  This included, in a single engagement on 19 November 1940, three "confirmed destroyed" plus one “probable”.  (This was the very first occasion that the pioneering No.3 Squadron tangled with the enemy over the Western Desert - a significant event in RAAF history about which speeches were made in Parliament.)  On 13 December 1940 Alan claimed two aircraft destroyed off Bardia, but his Gladiator was also one of five 3SQN aircraft shot down on that day, and he force-landed.   He repaired the damage to his flying wires by himself in the desert and was later able to fly back to base.

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1940-11-05. HELOUAN AIRPORT, EGYPT - No.3 SQUADRON GLADIATOR FIGHTER PLANES.  [AWM 004204]

After this period of combat, Alan was rested, finishing his tour as one of a rare breed of WW2 "Biplane Aces".  Returning to Australia, he flew as a Flight Commander with 75 Squadron, in the defence of Port Moresby.  Here he shared in the destruction of a Japanese Zero fighter and damaged a further two.  He subsequently served with 76 and 84 Squadrons, before commanding 101 and 110 Fighter Control Units during 1944.  He ended the war as Commanding Officer of 67 Squadron RAAF, a reconnaissance and anti-submarine patrol unit.  He was discharged on 17 October 1947.

Alan passed away peacefully at RAAFA Estate, Merriwa, WA.  Husband of Jess for 65 years.  Father and father-in-law to Peter and Fiona, Jill and Lew. Grandfather to Cameron, Lachlan, Callum, Amberlie, Sharon, Melanie and Darryl and loved great-grandfather of eleven.

3 Squadron LIFETIMES

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