3 Squadron LIFETIMES

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VALE Alfred James Gilbert ('Jinker') JELLEY, B.E.M.

 06/02/1918 - 07/10/2006

Airframe Fitter


Kiriwina Island, Trobriand Islands, Papua. 1944. 
Identification portrait of 5172 Flight Sergeant A. J. G. (Jim) Jelley,
Fitter IIA (Airframe),No. 79 (Spitfire) Squadron RAAF.

By Jock McAuley - Written 2006.

Jim Jelley enlisted in the RAAF at the age of 21 years on 13th November, 1939, and after initial training was posted to No. 3 Squadron at Richmond, NSW.

This squadron, consisting of 21 pilots and 270 airmen, sailed from Sydney on the Orontes for service overseas as an Army Co-operation Unit, arriving at Port Tewfik on the Suez Canal on 23rd August, 1940.

Moving to the Western Desert, Jim served for the next two years with the Squadron during its North African campaign and later to operations against the Vichy French in Syria.

In 1942 a number of the original squadron members, including Jim, were returned to Australia and Jim was posted to No. 2 Operating Training Unit at Mildura, engaged in the training of new fighter pilots.

After service at Mildura Jim was seconded to assist with the formation of a new Spitfire squadron which commenced training as a private airfield near Lara.  This new squadron became No.79 RAAF Squadron, which initially saw service in the Admiralty Islands before re-equipping with new Mark VIII Spitfires at Oakey in Queensland.  The squadron then returned with its
new aircraft for active service in Moratai and remained until the cessation of hostilities in 1945.  Jim was discharged from the RAAF after six years service on 19th November, 1945.

Prior to his discharge Jim was awarded the British Empire Medal and the following is part of the citation:

"He is completely tireless, and the enthusiasm with which he carries out his duties makes him a credit to the Royal Australian Air Force.  He is respected and admired by all the men, and he has started his third tour with just as much enthusiasm and vigour as he commenced his first.  His organising ability and general knowledge have enabled him to act as Engineer Officer to this Squadron's detachment under difficult conditions for over four months."

These words fully describe the man we honour today.

Kiriwina, Trobriand Islands, Papua. October 1943.
Kiriwina, Trobriand Islands, Papua. October 1943. "Jinker" Jelley's starter battery cart,
 plugged into the main power socket of a No. 79 Squadron RAAF Spitfire Mk Vc aircraft
 for engine starting on Kiriwina airfield. 
Note: No. 79 Squadron RAAF was issued with one battery cart to provide engine
starting power for twenty-four aircraft; hardly enough  to guarantee an
effective 'scramble' to intercept enemy raiders!
Flying Officer A. H. (Peter) Birch and Flight Sergeant A. J. G. (Jim) Jelley searched around
 Kiriwina and obtained twenty-four light machine gun carts from a US Army infantry
 regiment.  They modified these carts so that there was one for each of the Squadron's
 twenty-four Spitfires.  [P02875.256]

On the formation of the 3 Squadron (Victorian) Association in 1946, Jim became the Treasurer and occupied that post continuously and kept us all in line, until failing health forced him to transfer these responsibilities some two years ago.

Jim also rendered valuable service as a member of Melbourne Legacy.  He was inducted as a member of Legacy on 28th November, 1979, and gave sterling service on Legacy committees and to the welfare and assistance of many Legacy widows and their families over many years.  Jim was posted to Reserve in Legacy several years ago because of his failing health.

Today we honour our friend and colleague, who gave so much service in times of war and peace.  Well done, Jim.

https://www.awm.gov.au/images/collection/items/ACCNUM_SCREEN/P02874.194.JPG
Los Negros, Admiralty Islands, New Guinea. 17 June 1944.  Group portrait of Warrant Officers,
Flight Sergeants and Sergeants of No.79 Squadron RAAF in front of one of the Squadron's
Spitfire Mk Vc aircraft on Momote airfield.
Back row, left to right: Sergeant C. R. S. (Charles) Turner; Sgt R. E. (Ron) Nation; Sgt R. Ord; Sgt N. F. Laurence; Sgt T. T. (Trevor) Treadwell; Sgt K. H. (Kevin) Hanslow; Sgt E. L. (Peter) Morris; Sgt J. (John) Ash; Sgt R. O. (Russell) McNamee; Sgt W. J. (Jim) Morwell.
Middle row: Sgt L. R. (Les) Borgelt; Flight Sergeant (Flt Sgt) D. C. (Des) O'Brien; Sgt L. G. (Lionel) Hunt; Sgt R. Rex Harry; Flt Sgt T. W. (Tom) Opie; Warrant Officer (WO) L. N. (Lance) Hickey; WO R. H. (Ralph) Chandler; Sgt J. A. M. (Jack) Smith; Flt Sgt T. H. (Tom) Mudge; Flt Sgt (Bluey) Morgan; Sgt J. (Jack) Langly; Flt Sgt L. A. (Lawrie) Gallaher.
Front row: Flt Sgt A. J. G. (Jim) Jelley; Sgt J. H. (Jim) Jeffrey; Sgt L. (Lance) Wood.  [AWM P02874.194]

Jim married Edna on 28th August, 1945, while both were still in the Air Force.

Jim is survived by Edna and two sons, Peter and Raymond, and four grandchildren.

3 Squadron LIFETIMES

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