Ivor Vivian Ross PEATTY

PEATTY, Ivor Vivian Ross

Service Number: 402805
Enlisted: 14 October 1940
Last Rank: Squadron Leader
Last Unit: 2 Personnel Depot
Born: Granville, New South Wales, Australia, 4 July 1914
Home Town: Granville, Parramatta, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Salesman
Died: Natural Causes, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 19 July 1991, aged 77 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials:
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World War 2 Service

14 Oct 1940: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 402805, No. 2 Initial Training School Bradfield Park
14 Oct 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 402805
9 Jan 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Leading Aircraftwoman, No. 5 Elementary Flying Training School Narromine
6 Mar 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Leading Aircraftman, No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School Benalla
21 Mar 1941: Embarked Royal Australian Air Force, Leading Aircraftman, SN 402805, Sydney to Canada
21 Apr 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Leading Aircraftman, SN 402805, No. 1 Service Flying Training School
5 Jul 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 402805
16 Jul 1941: Embarked Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 402805, Canada to UK
16 Aug 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant
24 Aug 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, No. 1 Air Observers School Cootamundra
28 Feb 1942: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer
15 Aug 1942: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer
12 Mar 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 402805
18 May 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, No. 461 Squadron (RAAF)
26 Jul 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer
30 Nov 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, Operational Training Units (RAF)
15 Feb 1944: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant
2 Mar 1944: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, No. 461 Squadron (RAAF)
9 Feb 1945: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Squadron Leader, No. 461 Squadron (RAAF)
20 Jun 1945: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Squadron Leader, 11 Personnel Depot and Receiving Centre
13 Dec 1945: Embarked Royal Australian Air Force, Squadron Leader, SN 402805, UK to Sydney
5 Mar 1946: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Squadron Leader, SN 402805, 2 Personnel Depot

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Biography contributed by Schools Program

Excerpt from the in-depth biography written by Matilda Byrnes (available for download in the links).

Pre-War

Ivor Peatty was born on 4 July 1914 to Arthur and Ellen Peatty in Granville, Sydney. He was the youngest of three brothers. During the Depression, Ivor worked in Queensland for his uncle as a farm goods salesman and later returned to Sydney to work for Elders. A strong swimmer, Ivor volunteered as a surf lifesaver at Dee Why, a skill that would later come to save his life and those of his crewmates[1]. When he decided to enlist, his sweetheart begged him not to go. Ivor’s strong sense of duty and personal sacrifice was so strong that he ultimately chose to fight for his country.

During War

‘They shall not pass unseen’ - this was the fitting motto of 461 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), who worked closely with 10 Squadron as part of the RAAF’s coastal command operating the mighty Sunderland aircraft (see Figure 2) in World War II and intercepting German submarines in the Bay of Biscay. 461 Squadron was formed at the Royal Air Force (RAF) base at Mount Batten, Wales on 25 April 1942, earning them the nickname of the ANZAC Squadron. They fought vicious air battles with German aircraft to prevent the sinking of merchant ships carrying vital supplies to England. The squadron lost 20 Sunderlands to enemy actions and sank 6 German submarines throughout the war[2]. All over the world, the unsung heroes of the RAAF have created a legacy for themselves as courageous servicemen with tremendous grit and determination; true ANZAC spirit.

Ivor enlisted on 14 October 1940 in Sydney, aged 26. Between 1940 and 1942, he trained as a pilot in Canada under the Empire Air Training Scheme, which trained pilots from all over the Commonwealth[3]. After completing training, Ivor joined 461 Squadron and was stationed at Pembroke Dock, Wales. Ivor was the second pilot of his crew.

On 30 July 1943, Ivor and his crew took part in one of the most important engagements of that year for 461 Squadron. Whilst on patrol over the Bay of Biscay, the crew of RAF Liberator 53/O spotted two German U-Boats, U-461 and U-462. They homed in other RAAF aircraft to approach the scene, including RAAF Sunderland 461/U of 461 Squadron, which coincidentally was registered as the same name as German U-Boat U-461.

Flight Lieutenant Dudley Marrows of 461/U managed to get in close past the defence of U-461 and machine-gun its gunners, later releasing depth charges to sink U-461[4]. In an interview, Ivor’s crewmate Peter Jensen described seeing ‘bodies and bits of body coming up’ from the U-boat wreckage, a confronting image indeed[5]. Then 461/U circled back to the flotsam to drop a life raft, saving 15 of the 68 crewmen. One of these was Captain Wolfgang Stiebler, whom the crew would come to meet decades later. The decision went against official RAAF policy, and the crew were scolded upon their return.

In an interview, Flight Lieutenant Dudley Marrows said, ‘…here was a group of Germans in the water shaking their fists at us, well this was one of the most controversial issues from our crew, not one single member of the crew disagreed with my action’[6].

Just weeks later, on 16 September 1943, Ivor and the crew of Sunderland MK III EK-478 found themselves in grave danger once again. On one of their regular afternoon patrols they were attacked by six German Ju88’s of 5 group KG40, in fierce combat, lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes[7]. The Ju88’s disabled three of the Sunderland’s engines, forcing them to make an emergency landing in a 15-foot swell. In a typically Australian gesture of humour, Ivor blew a kiss to the Germans as they flew away; positive even in the most dismal of situations.

On impact with the water, the Sunderland began to sink. The Sunderland’s 3 life rafts deployed, although 2 immediately sank due to shrapnel damage[8]. There was now just 1 life raft left, and it had been tossed away by the rough waves of the Bay of Biscay. A confident swimmer from his time as a lifesaver before the war, Ivor braved the violent waves of the bay to retrieve the life raft. The crew were then stranded in the open sea, 11 men cramped in one life raft built for 6, for 17 hours until they were rescued by the Sloop HMS Starling[9].

Thanks to Ivor’s quick thinking and the crew’s perseverance, all 11 men were rescued with no casualties, with only one suffering shrapnel wounds to his legs [10].

Post-War

Upon Ivor’s discharge on 5 March 1946, he and his English wife, Mary, whom he had married in 1943, moved back to Sydney. They had 3 children, Janet, Vivian and Ross. Mary had their first daughter, Janet, in 1944 while she served as a cipher officer for the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in London.

Ivor found employment as a salesman with Gramps wines after the war. He was offered a war pension, which he turned down out of pride and unwillingness to accept charity. Following his service, Ivor struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Due to a lack of knowledge about PTSD, many veterans in both WWI and WWII suffered in silence. As a way to cope with his trauma from his service, Ivor drank heavily and was described by his children as volatile at times. Ivor and Mary, born Anglicans, found their wartime experiences so harrowing that they lost faith in God.

In 1979, Ivor and Mary relocated from Sydney to Adelaide. The same year, Ivor and his crew embarked on their squadron reunion tour in Germany. It was on this trip that they met the captain of the U-boat they had fought in July 1943, Wolf Stiebler[11]. Ivor told his daughter Janet that he had felt no animosity towards the Germans and had realised they were no better or worse than him; just brave young men serving their country out of devotion to duty.

Ivor Peatty passed away in 1991 after a long battle with lymphatic cancer. His legacy is honoured by his 3 children, 5 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren.

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