Arthur Ronald (Ron) SULLIVAN DFC

SULLIVAN, Arthur Ronald

Service Numbers: S52723, 437017
Enlisted: 4 March 1941, Tailem Bend, South Australia
Last Rank: Flying Officer
Last Unit: No. 460 Squadron (RAAF)
Born: Spring Hill, South Australia, 22 May 1919
Home Town: Meningie, The Coorong, South Australia
Schooling: Spring Hill Public School
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Natural causes (old age), place of death not yet discovered, date not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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World War 2 Service

4 Mar 1941: Enlisted Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Private, SN S52723, Tailem Bend, South Australia
5 Mar 1941: Involvement Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Private, SN S52723
9 Oct 1942: Discharged Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Private, SN S52723, 3 Infantry Training Depot
10 Oct 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman, SN 437017, Adelaide, South Australia
11 Oct 1942: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, SN 437017
27 Feb 1946: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 437017, No. 460 Squadron (RAAF)

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Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross: Detailed for an attack against a benzole plant at Erin. While over the target area the aircraft was hit by anti-air fire and severely damaged, the elevator controls being severed. With fine airmanship, this officer regained control and flew back to base, where he made a masterly landing. He is an excellent Captain of aircraft who has consistently displayed skill, courage and determination of a high degree.


Adapted for The Lakelander By Eric Jamieson

Following are some details of Ron Sullivan's life in the RAAF, as told to his son Geoff, a few years before Ron's death.

 This story is of the Operational Service Life of Lancaster "F" for Squadron, Binbrook, Lincolnshire, Number One Group Bomber Command.....

Also of the crew who thought their third trip in Freddie Two would be....

Just another flamin' op

Hey! Skipper, what's the gen?

Just another flamin' op, fellers!

This was a typical of a morning greeting between Flying Officer Sullivan and his crew in 460 Squadron, Bomber Command England, during World War 2. It wold not have been unlike the conversations between hundreds of other bomber crews scattered throughout the country at the same time.

However, on this bright sunny morning of March 13, 1945, no-one, least of all this particular crew, could have known that on this fateful operation they would prove, through their fight for survival, that they were indeed, what they had trained to be; a competent and highly efficent team.

How do you know? you may ask.

I know beacause i was there, and if you have the time, then in the words of my old mate Vic Watts:

Bring a toffee apple, sit upon the floor and I will tell you a bible story you have never heard before,

and you can share in the story previously known only by the seven crew members of 'F' for Freddie.

Where does it begin? --- Well let me explain


I grew up on the family farm. In fact I was born there in 1919, at a place called Spring Hill, some seven miles east of Meningie S.A. I went to the local, one teacher school at the bottom of the hill below the freestone farmhouse that my farther's family built when they established the farm. In fact, my mother was the first teacher at the school when it opened in 1909. She wished for me to go to high school after i got my Q.C. in 1932. with the nearest hight schools being at Strathalbyn or Murray Bridge, my farther could neither afford the money nor my time away or the far. Fourtunately, my last teacher, Milton Wilks, agreed to do year eight. Had this not happened I could not have passed the entrance exam for the RAAF.

I did the usual things that farm boys did: milked cows, repaired fences, drove tractors, ploughed scrub, sowed crops, went to dances, chased girls, took off crops, chased girls, bought a motorbike - an aerial, chased girls, drove a bigger tactor and worked longer, from six until seven instead of secen until six. Another bike - a Triumph this time, still could not catch the girls and then Germany declared WAR!!

Hurray! Off to war?

No way, we  have to geed the brave British, was the response. So back to the tactor.

Back on the farm, life went on. We were told that we were to produce the maximum to feed the fighting forces overseas. I ascertained that the minimum educational reqirement for the RAAF was the Intermediate Certificate. That left me out. full stop.

The war in Europe and the Middle East went on and on, and so did farming, until BOOM!, the Japs hit Pearl Harbour. Life changed dramatically.

The Air Force would now accept anyone for air crew who could pass a written entrance exam. To assist this they offered a ten week corrspondence course. With answers to be sent each week and a final written exam scrutineered, in my case, by the headmaster if the Tailem Bend Primary School.

I passed the exam and went to Adelaide for a medical, which i passed. My name now went onto a waiting list for Initial Training School.

At that time the waiting period was said to be six months because the training facilities could not cope with the number of volunteers. I retirned to the farm, intil early June. When i was called up by the Army. First stop was Way ville, to be followed bu Woodside, Tanunda and Sandy Creek, where, in October i recived my Airforce call up and on October 10. I found myseld at Mount Breckan, Victor Harbor, for Intital Training School.

Naturally, everyone had ideas of becoming a pilot. After eight weeks, however, we were individually paraded before a category selection board, who considered personal and academic capabilities and drafted is out as pilots, navigators and air gunners. Luckily, i made it as a pilot, but, as we were constantly reminded, until we had our wings, one stumble in any area, discipline or ability, and we were out!

The first week of January took us to Parafield for elementary flying training on Tiger Moths and more ground school. My first solo was January 21, after six hours of dual training, and in early March i was selected to go to Canada to train as a fighter pilot.

We were off, first to Bradfield Park, Sydney for a ship to cross the Pacific. By May, we were at Aylmer, Ontario, to train on Havards and for more ground school. All went well and i was presented with my wings, together with the rest of the course, on September 3, by Wing Commander Ingram.