Arthur Ronald (Ron) SULLIVAN DFC

SULLIVAN, Arthur Ronald

Service Numbers: S52723, 437017
Enlisted: 4 March 1941
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), Meningie, Coorong District, South Australia, 6 February 1996, aged 76 years
Cemetery: Carinya Gardens Cemetery, Mount Gambier, South Australia
Cremation: 09/02/1996, Carinya Gardens Crematorium.
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World War 2 Service

4 Mar 1941: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, S52723
4 Mar 1941: Enlisted Private, S52723, Tailem Bend, South Australia
5 Mar 1941: Involvement Private, S52723
9 Oct 1942: Discharged Private, S52723, 3 Infantry Training Depot
10 Oct 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman, 437017, Adelaide, South Australia
10 Oct 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, 437017
11 Oct 1942: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), 437017, No. 4 Initial Training School Victor Harbor, Empire Air Training Scheme
7 Jan 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), 437017, No.1 Elementary Flying Training School Parafield, Empire Air Training Scheme
14 Apr 1943: Embarked Royal Australian Air Force, Leading Aircraftman, 437017, Royal Canadian Air Force Training Units, 13 Service Flying Training School (RCAF)
16 May 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Leading Aircraftman, 437017, Royal Canadian Air Force Training Units, Empire Air Training Scheme, 13 Service Flying Training School (RCAF)
3 Sep 1943: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, Royal Canadian Air Force Training Units, 13 Service Flying Training School (RCAF)
6 Jun 1944: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, 437017, Operational Training Units (RAF), Empire Air Training Scheme, No. 30 Operational Training Unit
1 Mar 1945: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, 437017, No. 460 Squadron (RAAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45
27 Feb 1946: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, 437017, No. 460 Squadron (RAAF)

Help us honour Arthur Ronald Sullivan's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

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 Freddie", No. 460 Squadron, at RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire, in 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 would 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 efficient team.

How do you know? you may ask.

I know because i was there, and if you have the time, 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 father’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 high schools being at Strathalbyn or Murray Bridge, my farther could neither afford the money nor my time away or the far. Fortunately, 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 Arial, chased girls, drove a bigger tactor and worked longer, from six until seven instead of seven 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 feed 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 requirement 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 correspondence course. With answers to be sent each week and a final written exam scrutineered, in my case, by the headmaster of 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 returned to the farm, until early June, when I was called up by the Army (the militia).  First stop was Wayville, to be followed by Woodside, Tanunda and Sandy Creek, where, in October I received my Airforce call up and on October 10. I found myself at Mount Breckan, Victor Harbor, for Initial 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 us 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 Harvards (Training aircraft) 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.