Arthur Alexander (Sandy) DEY


DEY, Arthur Alexander

Service Number: 416001
Enlisted: 1 March 1941
Last Rank: Flight Sergeant
Last Unit: No. 221 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Port Pirie, South Australia, 3 May 1921
Home Town: Port Pirie, Port Pirie City and Dists, South Australia
Schooling: St Mark's College (Adelaide University)
Occupation: Science Student
Died: Killed in Action (flying battle), Mediterranean Sea, 27 February 1943, aged 21 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Malta Memorial, Malta Panel 11, Column 2
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, City of Port Pirie WW2 Memorial Gates, Malta Memorial, Floriana, Port Pirie St Peter's Anglican Church Memorial Stained Glass Window, Port Pirie St Peters Congregation Honour Roll WW2
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World War 2 Service

1 Mar 1941: Involvement Flight Sergeant, SN 416001
1 Mar 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman, SN 416001, Adelaide, South Australia
1 Mar 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, SN 416001
27 May 1941: Embarked
27 Feb 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, SN 416001, No. 221 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45

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Biography contributed by Karen Standen

Arthur “Sandy” Alexander Dey was the youngest son of George Dey (/explore/people/331726) and Mary Louisa Dey. Born and raised in Port Pirie, Sandy was a talented student, sportsman and musician. He attended Solomontown Primary School and later, Port Pirie High School, before moving to Adelaide University's St. Mark's College to study science. 

Sandy never completed his degree. Instead he joined the RAAF on the 1st March 1941. Following a different training path to that of his older brother, David George Dey (/explore/people/511977), Sandy embarked just three months after enlisting.

Almost two years later, Sandy was stationed with RAF 221 Squadron in Malta where he flew Vickers Wellington aircraft, a twin-engine, long-range medium bomber. On the 27th February 1943, he was one of the two pilots flying a Wellington bomber on an operational patrol between Marsala and Palermo. The crew of six was an even mix of Australian, English and Canadian airmen. Having taken off from the Luga Aerodrome at 7:55 pm, their objective was to search for and attack enemy shipping. Details are scant as to what actually happened to the flight, as signal traffic was considered routine during their mission and yet the aircraft didn't return to base.

At 9 am on the 3rd March 1943, the Port Pirie postmaster delivered George Dey a telegram.

“Regret to inform you that your son Sergeant Arnold Alexander Dey is missing as a result of air operations in the Middle East....”

What mixed emotions that incorrect Christian name must have invoked in his father. Sandy’s body was never found, lost to the Mediterranean Sea. In October 1943, moves were made to have his death presumed for official purposes.