Harold Graham POCKLEY DFC, DFC*


POCKLEY, Harold Graham

Service Number: 260608
Enlisted: 8 January 1940
Last Rank: Squadron Leader
Last Unit: No. 200 Flight (RAAF)
Born: Graceville, Queensland, 5 February 1913
Home Town: Randwick, Randwick, New South Wales
Schooling: Sydney Church of England Grammar School
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Flying Battle, Sea off Borneo, 25 March 1945, aged 32 years
Cemetery: Labuan War Cemetery
Panel 32
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Squadron Leader, SN 260608
8 Jan 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, SN 260608
7 Jul 1942: Honoured Distinguished Flying Cross
10 Nov 1942: Honoured Distinguished Flying Cross and bar
10 Feb 1945: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Squadron Leader, No. 200 Flight (RAAF)

Help us honour Harold Graham Pockley's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Julianne Ryan

Born 5 February 1913 in Graceville, Queensland

Father Harold Campbell Pockley (b. 19/11/1874 Picton, NSW - d. 4/12/1941) and
Mother Jeannie Rose Pockley (b. 1873 England - d. 19/2/1950 Mosman, NSW)

Brother:  Robert Campbell Pockley - b. 27/3/1902 St Leonards - d. 6/8/1974
Sister:     Marcia Jean Bligh-Jones (nee Pockley)  - b. 16/4/1903 St Leonards - d. 2/2/1999
Sister:     Joan Theodosia Kennard (nee Pockley) - b.26/9/1908 QLD - d. 9/3/1993 Sydney

Pockley  grew up in the Randwick area of Sydney.

Wife:  Joyce Agnes Pockley, of Randwick, New South Wales.

8/1/1940       enlisted in RAAF at Mascot, NSW was accepted for flying training

He flew with 22 Squadron during his training. The squadron at this time was a training squadron, teaching support flying for army units. He graduated from his course on 4 May with a distinguished pass and was commissioned with the provisional rank of pilot officer.

Over the next 7 months, Pockley completed navigation and advanced flying courses.

He married in mid July.

4/11/1940       he was promoted to Flying Officer.

27/12/1940     embarked for overseas service from Sydney, NSW on transport ship Empress of Russia.
                      After diverting through Canada he disembarked in Glasgow and reported to 10 Squadron,
                      RAAF at Oban, in western Scotland on 1 March 1941.

He began his operational flying with 10 Squadron, RAAF on 19 March 1941 and quickly gained a reputation as a daring pilot.

He became known as a U-Boat magnet due to his uncanny knack of 'attracting' enemy submarines on his sorties. This was a source of good-natured banter for other pilots in the squadron who did not share his luck.

Pockley was promoted temporary Flight Lieutenant.

7/7/1942      London Gazette - awarded - "Distinguished Flying Cross"

He was awarded DFC for 'operational sorties against enemy shipping' in July 1942 and the Bar to the DFC in November for 'destroying U-boats, R-boats and enemy merchant vessels'. Pockley was invested with his medal and bar at Buckingham Palace by King George VI on 1 July 1942.

10/11/1942  London Gazette - awardd - "Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross"

During his time with 10 Squadron, Pockley sent a "sweetheart brooch" to his wife Joyce.

He flew his last operation with 10 Squadron on 12/11/1942, before being posted to 41 Squadron, RAAF in Australia which at this stage of the war was operating Martin Mariner aircraft. The squadron flew regular supply operations to New Guinea to resupply the ground forces in the Papua and New Guinea campaigns.

Pockley was promoted to temporary Squadron Leader on 1/2/1943 and then Acting Squadron Leader in August 1943.

He was given temporary command of 41 Squadron, RAAF briefly in May 1944 and again for several weeks in September.

26/9/1944 Squadron Leader Pockley was serving with No. 41 Sea Transport Squadron RAAF, flying Martin Mariner flying boats between Australian and Dutch New Guinea bases.

In December 1944 he was posted to command 7 Operational Training Unit.

Pockley was posted to command the newly formed 200 Flight (Special Duties) at Leyburn airfield near Toowoomba in February 1945. The squadron was formed to support M and Z Special units operating in the Netherlands East Indies and Borneo. The aircraft they flew were modified B-24 Liberator Bombers. He flew his first mission on 25 February 1945 and his last, flying Liberator A72-191 one month later.

Squadron Leader Pockley and his crew were posted missing in action on 25/3/1945 - after failing to return from a successful operation to insert personnel and supplies into the jungles of Sarawak. Pockley's aircraft was seen attacking a merchant vessel off Borneo and it is believed this action caused the loss of the aircraft and crew.

A court of enquiry held in November 1946 could find no evidence of the aircraft or crew and passed a finding presuming Pockley and his crew to have been killed on 25/3/1945.

His name is commemorated on Panel 32 of the Labuan Memorial Cemetery, Labuan, Malaysia.

His name is commemorated on Panel 111 at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT.

Sourced and submitted by Julianne T Ryan.   23/6/2016.  Lest we forget.

Thank you to the AWM for their information.