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  • A further example of Nimmo’s courage was on 28 June 1915 when leading his troops towards Turkish positions. During the advance one of Nimmo’s sergeants indicated to him that there were Turkish soldiers firing at other Australian troops to the north of their position. Nimmo, appreciating that the Turkish soldiers were exposed from their position in relation to his, quietly collected a dozen men, explained the situation to them and issued quick orders, then gave the signal to rise and fire five rounds of rapid fire. The Turkish soldiers became confused and quickly took cover before fighting back. The situation soon developed into a skirmish with artillery shells and firing from an Australian warship, affecting the progress of Nimmo’s men. But Nimmo’s leadership steadied his men and again, his courage under fire was noted.
  • George Mitchell .. the culminating point ‘Backs to the Wall!’ Backs to hell, and old ‘Nick’ reaching out with his pitchfork. We could not hear our own rifles above the din, only knew by the recoil that we had fired. I could feel the sidelong glances from the men, and the unspoken thought, ‘How are you going to get us out of this mess?’ ‘Poor blighters, my job is to keep you here till you are done for, not get you out.’ On three sides, they closed in, only the way to company headquarters was open. Suddenly a runner dived in and I read the message, ‘Retire immediately.’ Down the bank once more and out on the lower plain, futile bullets pecked the ground as I trudged. What did it matter? Only a question of today, tomorrow, or the next day! To my delighted eyes, there stretched a well-sited, newly dug trench lined with capable looking Australians. Eager questions assailed me ‘Where is he, when is he coming?’ ‘Massing over the hill’ I replied, ‘here in about twenty minutes.’ ‘We’ve got him now, we’ve got him!’ Sorted out my platoon and led them to the extreme left where there was a gap. A roar of small-arm fire came from the right, a 13th brigade battalion, the 49th, swept forward into the gap. We watched as they swung along with irresistible momentum, the ranks thinned as they went, here and there groups shot and stabbed. Ahead of them ran field grey figures, the gap is closed by good Australian bayonets! No further attack came from Fritz. Down came their gunfire on us, the worst I ever experienced. Big shells punched the rocking earth with appalling fury, smoke rolled in clouds, had a bad attack of wind-up, and the taste of death was in my mouth. If I live through this, I thought as I lay in a heap, I will never be any good anymore. Ten shells a second, I calculated, landed on our hundred yards of front. Slowly the fire died away, the 2nd Division came up and relieved us, we assembled our weary few and marched back." George Mitchell, MC, DCM, "Backs to the Wall", 1937
  • Phil Robin was an all-round sportsman but an exceptional Australian Rules footballer. Phil made his league debut with Norwood in 1908, and was widely acknowledged as one of the finest wingmen in the game.  An interstate representative on seven occasions, he played in South Australia's victorious 1911 carnival.  That same year he received Norwood's best and fairest player award. Scrupulously fair, Robin delighted fans with his electrifying dashes down the wing, weaving and dodging his way past opponents.  He was somewhat unfortunate to play during what was effectively a time of rebuilding at Norwood, but if anything this made the high quality of his football standout even more. Best & Fairest: 1911 South Australian Games: 7 Reserves Magarey Medal: 1907 NFC Games: 71;   NFC Goals: 3  Debut: v South Adelaide (Norwood) 2nd May 1908 Finale: v North Adelaide (Norwood) 29th August 1914 In 1909 he was chosen to play for South Australia and held his position until enlisting with the AIF in 1914. For five years before enlisting he worked at the Bank of Adelaide as an accountant at the Murray Bridge branch.  He was held in high regard at Murray Bridge, involved in the Tennis Club and regarded as 'one of their own'.
  • This group initially included, Pilot Alan Dale, Navigator John Tindale, Bomb-aimer Bud (Isaac) Sewell, Rear-gunner Geoff Bailey, and Wireless operator/Air gunner Fred Renshaw. With the exception of the pilot, this group managed to stay together for the duration of their training and until the end of their tour of duty. By the beginning of April 1944, the crew had a new pilot, an Australian by the name of Les Dowling. Les, a member of the Royal Australian Air Force, was already a seasoned veteran and had been hanging around the mess looking for a new crew. On his previous tour, Les's plane had taken enemy fire while on a raid over France. His plane aflames, he had ordered his crew to jump, while he alone stayed with the plane until he crash landed somewhere behind enemy lines. Les somehow managed to make his way across the Pyrenees to Spain and from there he found his way to England. Les had no intention of ever ending up in a crashing plane again, and somehow he managed to keep that promise to himself and his crew. In July 1944, the crew joined 76 Squadron at Holme-on-Spalding Moor in Yorkshire. By now, the crew was flying the Halifax III Bomber. Although night flying afforded the aircraft the cover of darkness, it had its own risks. Instrumentation was inadequate, and the Halifaxes had to fly with no lights. Up to a thousand planes would be sent up at the same time and it was not until they were in the close vicinity of another plane that they were aware of its presence. Weather reports were unreliable, and even though they waited for clear nights to carry out a raid, there was no guarantee that they would find clear skies or a hole in the cloud when they were over the target. And with such large numbers of aircraft flying over enemy guns, the losses inccurred were very heavy for 76 Squadron (this squadron alone had 775 casualties, and over 280 crewmen taken as prisoners of war). During this tour of duty, my father's crew flew in 34 raids over France and Germany. (In the RAF, an airman was awarded 3 points for a trip over France, and 4 points for a trip over Germany. A tour was considered ended when 120 points had been accumulated). The Gelsenkirchen-Nordstern Mission On one of the operations over the Gelsenkirchen-Nordstern area in Germany, my father's crew was unable to disperse their load the first time round and had to go back over the target area a second time. By the time the Halifax bomber reached home base in England, it had seventeen holes in the wings and fuselage caused by German anti-aircraft fire. This mission won members of the crew the Distinguished Fly Cross. The following excerpt is from "To See the Dawn Breaking: 76 Squadron Operations" (p 158) and describes the lead-up to the raid over Gelsenkirchen: "Meanwhile, the squadron was playing its role in attacks on beleagured enemy garrisons. Gun emplacements and strong points at Le Havre received a caning, two major raids being flown on the 10th leaving the defenders shocked and confused. Just before the middle of September, two attacks on synthetic oil installations at Gelsenkirchen were launched. Well over a year had passed since the squadron last visited this prime target, then one of the many objectives in the first Battle of the Ruhr. The first raid was aimed at a plant in the Buer district, commencing in the early afternoon of the 12th. A strong barrage of flak rose to buffet the mainforce pouring across the town between 17,000 and 18,000 feet. Nearly every squadron bomber was hit, though none broke station. Warrant Officer Les Dowling RAAF, however, decided to make a second run as Sergeant Geoff Bailey, one of his air-gunners, will now explain. "At the last moment cloud obscured the Aiming Point and the bomb-aimer did not press the release button. Then the cloud drifted clear, so the skipper plumbed for another go. By the time we started our second run we were practically on our own and the flak gave us a renewed hammering. Talk about sweating cobs, I was glad to see the back of Gelsenkirchen that day'." Jimmy Burridge described his memories of the mission in a letter to me: "My recollections are - as we approached the target we could see that the lead A/C were bombing the railyard and many oil tankers were burning. A huge fire with much smoke and therefore very convincing that this was the target. Bud called to Les to turn 90 degrees starboard because that was where the oil refinery was just adjacent to the railway yard. Our first run over the bombs would not release because of ice. Les decided to go round again and this time Bud jettisoned all the bombs in one go to make sure of the release and it worked. However, we were now the last A/C over the target. Everyone else was heading for home. All the ACK ACK concentrated on us and we were hit. You could smell the cordite! Some panic was heard on the intercom (first time ever!) And Les told them to “Shut up and listen to Jimmy”. I told Les exactly where each shell burst came and he from his experience and training turned the A/C away from the expected next prediction. One shell came through the rear starboard side floor and went out through the portside roof taking a lump out of the point fin. The shell DID NOT GO OFF!! Les won the DFC for his determination to press on to the true target and for his airmanship in getting the A/C through the ACK ACK."
  • My father (John Tindale) is no longer alive, but fellow crew member and life long friend, Fred Renshaw has been able to provide me with some of the details of crews members and events that took place, as well as the photos shown below. My father was one of an original group of five who started flying Wellingtons at Enfield in February 1944. This group initially included, Pilot Alan Dale, Navigator John Tindale, Bomb-aimer Bud (Isaac) Sewell, Rear-gunner Geoff Bailey, and Wireless operator/Air gunner Fred Renshaw . With the exception of the pilot, this group managed to stay together for the duration of the training and until the end of their tour of duty. By the beginning of April 1944 the crew had a new pilot, an Australian by the name of Les Dowling. Les, a member of the Royal Australian Air Force, was already a seasoned veteran and had been hanging around the mess looking for a new crew. On his previous tour, Les's plane had taken enemy fire while on a raid over France. His plane aflames, he had ordered his crew to jump, while he alone stayed with the plane until he crash landed somewhere behind enemy lines. Les somehow managed to make his way across the Pyrenees to Spain and from there he found his way to England. Les had no intention of ever ending up in a crashing plane again, and somehow he managed to keep that promise to himself and his crew. "Meanwhile, the squadron was playing its role in attacks on beleagured enemy garrisons. Gun emplacements and strong points at Le Havre received a caning, two major raids being flown on the 10th leaving the defenders shocked and confused. Just before the middle of September, two attacks on synthetic oil installations at Gelsenkirchen were launched. Well over a year had passed since the squadron last visited this prime target, then one of the many objectives in the first Battle of the Ruhr. The first raid was aimed at a plant in the Buer district, commencing in the early afternoon of the 12th. A strong barrage of flak rose to buffet the mainforce pouring across the town between 17,000 and 18,000 feet. Nearly every squadron bomber was hit, though none broke station. Warrant Officer Les Dowling RAAF, however, decided to make a second run as Sergeant Geoff Bailey, one of his air-gunners, will now explain. "At the last moment cloud obscured the Aiming Point and the bomb-aimer did not press the release button. Then the cloud drifted clear, so the skipper plumbed for another go. By the time we started our second run we were practically on our own and the flak gave us a renewed hammering. Talk about sweating cobs, I was glad to see the back of Gelsenkirchen that day".
  • News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), Saturday 4 January 1947, page 1 Body Found In Wreck SEREANT - PILOT C. W. Dunning. Spitfire SERGEANT-PILOT Colin William Dunning, of Restormel avenue, Fullarton Estate, was the pilot of a crashed Spitfire found by an aboriginal at Fog Harbor, 45 miles south-west of Darwin, last week. His parents were notified by R.A.A.F. headquarters last night. His remains were found on what would have been the pilot's twenty-second birthday, and will be interred in a military cemetery at Darwin. Missing from a non-operational flight more than two years ago, the late Sgt. Dunning was the son of Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Dunning, of Restormel avenue, Fullarton Estate. After a promising scholastic career at Marist Brothers' College, he won a scholarship for accountancy studies, and had completed two subjects when he joined the R.A.A.F. at the age of 18. After training at fighter schools at Mildura and Deniliquin, Sgt. Dunning went to Darwin with No. 452 Spitfire Squadron, and was lost on an altitude test and training exercises on April 24, 1944. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article127070538
  • On the 14th September, 1917, at ZILLEBEKE, the 18th Battery position was heavily shelled from 3 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. with 5.9" and 8". At 3.36 p.m. an ammunition dump alongside No. 1 gun was hit and it and the gun pit caught fire. These men [8360 M.A. COCKER, 8381 D.D. BRADBURY, (8381) Lt E.J. SHEPHERD, (10762) Lt L. CARTHEW] on Lieutenant DODD calling for a party rushed out of the shelter trench in the face of the heavy fire and with water from adjacent shell holes succeeded in putting it out. Later the pit was again hit and it and the ammunition and an adjacent pit caught fire. These men again went out with Lieutenant DODD in the face of the shelling and succeeded in saving the guns and ammunition. They displayed great gallantry and determination in the face of very considerable danger.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31 Date: 7 March 1918
  • Before going into battle in September 1918 Bernard wrote the following letter to his brother Gabriel’s wife, Lottie. Interestingly, it is dated 1 October 1918; apparently it was not uncommon for men to date letters this way as they went into battle. This is believed to be the last letter that Bernard wrote. October 1, 1918 France Dear Lottie, Just a few lines, Lottie, in answer to your welcome letter to hand dated 9 June, was pleased to get a long letter from you and Gabe. So your little girls don’t forget me by what Gabe told me. Well I am expecting to be going to England on leave soon. I have been over here a long time and have been existing well. All the girls getting married, well good luck to them and tell your sisters that I wish them the best of luck as besides fighting hard for years and wasting the best years of my life over here but you know I have a nice little girl over here first for the time being and will close this letter wishing you and the children the best of luck. I remain, Bernard xxx Submitted by Julianne T Ryan, courtesy of Jenny Kingsford (nee Coyte).
  • 'At BROODSEINDE RIDGE East of YPRES this stretcher Bearer was assisting in clearing wounded under the most difficult and trying conditions from 4th to 9th October, 1917. Owing to the severe weather the mud was in places over the knees of the bearers and the route was shelled severely during the greater part of the time. On 9th October he took a squad from the R.A.P. under heavy shell, rifle and machine gun fire for 600 yards to find a Regtl. Stretcher Bearer who had been previously sniped, and dressed and brought him safely to cover. He set a most inspiring example of cheerfulness and devotion to duty.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 95 Date: 27 June 1918 AWM
  • An extract from https://johnknifton.com/tag/103-squadron/ A Day I Never Forget by Marie Harris. I was posted to the Ack Ack Site at Goxhill Haven as a driver in 1943. My duties were to drive all vehicles and any vehicle wherever needed. There were 3 of us girl drivers, Moira Turnbull, Nan Caulfield and myself. Although I say it myself I think we did a darned good job (must have done for they never gave us the sack!). It was quite a good site really, ATS and soldiers all got on well together, taking the good with the bad, no luxuries as such and not many "Passes Out". Occasionally, when there had been a good night of shooting the enemy planes down, the Major and Officers would put on a dance and social night for us in the NAAFI. They would invite so many RAF and so many Yanks. It all helped to make a great night and lift our spirits and to mix or meet others who were doing what we were trying to do, keep old Hitler out. Most of the RAF were Air Crew and you would dance with one or two, get to know them a bit and have a great night, but knowing when you saw the Bombers taking off the following night they were up there doing the BIG BIT and come the next evening you would ask "where's Alec, Bob and Bill?" Just a shrug of the shoulders from their mates and you knew and felt sad, very sad. As I drove around the lanes to wherever my duties took me at a certain time of the day you would see the Bombers going off and up into the clouds and away, you got used to it, up into one circle, two circles and third circle away on their mission and you would say to yourself and often loudly "Good luck lads, come back for that Tango." It was one afternoon in December 1943 around 4.30 as I was driving a load of stores to another site in the Guy Truck, which had an open front and canvas covered back, going along this lane just wide enough for the truck and a ditch each side. Coming up to a farm on my right, it was very low cloud and the Lancasters were taking off into the circles, up and away, as I looked up and raised my right arm in a salute. They were so low and so near I felt I could nearly touch them. One went into this low cloud and I was thinking it's a wonder they don't crash they are so close together, when in a split second as it came out of the cloud, God, it was a head on crash with another Lancaster, one almighty explosion and all Hell was let loose. It was awful, I couldn't believe what had happened practically over my head, just over the farmer's field. I was so stunned, streaks of fire shooting all over the road and my truck. I pulled on the brakes and jumped in the ditch but only for a few seconds thinking some of the crew could be saved, so I ran up past the farmer's house, bits and pieces lying all over, just passing a barn and someone caught hold of me from behind and wouldn't let go, kept saying "NO LASS, NO LASS there'll be nothing". It was the old farmer. In no time at all the fire engines etc. were arriving. I pulled myself together and went back to my truck in a daze and drove onto the site, still couldn't believe what had happened. When I pulled up at the Guard House I was just rooted to my seat and couldn't stop crying, thinking of the Bobs, Alecs and Bills whoever just blown to bits. It was awful and still is. The guard called the Sergeant who took one look at my truck with all the bits and pieces, burns on the canvas and said "she must have been under it." They took me into the Mess and gave me a cup of hot strong tea and 20 minutes by the round stove (they were really kind.) I felt better and had to get on with it, so back to Goxhill. On arriving our MT Officer was concerned; did I need to go to the MO? No Sir, I'll be OK but when I went to bed I couldn't shut my eyes, this terrific explosion flashed before me every time. I was like this for quite a few nights. Another thing I can't bear even to this day to watch a film with planes crashing. I'd shut my eyes or go out of the cinema. Later in life I often used to think and wish I had gone back to see that farmer and I used to wonder if the families knew where their sons were lying. I was very pleased to hear that a Plaque is being dedicated in Remembrance to those poor souls. I can never forget them or what happened to them.. Driver Marie Harris W/44133 ATS.
  • see No. 42 Sqn unit page Catalina serial number A24-100 and code number RK-L of 42 Squadron, RAAF, piloted by 401846 Pilot Officer (PO) (later Flying Officer (FO)) Clifford Dent Hull of Hawthorn, Vic. After completing a successful mine laying operation off Macassar (Celebes) Harbour on the night of 23 & 24 October 1944, the starboard engine of this aircraft was damaged by Japanese anti aircraft (AA) fire. Unable to maintain height on his return and with the second engine failing, PO Hull made a forced landing in the open sea south of the South Western Celebes Peninsula. He and his crew spent the next twelve hours on the water uncomfortably close to four Japanese airfields based in Southern Celebes, before a second Catalina (left), OX-U of 43 Squadron, RAAF, arrived to rescue PO Hull and his crew. A rubber dingy is visible transferring the downed crew to the rescue aircraft. A United States B24 Liberator bomber located the downed Catalina and guided the rescue Catalina in. The B24 continued to circle overhead providing protection. After the disabled Catalina had been sunk by machine gun fire, the rescue Catalina took off and returned safely to Darwin. This operation was one of the epic sea rescues of the Second World War, entailing a round trip of 1800 miles mainly through Japanese held territory. The rescue crew were: 415632 FO (later Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt, DFC)), Armand Andre Etienne (Captain), of West Perth, WA; 408409 FO (later Flt Lt), Ian McCallister Robson of Sandy Bay, Tas; 428809 Flight Sergeant (Flt Sgt) (later Warrant Officer (WO)), John Joseph Sweeney (Navigator), of Newcastle, NSW, (visible standing on the wing of the rescue aircraft); 428832 Flt Sgt (later WO), Raymond Victor Tumeth of Haberfield, NSW; 428360 Flt Sgt (later WO), Derek Fanshawe Robertson of Camberwell, Vic; 12912 Sergeant (Sgt) (later PO), Robert Richard Tingman of Brighton, Vic; 12223 Sgt (later Flt Sgt), Albert Leslie Warton of Sydney, NSW; A2398 Sgt, Thomas Roy Elphick of Bondi, NSW; 33642 Corporal, James Francis Burgess Oliver of Glen Innes of NSW.

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