PILOTS  N - T


   

 F/Lt ROBERT SYDNEY "OSSIE" OSMENT DFC (400629) 1/0/0

  

Bob Osment was born at Melbourne, on 1 February 1921. He worked as a clerk with AML & F Company in Melbourne, and served with the 2nd Medium Brigade R.A.A before joining the RAAF on 18 September 1940, and was sent on 6 course at 1 ITS, Somers, Victoria. His basic flying training started with 7 EFTS at Western Junction on 14 November, then onto 1 SFTS at Point Cook, Victoria for his advanced flying training on 13 January 1941. On 10 February while in a Westland Wapiti (A5-39), Osment was practicing instrument flying in the company of another Wapiti. Both pilots were flying blind under a hood with instructors acting as observers in the second seat. About one mile east of Werribee the two planes collided. Osment safely bailed out but his observer S/Ldr Anthony R. Robinson RAF was injured after his parachute caught on the aircraft. The pilot of the other Wapiti (A5-21) LAC Robert H. Stratford was killed. His observer Sgt Robert J. Barker bailed out and landed safely.

On 6 May he was granted a commission in the RAAF with a rank of Pilot Officer before being posted to 22 Squadron at Richmond, NSW, some six days later. A further promotion came through on 6 November, this time to the rank of Flying Officer, and barely a month later was posted to 21 Squadron RAAF in Malaya as a replacement pilot. In the debacle that was the Malayan campaign there were too few fighters in 21 Squadron and too many pilots, consequently Bob did little flying with them. After escaping to Australia in late February 1942 he was posted to 5 Squadron on 23 March, but only spent a month with them before being posted to 23 Squadron at Archerfield, Queensland, in mid-April. From there he was attached to 3 AD, presumably for test flying newly assembled aircraft, for a couple of weeks from 26 August before returning to 23 Squadron in September. His next attachment was to CFS in Victoria for ten days from 15 February 1943. On 1 April  he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant while with 23 Squadron and was due to go on a fighter operational training course at 2 OTU in the May, however this was cancelled and instead on 21 July, he was appointed as the temporary Commanding Officer of 78 Squadron as it formed at Camden, NSW. With the appointment of a permanent CO for 78 Squadron Bob became the B Flight Leader in August.

On 14 August, Osment was involved in another collision while practicing formation flying six miles south of Camden. He and Sgt Donald A. Smyth flying Kittyhawks A29-413 and A29-405 respectively, came together causing extensive damage to Smyth's aircraft. Smyth managed to land safely, however Osment again was forced to bail out, injuring an ankle as he landed. Along with the other pilots of 78 Squadron Bob commenced his South West Pacific tour when he landed his Kittyhawk on Kiriwina Island in mid-November. During the squadrons "Big Do" on 3 June 1944 he was leading the squadron as Red Leader and was involved in the initial attack and shooting down of the first Japanese aircraft, a Judy, during that combat. The claim he made was for a Kate, but there had been none of this type of aircraft for many months in this theatre of operations. With his tour completed he was posted home on 1 August 1944. A DFC was awarded to Bob with the citation of 28 October stating "[his] utmost courage and competency as a fighter pilot". On 6 November he was posted to 2 OTU Mildura as an instructor where he spent the next six months before being demobbed from the RAAF on 27 April 1945. On 15 March 1949 he was finally presented with his DFC by the Governor-General at Parliament House in Melbourne, Victoria.     - Gordon Clarke

Known Promotions:  P/O 6.5.41,  F/O  6.11.41,  F/Lt  1.4.43

See Also:

Service Record

 Newspapers  Newspapers II Part 1  Newspapers II Part 2

Combat Claims:

1     44.06.03 78 P-40 Judy Japen Straits A29-573 HU

 

 

 Bob Osment (centre of middle row with pilots wings) stands with personnel of 78 Squadrons "B" Flight at Hollandia, 1944.  - Photo via 78 Squadron Accociation

 

 

 

 

 

  F/Lt JOHN WALTER WEDGWOOD "HOOLEY DOOLEY" PIPER  DFC (250828) 3 & 1sh/0/5

 

John Piper was born 7 May 1917 in Armadale, Victoria. In later life he studied commerce at Melbourne University and was employed as a carpet salesman before joining the RAAF on March 4 1940. At this time he had also been serving as a signaler in the militia's 13th Light Horse. His first posting was to 3 EFTS, Essendon, on 4 March, followed by 1 SFTS, Point Cook, on 29 July. He was then posted to 22 Squadron (Hawker Demons) at Richmond, NSW, on 18 November. On 12 January 1941, Piper flying a Moth Minor (A21-32) was making a mock attack on troops near Yarramundi Bridge when its tail brushed against high-tension wires, ripping off its rudder. Piper managed to set the aircraft down in a corn field but in doing so tore off its wing and damaged the propeller. Piper and his passenger were uninjured. It would not be the only time that John would have trouble in low level attacks. He travelled to Singapore and was attached to the RAF for fighter instruction on 8 July 1941 before returning to 22 Squadron on 14 August.

On 26 January 1942 he was posted as a replacement pilot with 24 Squadron but moved to the newly formed 75 Squadron soon after. With minimal training on the squadrons P-40s the unit was dispatched to Port Moresby and told to hold the line against the still unchecked advance of the Japanese air forces. Piper was to fly valiantly in the defense of Port Moresby and Milne Bay, where he was to record all his claims. He logged around 80 operational sorties against the Japanese, and quickly earning a reputation as an aggressive pilot. On 22 March in 75 Squadrons first offensive action against the Japanese base at Lae, John was strafing a row of bombers lined up along the runway. However he pressed his attack so low that his wing struck the propeller of one of the bombers. The impact cut the main spar and ripped a gun from the wing but he was able to return to his Port Moresby base.

 

 

 John Piper in the company of other 75 Squadron pilots at Milne Bay, August 1942. From Left to Right: F/Lt Lex Winton, S/Ldr Les Jackson, F/Lt John Piper and F/O Pete Masters. (AWM)

From 7 November he was to spend time a controller with 3 FS and returned to 75 Squadron on 1 February 1943. Five days later, Piper in the company of five other 75 Squadron P-40s was carrying out practice strafing attacks on U.S PT boats in the vicinity of Green Island near Cairns. The attack was split into two sections, one of which Piper was leading. Piper's section attack was to be a low level feint from behind Green Island, while the real attack was to come from the hills at Cape False. In breaking away from the feint Piper flying A29-136 made a steep left hand turn but allowed his port wing tip to touch the water. The aircraft cart wheeled and immediately broke up in a shower of debris and flame. Amazingly Piper bobbed up on the surface alive, and he was quickly picked up by the PT boats. For such a violent crash Pipers injuries were relatively light. He had dislodged four teeth, had lacerations to his forearm, upper lip, and left eye. He also dislodged an eyeball. He was admitted to Cairns Hospital on the same day, and although he recovered from his other injuries, ongoing problems with his injured eye would ground him for the rest of the war. He received a DFC for gallantry over Milne Bay and Goodenough Is. Piper was posted to 9 Group operations in 1943 before being moved to RAAF Command, where he served until his discharge on 9 March 1945. In 1951 he enlisted in the RAAF Reserve, however it is unclear how long he served.

 

 

John Piper's DFC Citation (NAA: A9300 PIPER J W W)

 

Known Promotions:   P/O 24.09.40,   F/O 24.03.41,   F/Lt 01.10.42

See Also:

Service Record

Newspapers

Combat Claims:

1     42.03.24 75 P-40 Bomber Hood Bay
A29-12 T
0.5     42.03.27 75 P-40 Type 97 Pt.Moresby A29-12 T
    2D 42.04.10 75 P-40 Bomber Pt.Moresby A29-23  
2     42.04.11 75 P-40 Zero Lae A29-41 M
    1D 42.04.13 75 P-40 Zero Lae A29-12 T
    1D 42.04.21 75 P-40 Fighter Pt.Moresby A29-76  
    1D 42.08.24 75 P-40 Zero Milne Bay A29-118  

 (Information updated 20 Sept 2013)

 

 

 

 

   

SGT. MALCOM NEVILLE "MAC" READ (402952) 3 & 1sh/0/0

 

Mac Read was born on 21 June 1917, in West Maitland, NSW. He worked as a jackaroo before joining the RAAF on 11 November 1940. He completed his training with 2ITS, 3SFTS, and 6EFTS. Gaining his flying badge on 25 June 1941. His first posting was to 453 Squadron, Malaya, flying Buffaloes. He claimed two Zekes destroyed and shared in the destruction of another with Sgt. V.A Collyer on 13 December 1941, less than a week after hostilities broke out. Nine days later he was killed when he either collided with or rammed a 64th Sentai Ki43. Read was credited with its destruction.

See Also:

Service Record

RAAF Casualty Database

Combat Claims:

2.5     41.12.13 453 Buffalo Ki51 Penang W8209 TD-E (or F)
1     41.12.22 453 Buffalo Ki43 Kualalumpur W8209 TD-E (or F)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 F/Lt STANLEY GEORGE SCRIMGEOUR (402986) 1sh/1/0

 

George Scrimgeour was born in Newcastle, NSW, on 12 December 1920. He worked as a clerk before his enlistment in the RAAF on 11 November 1940. After flight training he was initially posted to 24 Squadron before joining 453 Squadron in Malaya in December 1941. On 22 December he and 11 other 453 Squadron Buffaloes, took on twice their number over Kuala Lumpur. Scrimgeour scored a probable victory before he was shot down in flames. Although recieving burns to his face and hands, he managed to bail out, surviving the continued attacks from the enemy during his descent. Returning to Australia he held several postings to training units, including 8OTU, before joining 457 Squadron on 28 April 1945. Here he shared in the destruction of a Dinah over Labuan on 20 June. Thus he had the distinction of having the longest time between claims of any RAAF pilot in the Pacific war. He was disharged on 8 February 1946.

See Also:

Service Record

Combat Claims:

  1P   41.12.22 453 Buffalo Ki27 Kuala Lumpur

0.5     45.06.20 457 Spitfire Dinah Sipitang A58-631 ZP-V

 

 

 

 

    

W/O CLIFFORD LUCAS IRVINE SMITH (423328) 1/0/1

 

Cliff Smith was born in Bellevue Hill, NSW on 7 August 1923. Prior to the war Cliff had been a bank clerk before he joined the RAAF on 20 June 1942, and was immediately sent to 2 ITS, Lindfield NSW. On 14 October he was sent on course 29 at 10 EFTS Temora, NSW to learn to fly on Tiger Moths as part of his basic flying training. He then attended 29 course at 5 FSTS at Uranquinty, NSW on 20 December for advanced flying. On the latter course he met Stan Smethurst, who also joined 78 Squadron at the same time as Cliff. Unfortunately, Stan was to be the first pilot lost by the squadron in a training accident in September 1942. After completing the course on 9 April 1943, Cliff was given his flying badge and the temporary rank of Sergeant. From there it was onto 2 OTU at Mildura, Victoria on 9 May to convert to the Kittyhawk fighter aircraft. He completed that course with an average plus rating on 6 July 1943, and a little over two weeks later he was then given his first operational squadron posting to 78 Squadron, which was in the process of forming at Camden NSW.

Cliff's South West Pacific tour commenced when he landed Kittyhawk A29-409 at Kiriwina Island on 13 November 1943. He was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 1 November 1943 which was back dated to 8 October. On 3 June 1944 he was involved in 78 Squadron's "Big Do" and shot down a Zero fighter in that engagement. He was a member of Yellow flight, which was the only flight in that combat to have every pilot destroy an enemy aircraft, (in fact, all were fighters). With his operational tour up in August 1944 his first posting back to Australia was to complete an instructor's course at 2 OTU Mildura, and it was here that he was advised of his promotion to Warrant Officer effective from 8 October 1944. On 6 November he was posted to instruct at 7 SFTS Deniliquin, which was followed by another instructing position this time at 2 OTU from 20 February 1945. His last flight at 2 OTU was in Wirraway A20-24 on 29 August as he had applied to leave the RAAF due to the cessation of hostilities with Japan. He was demobbed on 2 October 1945, just a month after his 22 birthday.   - Gordon Clarke

Known Promotions:   LAC 12.9.42,  Sgt 8.4.43,  F/Sgt 8.10.43,  W/O 8.10.44

See Also:

Service Record

Combat Claims:

1     44.06.03 78 P-40 Zero Japen Straits A29-441 HU-H
 

 

 

 


  

F/Lt JOHN HAROLD SMITHSON DFC (401252) 4/0/1

 

John Smithson was born in Seddon, Victoria, on 22 October 1918. He completed his secondary education at Melbourne Technical College, then went on to study at Bradshaw and Everett Business School. He worked with the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation as a fitter at Oakleigh, Victoria, before enlisting in the RAAF on 5 January 1941. He completed his initial training in New South Wales at 2ITS, Bradfield Park, and at 8 EFTS, Narrandera. In May 1941 he was posted to Canada and attended 2SFTS, where he qualified as a pilot and promoted to Sergeant on 1 September 1941. By October he was in the UK attending 58OTU at Grangemouth, and the following month was posted to 616 Squadron. On 1 March 1942 he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer. In operations over Dieppe on 19 August 1942, he claimed a FW 190 damaged in each of two sorties in the area flying a Spitfire MkVb.

In October he returned to Australia via the USA, and arrived in January 1943, being promoted to Flying Officer on route. Smithson then attended a refresher course at 2OTU, Mildura, before being posted to 457 Squadron, Darwin, on 5 March 1943. Here he was to make several claims against the Japanese, including the only double night victory in the defense of Northern Australia, on 12 November 1943. He was awarded a DFC, gazetted on 7 January 1944. His citation for which states that he had destroyed five aircraft and damaged four. Another commanding officers report stated his claims as five destroyed, two probables and four damaged. However the claims listed below are probably closer to reality. He completed his tour in February 1944, and became an instructor at 2 OTU in March. While at this unit he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on 15 May 1944. At his own request he was transferred into reserve on 10 October, and joined Australian National Airways. Later he flew with Qantas. He was released from service on 1 July 1947 but later rejoined the RAAF reserve in June 1952.

See Also:

Service Record

Newspapers     Newspapers II

Combat Claims:

1     43.06.20 457 Spitfire Zeke Darwin

    1D 43.06.20 457 Spitfire Bomber Darwin

1     43.09.07 457 Spitfire Zeke Pt. Paterson JK225 ZP-G
2     43.11.12 457 Spitfire Betty Darwin A58-234 ZP-W

(Information updated 16 Feb 2013)

 

 

 


    

 S/Ldr DARYL MAXWELL SPROULE DFC (250641) 2/0/0 † 

 

Daryl Sproule was born on 3 October 1917, in Hobart, Tasmania. He attended Hobart High School, and worked as an articled law clerk with the law firm Gatenby, Johnson, and Walker, prior to enlisting in the RAAF on 8 January 1941. He attended 1EFTS, Parafield, before progressing to 1SFTS, Point Cook, on 11 March 1940. He was then posted to 21 Squadron, Laverton, and embarked from Melbourne with the squadron for the Far East on 13 August, arriving in Singapore 13 days later. The squadron then converted from Wirraways to Brewster Buffalo aircraft.  After the outbreak of hostilities he destroyed a fighter over Sembawang on 18 January 1941, before being evacuated before the fall of Singapore, and arriving in Melbourne on 10 March 1942.

He was then posted to 77 Squadron at Pearce, Western Australia, on 30 March, before a move to 25 Squadron, also at Pearce on 22 May. On 8 June he moved to Darwin and commenced operations with the First Photo Reconnaissance Unit (1PRU) but on on 10 September returned to 77 Squadron, which had also moved to Darwin. He gained a second victory over Milne Bay, New Guinea, when 77 and 75 Squadron engaged nearly 100 Japanese aircraft on 14 April 1943. On 25 May, Sproule flying A29-172 returned to Gurney Field from a travel flight to Goodenough Island. Unable to land due to low cloud, he made several attempts to land at Wedau. In low light, and with searchlights and a flare path to guide him, he was forced to make a crash landing. The starboard mainplane was completely torn off, and the rest of the aircraft extensively damaged in the landing. However Sproule escaped with abrasions to his face.

On 1 August, Sproule was promoted to S/Ldr, and took command of 77 Squadron. One day later while leading a sweep to New Britain, his Kittyhawk (A29-201) was thought to have been hit by schrapnel from his own bomb while attacking barges. Crash-landing in the water near Lindenhofen, he was seen to exit his P-40 and make his way to to the beach. However when 22 Squadron RAAF Boston's arrived to destroy his aircraft, Sproule was nowhere to be seen. It was later discovered that he was taken in by some friendly locals but was jumped and bound by other natives. He was captured by the Japanese soon afterwards. On the 16 August 1943 he was executed by his captors near the village of Ring Ring, close to Gasmata. Post war a Japanese naval lieutenant commander was subsequently charged with his murder. Sproule received a posthumous DFC for ''gallantry and devotion to duty on numerous occasions'', which was gazetted on 15 August 1947.

See Also:

Casualty Report

RAAF Casualty Database

Newspapers   Newspapers II

Combat Claims:

1     42.01.18 21/453 Buffalo Nate Sembawang

1     43.04.14 77 P-40 Bomber Milne Bay A29-183 AM-H

 

 

 (Information updated 15 Feb 2013)

 

 

 


 

F/Lt HOWARD WILLIAM "BILL" STUART (270841) 2/0/0

 

Bill Stuart was born on 6 March 1920, in Toowoomba, Queensland. He was educated at Toowoomba State School and later at Toowoomba Grammar. He then trained as a teacher before teaching in Mackay and Reedy Creek. He enlisted in the RAAF on 11 March 1940. After training he served with BAGS Evans Head, and Sale, before going to 2OTU. He was posted to 76 Squadron at Exmouth Gulf in late 1942. The Squadron being posted there in response to intelligence reports warning of the threat of Japanese landings along the Western Australian coast. In February 1943 he was posted to 86 Squadron where he claimed two victories flying from Merauke, DNG. He became a flight commander, staying with the squadron until March 1944 when he became an instructor with 2OTU. He joined 82 Squadron in early 1945, helping with that units conversion to Mustangs. He was discharged from the service on 16 March 1946.

Combat Claims:

1     43.09.09 86 P-40 Oscar Merauke A29-314 MP-K
1     44.01.22 86 P-40 Betty C.Valsch A29-380 MP-Y

 

 

 

 

  

S/Ldr PETER St GEORGE BRUCE TURNBULL DFC (481) 3/0/0

   

Peter Turnbull was born in Armidale, NSW, on 19 February 1917, and later worked as an electrician at Glen Innes. In 1938 he joined the militia with the 12/24 Light Horse, and on 16 January 1939 he enlisted in the RAAF, undertaking his initial training at 1 FTS, Point Cook. He graduated with his flying badge and as a pilot officer on 20 October 1939. Three days later he was posted to 3 Squadron, Richmond, NSW, which was operating Hawker Demons at the time. On 15 July 1940 he embarked from Sydney with the squadron for the Middle East, arriving at Suez, Egypt, on 23 August.

From here the squadron moved to Ismailia and was equipped with Westland Lysander's and Gloster Gladiators and Gauntlets. He made two claims in a Gladiator, when he probably destroyed a CR42 near Sollum Bay on 26 December & damaged a G-50 on 25 January 1941. In the same month the squadron was allocated Hawker Hurricanes which Peter used to good effect, destroying four III/ZG 26 Bf110s over Scelediema on 3 April. Around this time the squadron was forced to progressively withdraw due to the advance of Axis forces, and by May the squadron was now operating from Lydda, Palestine, where it re-equipped with Curtiss P-40 Tomahawks. Operations against the Vichy French in Syria followed, and on 15 June he became an ace after he destroyed a Martin 167 over Sheik Meskine. He was to damage another four days later, and on the 28th of the same month shot down two Martin's over the Palmyra area. His final claims in the theatre came on 10 July near Hammara where he was to down two D-520s. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross gazetted on 10 October with the following citation.

 

 

NAA: A9300, TURNBULL P S B

 

  Peter Turnbull stands on top of the Martin Maryland 167 he shot down on 15 June 1941 over Sheik Meskine. The victory was his fifth, making him an ace. (Edmunds Collection-PVR Image)

He returned to Australia arriving at Sydney on 29 November 1941, just in time for the outbreak of war with Japan. On 14 December he was posted to 24 Squadron at Archerfield, Qld, and followed them through to their deployment to Rabaul, New Britain. In early January 1942 he hitched a ride aboard a Hudson returning from the first Allied reconnaissance fight over Truk as it staged through Rabaul and left for Australia. Rabaul at this stage was already under attack from Japanese aircraft, and he narrowly missed 24 Squadrons heroic but ultimately futile defense of Rabaul in February. By 23 January, he had taken up a posting on the staff of 3 SFTS Amberley. On 5 March he joined the newly formed 75 Squadron (P-40s) at Townsville, Qld, and followed them to Port Moresby as a flight commander two weeks later. A day after arrival the squadron's pilots carried out their first offensive action against Lae. Turnbull flying as top cover for the strafers below engaged and shot down a Zero. Although some sources state that he downed two Zero's on 10 April, no verification or original source has yet been found for these claims so they should be treated with some skepticism.

On his return to Australia he was given command of the newly formed 76 Squadron (P-40s) at Townsville on 11 April. In July both 76 and 75 Squadron were moved back to New Guinea to protect the new base at Milne Bay. In August the two squadrons were heavily involved in repelling Japanese air and naval forces attempting to capture the base. Much of their work involved the strafing of Japanese troops advancing on the bases two airfields from the north shore of the bay. On the 27th Turnbull in the company of F/O Kerville took off in A29-92 to locate an enemy tank. They were unable to locate the tank but did find troop positions. Kerville stayed as top cover while Turnbull dived on the position, strafing as he did so. However at a height of around 200ft and at an estimated 250mph his P-40 inexplicably flicked onto its back and crashed into the jungle. Approximately 12 days later after the withdrawal of Japanese troops the wreckage of his Kittyhawk was found east of Kari Mission with Turnbulls body still strapped in the aircraft. Preliminary inspection found no evidence of Turnbull being injured prior to the crash, and it was later speculated that the control surfaces of his aircraft may have been affected by the heavy mud thrown up from the Milne Bay runway. The new second airstrip which had become the scene of the pivotal action of the Battle of Milne Bay was named Turnbull Field in his honour.

 

 

 Two members of the Australian 2/12th Battalion sit on the wreckage of Peter Turnbull's Kittyhawk (A29-92) at Milne Bay. (AWM)

 

Known Promotions:   P/O 20.10.39,  F/O 20.04.40,  F/Lt 01.07.41,  S/Ldr 08.07.42

See Also:

Service Record

Casualty Report

RAAF Casualty Database

Newspapers  Newspapers II  Newspapers III  Newsapers IV  Newspapers V

Combat Claims:  

1     42.03.22 75 P-40 Zero Lae A29-12 T
2     42.04.10 75 P-40 Zero Pt.Moresby

 

Images of Peter Turnbull