O’REILLY, John Archibald, Flying Officer (151910) – No. 502 Squadron – Distinguished Flying Cross – awarded as per London Gazette dated 24 April 1945. Information from Spink catalogue of 5 November 2003, transcribed by Huguette Mondor Oates. Cited with F/L John Rintoul Hutchison. Gazetted citation read:.

As .pilot and navigator of aircraft respectively, these officers 'have participated in many varied sorties, including numerous successful attacks on enemy shipping. On one occasion, in December, 1944, -they pressed home an attack on a large supply vessel off Goteborg. Two hits were obtained amid- •ships. In March, 1945, they secured another notable success against a medium-sized merchant man at the entrance to Oslo fjord. In spite of fierce opposing fire, the attack was well pressed home and two hits were obtained on the stern of the vessel. In "these well executed attacks, Flight Lieutenant Hutchison and Flying Officer O'Reilly displayed courage and resolution of a high order..

The original recommendation for O’Reilly states:

‘Flying Officer O’Reilly is a navigator-bomb-aimer of marked intelligence and aggressive spirit. He has taken in his stride the special problems presented to the navigator by the type of work which the Squadron has been doing, and as a member of Flight Lieutenant Hutchison’s crew has had some notable successes. Their determination and zeal were shown on the Squadron’s last sortie in the Bay of Biscay when they defied the notorious defences of Lorient harbour to make two sorties inside it, and two attacks’.

In the Skagerrak, they have made five good attacks and on two of these there has been unmistakable and obvious evidence of their success. The first took place near Goteborg on the night of December 29th when a pair of bombs hit a tanker between its bridge and its funnel.

This performance was to be repeated in the face of more serious opposition. On March 2nd, even the concentrated heavy and light flak from a destroyer believed to be of the Narvik class and another escort vessel coming from a mere 4000 feet below the aircraft, failed to shake his accuracy. He had taken pains to find a really accurate wind and, in the difficult light of the moon, he deliberately aimed and hit his target with two bombs of the stick, once again causing fire to break out. The target was a 3000-ton Merchant vessel stationary near the mouth of Oslo fjiord.

Results like these cannot be obtained without a combination of determination and science on the part of the Navigator-bomb-aimer, and I feel that Flying Officer’s O’Reilly’s success deserves special recognition.’