View Full Version : Far East awards - S/L Ian W. Hutcheson, F/L Richard J. Allanson, Sergeant Tom Woods

23rd January 2022, 22:05
The London Gazette of 1 October 1946 reported numerous awards for personnel with no explanation other than “in recognition of gallant and distinguished services rendered during, the period of operations against the Japanese in Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies terminating in March, 1942.” Public Record Office AIR 2/8774 has recommendation (not clear when drafted) for DFCs to F/L Richard Joseph Allanson (No.36 Squadron), S/L Ian William Hutcheson (No.100 Squadron) and DFM to Sergeant Tom Woods (No.36 Squadron). The same file will doubtless offer recommendations for other awards gazetted in the same issue.

These officers and airman operated throughout the campaign in Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies. Thirteen of our aircraft were lost in one day when attempting to check the Japanese landing at Endau and as a result the survivors flew in obsolete aircraft under great technical handicaps and with very little rest. On the 28th February 1942, Squadron Leader Hutcheson , Flight Lieutenant Allanson and Sergeant Woods participated in a low level attack on a Japanese convoy of about 28 ships and excellent results were achieved. This was followed by another sortie against Japanese landing craft which was pressed home from a low altitude, despite the exhaustion of the pilots. By this time the aircraft were scarcely operationally serviceable and spare parts could only be obtained by removal from another aircraft; nevertheless, despite this and the physical disabilities arising from fatigue, these officers and airman continued to exhibit great fortitude and devotion to duty. By the 1st March 1942, the squadron’s strength had been reduced to six aircraft, and later in the month an attempt was made to save the two remaining aircraft by flying them out of the country. Flight Lieutenant Allanson piloted one of these aircraft, but it ran out of petrol off Sumatra and was forced down to the sea. He and his crew were taken prisoners. Throughout the campaigns, Squadron Leader Hutcheson, Flight Lieutenant Allanson and Sergeant Wood displayed outstanding courage, skill and resource.