View Full Version : S/L William Walter BLESSING, RAAF - DSO for Jena daylight raid, May 1943

28th February 2022, 22:51
BLESSING, William Walter, S/L, DFC (Aus 404648) – No. 105 Squadron – Distinguished Service Order – awarded as per London Gazette dated 18 June 1943. No citation published other than the following covering several awards:

On the 27th May, 1943. a force of bombers were detailed to attack targets at Jena, Germany, in daylight. The operation called for a high degree of skill and necessitated a flight over strongly defended areas and difficult terrain. Whilst still a considerable distance from the target, the weather deteriorated and visibility became very poor. Nevertheless, the objective, far away in enemy territory was reached according to plan. In spite of balloon defences, and in the face of fierce antiaircraft fire, a low level attack was pressed home with great vigour. The success achieved reflects the greatest credit on the efforts of the abovenamed personnel who took part in the operation in various capacities, as members of aircraft crews. Their skill, courage and determination were of a high order.

Recommendation for Blessing dated 20 May 1943 found in Air 2/4974, when he had flown 23 sorties (89 hours 35 minutes), of which seven sorties (24 hours 25 minutes) had been since previous award. Transcribed by Huguette Mondor Oates.

On 27th May, 1943, Squadron Leader Blessing was the leader of the second section off a formation of 14 aircraft detailed to attack Jena, Germany, in daylight. The flight to the target was made at low level in daylight, over a distance of more than 500 miles through occupied and enemy territory.

Weather conditions were not as expected, and deteriorated badly over the second half of the route. Before reaching this bad weather, however, the last two aircraft of the leading section collided immediately ahead of Squadron Leader Blessing’s aircraft.

In spite of this, he maintained his position in relation to the leading section, and kept his own section well together. Shortly afterwards, visibility became very poor, and it was necessary to maintain formation by the use of navigation lights. Squadron Leader Blessing continued to lead his section without undue manoeuvring, and therefore enabled them to keep together.

Within 50 miles of the target, visibility further deteriorated, and it was almost impossible to see the aircraft ahead. A good run up was made, however, and the leading section went in on their target. At this moment, intense and accurate light flak started up, and within half a mile of his own target, Squadron Leader Blessing saw that it was defended by balloons. He pressed on, however, and bombed accurately from low level, finally returning to base safely.

This officer is a very strong personality with a most purposeful attitude towards operations. He has frequently been in difficult situations – both from ground defences and from fighters. He has never swerved from his object, however, and whenever it has been at all possible, he has pressed home his attack.

I consider him to be an outstanding character who has very great influence on all operational crews who come in contact with him, and there are definite examples of him nursing weak crews through the first part of their operational career with very satisfactory results.

Although he has completed only seven sorties since he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, five of these have been daylight attacks, and two successful night attacks on Berlin and Munster.


This officer’s skill, courage and devotion to duty have contributed largely to the success of his squadron and I strongly endorse this recommendation. (Signed by Air Commodore, Air Officer Commanding, No. 2 (B) Group, 30.5.43); also signed by Air Chief Marshal, Commanding-in-Chief, Bomber Command, 4.6.43).