View Full Version : W/C Donald PEVELER - No.10 OTU - first DSO, gazetted text and recommendation

1st March 2022, 03:48
PEVELER, Donald, W/C, DFC (42764, Royal Air Force) - No.10 Operational Training Unit - Distinguished Service Order - awarded as per London Gazette dated 8 January 1943. Born 1912 at Kirkstall, Leeds; home there. Educated at Leeds Grammar School. Enlisted as a pupil pilot, August 1939; commissioned two months later. Awarded DFC on 18 April 1941 for services in No.51 Squadron (Pilot Officer) and Bar to DFC, 26 May 1942 for services with No.51 Squadron (Squadron Leader). Cited with P/O H.W.D. Stewart, RCAF, awarded DFC.

In December 1942, Wing Commander Peveler and Pilot Officer Stewart were captain and rear gunner respectively of an aircraft engaged in a search for the crew of an aircraft lost at sea. When leaving the area, after searching for twelve hours, three Junkers 88 attacked their aircraft. Pilot Officer Stewart gave a splendid running commentary of the movement of the enemy aircraft which enabled his captain to take evasive action. Wing Commander Peveler manoeuvered his aircraft with superb skill and determination until safety was gained in the clouds. The bomber had been damaged and the second pilot and bomb aimer wounded. Some time later a further attack was made by three Focke Wulfe 190s. In the ensuing combat, despite the heavy odds, Pilot Officer Stewart, by his accurate shooting, shot down one of the fighters and damaged another while the third was driven off. Displaying magnificent airmanship, Wing Commander Peveler flew his badly damaged aircraft safely back to this country. Pilot Officer Stewart's coolness and gallantry very materially assisted his captain throughout this hazardous operation. Wing Commander Peveler has always displayed outstanding leadership and an example of devotion to duty worthy of the highest praise.

Recommendation dated 23 December 1947 found in Air 2/4922; transcribed by Huguette Mondor Oates:

During recent months, No. 10 O.T.U. Detachment has achieved remarkably fine results from operations based on St. Eval, bearing in mind that their aircrews are changed every month, have no previous operational experience and no training in coastal work. Their morale has remained high in spite of several losses, largely caused by engine failures on their long sea patrols. These results are very largely attributable to the outstanding leadership, example and gallantry of their Commanding Officer, Wing Commander D. Peveler, DFC. He has taken a full share in their operations and his habit of piloting a single aircraft on long searches over the sea for missing crews, in weather conditions under which other pilots could not be allowed to fly, has earned him the high respect of his subordinates and superiors.

The culminating event was on the 18th December 1942, when Wing Commander Peveler piloted a Whitley aircraft on a 12-hours search for one of his missing crews. After leaving his search area, the Whitley was attacked by three Junkers 88. The cloud cover in the vicinity was inadequate, but Wing Commander Peveler handled his aircraft with such skill and determination that the enemy were beaten off until cloud cover was obtained although the Whitley was damaged and the second pilot and bomb-aimer were wounded. Later a dinghy was sighted with a British destroyer in the distance.

Although a suspicious explosion and flashes were seen and the Whitley Observer thought he saw a strange aircraft, Wing Commander Peveler, thinking the dinghy one of his own, promptly dived down to lead the destroyers to the dinghy. The dinghy was identified as German and the Whitley climbed for cloud cover. While doing so, three FW.190 aircraft delivered a surprise attack. In the ensuing action and despite the heavy odds against him, Wing Commander Peveler and the crew, under his command, fought their aircraft so successfully that one FW.190 was shot down and seen to crash into the sea and a second aircraft was damaged and driven off, whilst a third enemy aircraft was fought off until the Whitley could reach cloud cover. As a result of this action, the starboard engine of the Whitley was so damaged as to seize shortly afterwards. The aircraft was also severely damaged, including the loss of the use of the hydraulic and pneumatic systems. In spite of this, W/C Peveler succeeded in flying his aircraft back some 109 miles and made a safe landing at Predannack. (Signed by Group Captain, No. 10 OTU, Abingdon, 23.12.42)

By his enthusiasm, devotion to duty, skill and untiring energy, both in the air and on the ground, Wing Commander Peveler, as O.C. No. 10 O.T.U. Detachment, has set an outstanding example to aircrew and ground personnel alike. The keenness and high morale of all personnel of his Detachment are largely due to his outstanding qualities of leadership.

He knew full well that he was likely to meet stiff opposition when he left on his search for the crew who had been shot down by enemy aircraft into the sea on the previous day. I consider this officer’s gallant conduct worthy of the highest praise and strongly endorse the above recommendation for the immediate award of the DSO. (Signed by Air Commodore, Air Officer Commanding, No. 91 Group, R.A.F., 23.12.42)

Don Clark
19th August 2022, 00:06
Commendable as Hearns DSO compilation is,
PEVELER, Donald, W/C, DFC DSO 42764 is omitted altogether from his Companions of the Distinguished Service Order 1920-2006: Air Awards (Naval & Military Press 2011), in both the DSO compilation and from the summary roll of DSO + DFC awardees.

See Preedy DSO post #2 (http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?29359-F-L-John-Rupert-PREEDY-No-101-Squadron-DSO-Gazette-text-vs-recommendation&p=176002#post176002)for notes re Hearns as compiler.

Hugh's 1 Mar 2022 post is as far back in this great set that, for the DSOs in particular, I have time at present to compare with Hearns, for level of bio detail etc.
Where there was more detail & etc in Hearns, I've added replies here, noting that the majority of Hugh's DSO posts have bio detail matching or so closely mirroring Hearns entries, such that any addnl notes would've been superfluous.

I would like to repeat that Hugh Halliday and Doug Hearns have both undertaken commendable work in making accessible compilations of awards for Air Force service personnel.

19th August 2022, 03:20
For Don Clark, and others,

Re: Hearns' DSO book:


The following can be added to Donald Peveler's CV: