View Full Version : S/L David VERNON, RAAF,- No.11 Squadron, RAAF - DSO recommendation

1st March 2022, 13:47
VERNON, David, S/L (Aus 462, Royal Australian Air Force) - No.11 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force - Distinguished Service Order - awarded as per London Gazette dated 19 October 1943. Born 29 May 1915 at Millsborough, England; home at Lane Cove, New South Wales; enlisted in Richmond, New South Wales, 29 May 1942. Released 29 May 1962 in rank of Wing Commander (final posting was Headquarters Support Command). No published citation at the time other than, "in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the Japanese." Citation from Michael Maton, Gallantry and Distinguished Service Awards to the Royal Australian Air Force in the Second World War (published by the author, North Turramurra, Australia, 2002). Also found in Air 2/8756.

Squadron Leader Vernon commenced active service flying with No.10 (RAAF) Sunderland Squadron in England in February 1941 and in the following 18 months with this squadron he completed 1,080 operational hours of which 570 were as captain including 111 sorties. These operations included day and night enemy reconnaissances, anti-submarine patrols and work under the Royal Air Force Coastal Command in the Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Biscay and Mediterranean Sea. On one occasion he made a particularly daring and successful reconnaissance in daylight at a height of 50 feet on shipping in Ferrol Harbour and has made several attacks on German convoys in the Bay of Biscay, sufficiently damaging a tanker on one occasion to lead to its ultimate destruction. In November 1942, after returning to Australia, he was posted as Catalina captain to No.11 Squadron. He has participated in 43 sorties which have included 22 night bombing raids and several night shipping reconnaissances in the Solomon and Bismark Sea, mine laying flights, anti-submarine patrols and one air/sea rescue flight in the Timor Sea. Early in January 1943 he sighted and immediately attacked a Japanese convoy of five transports escorted by five destroyers. He scored three direct hits on the Nichiyu Maru, a 6,000 ton transport which burst into flames and sank, resulting in the loss of between 700 and 800 troops. On the night of 9th January, Squadron Leader Vernon again sighted this convoy returning from Lae to Rabaul and attacked, this time scoring one hit on a large transport. He also scored three near misses during an attack on shipping in the Solomon Sea on the night of the 23rd January. During a night raid on Buka aerodrome on 17 March, whilst strafing anti-aircraft positions after dropping his bombs, he effectively silenced a medium anti-aircraft gun. When returning from a night raid on Babo he was also successful at Kaimana in damaging a ship, four enemy float planes, and silencing a light anti-aircraft gun. He has on several occasions, when returning from mine-laying expeditions, attacked enemy aerodromes, strafing grounded aircraft and each time his own aircraft has sustained considerable damage from severe anti-aircraft fire encountered. On the night of June 3rd, 1943, after bombing and strafing Babo, Squadron Leader Vernonís aircraft was hit by a medium anti-aircraft explosive shell which holed his port petrol tank and shot away the junction box containing the greater part of the wiring system. In spite of this he returned safely to his base, a distance of 1,200 miles. Throughout this long tour of active service, Squadron Leader Vernon displayed a fearlessly offensive spirit, his splendid example of skilful and unrelentless [sic] aggression has been of particular value to the squadron during the last few months when it was imperative that the squadron morale be maintained through a long period of relatively high casualties.