© 2009 454 & 459 RAAF Squadrons
454 RAAF Squadron
3.10.44 -- 14.8.45
Dessert Air Force
Pilot Officer - Alan Norman Godfrey
Wing Operator - Air Gunner
Service Number: 437126
Enlisted : 7th November 1942
Discharged : 26th February 1946
Place of birth : Prospect - South Australia
[Born : 25th April 1924]
Jeff Gillingham - Pilot
Alan Norman Godfrey - WOP/AG
Iver "Rod" Roderick Pederson - Flight Sergeant
[The following from Mark Lax's book - see News Page]
The squadron's role in Italy would be daylight medium bombing and targets would include factories, storage depots, rail yards, bridges, Todt labour camps and gun emplacements. Sorties would be much shorter than the 5-6 hours experienced at Berka and crews would work even more closely with the British 8th Army with close bombing missions requiring high navigation accuracy and utmost crew concentration.
There would be nothing worse than bombing one's own side. Alan Godfrey a WOP/AG on Jeff Gillingham's crew recalled the early operations in Italy.
"The shorter duration of flights, many less than two hours, meant time was spent forming a 6-aircraft box, climbing to a bombing altitude of 10,000 ft, dropping bombs after a 10 second bomb run and going home as fast as possible. I recall one raid when the time from bomb drop to touch-down was 7 minutes. (When I first operated from Cesenatico we were within artillery range of the front line and were described as being the closest air strip to a front line on any Allied field of operations). The effect of this type of operation was that the pilot was fully occupied, including making sure that he kept an appropriate space between him and the closest formation member, and the navigator/bomb aimer was also gainfully occupied."
With this in mind an during a spell of particularly bad weather, Rod Pederson suggested a visit to the front lines, about 20 miles from the base. They came across a Canadian Unit and joined a mail run jeep up to a mortar position. Ted Denton, one of the adventurers continued the story:
"Just before reaching the mortar position we must have been spotted by Jerry and before long, we came under fire, I presume it was mortar fire from a hill top which the Axis still held and we were certainly not taking mail to that mortar position. The Canadian driver told us to abandon the Jeep immediately, and to go to ground; the next thing I was flat on my face in sticky mud. After a short period of time the firing ceased and we made our way on foot a few yards to the Canadian mortar position. These enemy positions were the kind of target that our aircraft were called on to attack to soften up the area and help the ground forces advance."
When Ken Rimmer visited Australia in 1990 he made contact with Bob Mitchell and Jack Stacey in Adelaide. Ken joined them in the Anzac Day march with ex 454 members.
After the parade they all met at Jack's for a barbeque as follows:
Front Left to Right:
|Questions & Answers|
|Blackburn B.26 Botha|
|Boulton Paul Defiant|
|De Havilland Dominie DH.89|
|Fairchild F24 Argus|
|Taylorcraft Auster Mk III|
|WW2 Aircraft Serial Numbers & Markings|
|Roll Of Honour|
|454 GROUND STAFF|
|459 GROUND STAFF|
|Stories & Anecdotes|
|Anzac Day Pictures|
|War Time Pictures|
|War Time Document|
|Post War Pictures|
|London Dedication Ceremony|
|454 Magazine - Nomad|
|459 Magazine - Gremloids|