© 2009 454 & 459 RAAF Squadrons


 454 RAAF Squadron


Flight Lieutenant


 "Doug" Douglas Frank Hutchinson


Wireless Operator - Air Gunner


Born: 10 Mar 1917

Date of Enlistment: 03 Feb 1941

Service No. 403591

Date of Discharge: 25 Oct 1945

Died: 02 Feb 2016

During the war

This photo was taken in 1998

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OPERATION "THESIS"


A retaliatory raid that would be a large combined air strike against various ports and military establishments on Crete.  8 crews were chosen for this mission.  Doug Hutchinson's plane was with Squadron Leader L.H. Folkard, RAFVR


FLIGHT CREW -  FA 390 - FIRST WAVE - 23.7.1943


Squadron Leader L.H. Folkard, RAFVR - POW

Flying Officer D.F. Hutchinson, RAAF - POW

Flying Officer W.W. Dyer, RAFVR -- POW

Warrant Officer K.S. Wedgwood - KIA V

 


One of 8 crews selected for the "Thesis" Raid of Crete was to relieve pressure from the German operation "Huskey" - the Allied invasion of Sicily and avenge the execution of 100 Cretans who had been shot after assisting a Commando raid on the island.


454 were to provide 2 box formations of 4 aircraft each - each loaded with six 250 lb bombs.  A 230 mile flight.  The mission resulted in 5 aircraft lost over Crete.  


Folkhard flew low over Suda Bay - the enemy fire was intense, the aircraft suffered serious damage, he managed to somehow crash land the aircraft of a sandy beach near Heraklion after which he lost consciousness.  Doug Hutchinson was able to escape when the turret broke and he was first out.  He managed to drag out Keith Wedgwood through this gap, clear of the burning plane, he appeared to be dead.  Doug then went on to help the others escape the wreckage before the plane blew up.  Dough didn't realise at the time that part of his left foot was missing and he had other shrapnel injuries.  He, Folkhard and Dyer became Prisoners of War at the infamous Stalag Luft III - at Sagan, Germany. [see below].


Aerial photo of Stalag Luft III - during WW2


You can read more about this mission in Mark Lax's book "Alamein To The Alps".  (for details on this book go to our News Page).

L-R: -- Unknown name (?), Sep Owen, Doug Hutchinson, 

Peter Matthews, -- United Services Club, April 1998 [can you help?]


Doug Hutchinson - 454 Squadron and his nephew Robert Cross (Anzac Day 2007)

Douglas F HUTCHINSON