© 2009 454 & 459 RAAF Squadrons
459 RAAF Squadron
Warrant Officer -- Peter Warner Spencer
Service No. 437453
Date of Birth: 13 Nov 1924
Place of Birth: Kapunda - South Australia
Date of Enlistment: 30 Jan1943 Place: Adelaide
Date of Discharge: 19 Mar 1946
Location during WW2: Based in the UK.
A recent photo of Peter Spencer
Peter joined us for the 2006 Anzac Day March and Luncheon in Sydney.
An email from Peter Spencer dated 2 Feb 2006:
"I must first apologise for taking so long to reply to yours of 6 January 2006. I have been having trouble with my computer, probably due to my having insufficient knowledge to control this frustrating device.
Because I was not included in the photograph taken of 459 Squadron at Chivenor, Devon, which appeared in the 2003 Bulletin you may well wonder whether I really was ever a member of the squadron.
From the attached Service Record you will see that at the time of discharge on 19/3/46 I was a member of 459 Squadron but it does not disclose that I did not join 459 until 28 March 1945. On that day I and about 25 other pilots from all over England reported for duty at Chivenor in the expectation that we would all be second pilots/ Leighlight Operators flying Wellington aircraft on anti-submarine patrols across the North Atlantic. We then discovered that the rest of the squadron had gone on disembarkation leave after arriving in the U.K. following service in North Africa and Italy where they had been flying Baltimore aircraft. The said photo was probably taken before they went on leave. It was a week or two before they returned to join us. In the meantime we had been having a "holiday" and this sort of life continued. We all reported at 10 am each day, got our ration of milk and raisins and had the rest of the day off. It transpired that: (a) none of us had ever flown a Wellington, (b) a Canadian squadron already operating from Chivenor was having little success in finding U-boats sitting on the surface at night as they had done in the past (the Schnorkel invented by the Germans made this unnecessary) and (c) for the Squadron to convert from one type of aircraft to another could take a month or two. As it looked as though the war in Europe would soon be over none of us was surprised when on the 23rd of April the pilots began to receive postings to either Operational Training Units or Staff Pilot positions. I left Chivenor on 5th May 1945. Three days later we were all "grounded" as the war in Europe had ended.
I arrived in England from Australia on 13th June 1945, just a week after the D-day landings on the north coast of France. A large pool of aircrew had been built up in readiness for this. So prior to going to Chivenor I moved around England doing various courses (rumour had it that we were to be used as glider pilots - perish the thought!), flying a Tiger Moth (the plane we all did our elementary training on in Australia) around the country to learn to map-read under UK conditions. For four months I did Airfield Control but was not attached to any squadron. After Chivenor I did clerical work for five months at Overseas Headquarters in London.
I have no photos that would be of interest to 459 Squadron members and I doubt this story would be of much interest either."
Thank you Peter Spencer for contributing your story it is most welcome and we are very happy to hear from you and have you become part of the website - we look forward to any more interesting information you have to send.
Penny Griffiths - Honorary Secretary - 454-459 Squadrons Assoc.
Peter Warner SPENCER
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