© 2009 454 & 459 RAAF Squadrons

459 RAAF Hudson Squadron

2.7.1942 - 17.7.1943

Middle East Command - WW2 1942 - 45

Flight Lieutenant Roy Woodhouse

Service No. 407702

Born: 26.7.1915

Place of Birth: Parkes, NSW

Date of Enlistment: 6.1.1941

Died --13th October 2000


Hudson Crew:

Pilot -      Arthur Newton.

Navigator/Bomb Aimer  - Roy Woodhouse.

WAG - Brian Young

WAG -   Doug Law

This crew flew with 459 Squadron, the only RAAF Hudson Squadron in the RAF.  (There were of course several RAAF Hudson Squadrons formed in Australia, which served in the Dutch East Indies and South West Pacific.  The Middle East 459 Hudson's were flown by the North Atlantic route to the UK and thence by crews trained at Silloth to the Squadron.  It operated in 1942 only months after its formation in February, as trained crews and their Hudson's arrived from England via Gibraltar (and Malta whilst the Mediterranean route was possible) to Egypt.  During the final British withdrawal towards the Delta and the three subsequent Alamein Battles - (i) to hold the Alamein defensive line, (ii) to crush the attempted breakthrough at Alam Halfa and (iii) to mount the Alamein offensive westward in October 1942 - which commenced the long three year drive from "Alamein to the Alps" by May 1945.  No. 459 RAAF Squadron was heavily involved in this turn of the tide.  It claimed several sinkings - seventeen F-boats, (400 ton invasion supply vessels), a 6000ton Merchant Vessel and a Destroyer in some 6 weeks, with several aircraft lost.  The mast-head attacks, usually at "first light" by 459 and other RAF units, helped close down the Tobruk to Alamein night coastal supply route, so disrupting Rommel's ability to maintain supplies for his eastward drive.  Group Captain Revington Officer Commanding RAF 201 Group later quietly "spoiled" his beloved Australians thereafter, after the Squadrons heavy losses in those hectic months.

Newton (Pilot) and Woodhouse (Nav B) shared in 459's F-boat successes.

In discussions with Roy's son Peter he recalls reference to Arthur Newton by his Dad as a "very nick bloke", a bit given to "gung- ho" remarks (after all "mast-head" strike pilots needed to be) whilst Roy was remembered by Arthur and his family as a very meticulous person.  Indeed the often repeated family story goes that on one coastal command sortie, when the crew's packed lunch  was being shared, some baked beans, from a newly opened tin fell on Roy's carefully plotted track on his Nav. chart.  It is alleged that Roy, inwardly upset, reworked the flying courses around the blemish, and Arthur had to fly  some "short" legs before resuming the former track.  Apparently the crew got the message! That the Post-War Newton-Woodhouse links were as strong as in the war years is indicated by Roy's role as the Newton family solicitor in country Victoria.

(George Gray compiled after discussions with Peter Woodhouse).