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6 July 2017
Crew 7, Pilot Alan George Cuttriss – 462 Squadron RAAF

 

Crew 7, 462 Squadron, RAAF, Driffield late 1944; John Daniel Trowbridge, Leo Kevin Rahaley, William Edward Dyer, Dudley George Hall, John Robert Gibson, Alan George Cuttriss, Keith Thomas Clarke.
Photo with identification supplied by and used with the permission of
Sally-Ann Cuttriss, daughter of Alan George Cuttriss.

 

Reference sources: WW2 Nominal Roll; National Archives of Australia; Veterans UK MOD Roll of Honour; book "Brave & True"; Trove (National Library of Australia); copy of Alan Cuttriss's Log Book.

 

Crew 7, 462 Squadron, Driffield. The Crew is shown here outside the Respirator Workshop, which appears to be the usual location for crew photos. They are identified as follows (identification supplied by Sally-Ann Cuttriss from the Cuttriss family files):-

Back row, from left:- John Daniel Trowbridge (Joe), W/Op; Leo Kevin Rahaley (Shooftee), R/AG; William Edward Dyer (Ted), MU/AG; Dudley George Hall (Nobby), F/Eng.

Front row, from left:- John Robert Gibson (Hoot or Shaggy Dog), B/A; Alan George Cuttriss (Pup), Pilot; Keith Thomas Clarke, Nav.

An identical photo in "Brave and True", page 136 has the same names, as identified on the reverse of their photo. In "To See the Dawn Again", p157, an identical photo has the names of the four in the back row reversed, & the F/Eng's name incorrect.

Halifax J
Captain/Pilot: Alan George Cuttriss ; Bomb Aimer: John Robert Gibson ;
Navigator: Keith Thomas Clarke ; Wireless Operator:John Daniel Trowbridge ;
Mid-Upper Gunner:William Edward Dyer ; Rear Gunner: Leo Kevin Rahaley ;
Flight Engineer: Dudley George Hall
Crew information summary;
RAAF service history for Cuttriss;
Crew Ops at 466 Squadron; Crew Ops at 462 Squadron;
Night to Remember by Cuttriss;
Publications– log book extras and Newspaper clippings;
Citations for Awards of DFC (Cuttriss) and DFM (Gibson);
Gibson casualty information.

 

 

Names and Signatures of Cuttriss Crew on reverse of Crew photo, 462 Squadron, Driffield late 1944.
Photo supplied by and used with the permission of
Sally-Ann Cuttriss, daughter of Alan George Cuttriss.

 

Names and Signatures of Cuttriss Crew on reverse of Crew photo (462 Squadron, Driffield late 1944).

The names, numbers and signatures match with their position on the crew photo above 1, 2, 3, 4 back row, from left to right (Trowbridge, Rahaley, Dyer and Hall).

5, 6 and 7 front row, left to right, Gibson, Cuttriss and Clarke.
all have signed except for Bomb Aimer Gibson

 

The wedding of Keith Thomas Clarke, Navigator, and Lilian Hall, February 1945; Best Man Alan George Cuttriss, Pilot; both previously in Crew 7, 462 Squadron, Driffield.
Photo with identification supplied by and used with the permission of
Sally-Ann Cuttriss, daughter of Alan George Cuttriss.

 

 

The wedding of Keith Thomas Clarke and his English War Bride, Lilian Hall at St Agnes Church of England, Reddish, Manchester, 17 February 1945.

From the left:- 1. not named; 2. Joe Trowbridge (W/Op); 3. Ted Dyer (M/U A/G); 4. Groom Keith Clarke (Nav); 5. Bride Lilian Clarke; 6. Best Man Alan Cuttriss; 7. Des Ryan (W/Op in Brophy Crew); 8. Harry Kemp (F/E, from a different crew); 9. Kevin Rahaley (R/G).

Except for the unidentified man, and Ryan, and Kemp, all of the others were from Crew 7 in 462 Squadron, who had been posted to 462 Squadron at Driffield from August to December 1944. Ryan (in Brophy's Crew) was also posted to 462 Squadron, from August to November 1944. Kemp has not been identified by crew in either 466 or 462 Squadrons, but his lighter coloured uniform indicates that he was probably RAF, not RAAF.

It is not yet known if Mrs Clarke (née Hall) was related to the crew's Flight Engineer, also named Hall; but as F/Eng Hall is not in the photo, it seems not.

 

 

Halifax HX266 HD-J "Good old J", flown by Alan George Cuttriss, Pilot, and crew while posted to 466 Squadron, Driffield, Yorkshire in 1944; crew later posted to 462 Squadron.
Photo supplied by and used with the permission of
Sally-Ann Cuttriss, daughter of Alan George Cuttriss.

Halifax HX266, HD-J of 466 Squadron.

From "Brave & True" (466 Squadron) page 324, App II; Halifax HX266 code T(J), manufactured by Handley Page, delivered new to 466 Sqdn November 1943;  Passed to 1658 HCU. SOC 8-2-47.

From the Logbook of Alan George Cuttriss, this crew flew the following Ops in Halifax HX266:-
466 Sqdn, June 1944, 1 Op, Cuttriss as 2nd Pilot, code HD-T;
466 Sqdn, July 1944, 3 Ops with his crew, new code HD-J;
466 Sqdn, August 1944, 7 Ops with his crew, code HD-J;
466 Sqdn, August 1944, 2 non-Op flights with his crew, code HD-J.
Thus a total of 13 flights, with 11 of 25 Ops for Cuttriss at 466 Squadron in "Good old J".

Hand-written notes on the reverse of the photo: " Taken at DRIFFIELD, October 1944; Paris, Dijon, Brunswick – 1 fighter destroyed by Ted, Eindhoven and 9 minor trips with US. GOOD OLD "J". " (i.e. total 13 while posted to 466 Squadron)
By October, Cuttriss and crew had been posted to 462 Squadron, which at that time was still located at Driffield with 466 Squadron. This information matches the July & August 1944 logbook Ops – Op 13 Paris; August 20 Dijon; 22 Brunswick (fighter destroyed by Mid-Upper F/Sgt Edward "Ted" Dyer), 23 Eindhoven; plus the minor Ops and non-Op flights, as noted above.

Nose art of Halifax HX266 HD-J of 466 Squadron, the preferred aircraft for Pilot Alan George Cuttriss and Crew, later poated to 462 Squadron.
From an original photo supplied by and used with the permission of
Sally-Ann Cuttriss, daughter of Alan George Cuttriss.

 

Halifax "Good old J", flown by Alan George Cuttriss, Pilot, and crew while posted to Driffield, Yorkshire in 1944.

The photo is undated. The Cuttriss crew were posted to 466 Squadron at Driffield on 8 June 1944. They were posted to the newly re-formed 462 Squadron, also at Driffield on 20 August 1944, until 20 December 1944.

The tail fins and rudders do not have the markings used from late September 1944 to identify 462 Squadron (3 broad vertical yellow stripes), and 466 Squadron (3 broad horizontal yellow stripes). (Ref: "Brave & True") The Serial Number is undecipherable, and the first 2 letters of the aircraft code are obscured by the wing (HD for 466 Squadron, and Z5 for 462 Squadron). This Halifax may therefore have been from either Squadron. It was initially thought to be Halifax MZ400, Z5-J, flown on 4 Ops by this crew in September 1944, while posted to 462 Squadron. MZ400-J failed to return from Ops on 9 October 1944 with all KIA (Coleman Crew).

John Dann (UK) has identified this aircraft as HX266, and provided the following details. "MZ400 of 462 Squadron only took off on 16 operations of which 2 were recalled and a further 2 were early returns. HX266 took off on 72 operations, although 4 of those were sea searches, 7 were early returns and 1 was a recall. Total 60. The picture of 'J' shows 4 rows of 15 'Ops' markings making 60."

Therefore "Good Old J" flown by the Cuttriss crew, is Halifax HX266, HD-J of 466 Squadron. Thank you John.

 

At left: Halifax HX266, HD-J showing Nose Art (cut from from the original photo above left).

A description of the nose art of this aircraft was included in Alan Cuttriss's log book, as follows:-
60 bombs in four rows of 15, indicating 60 successful Ops (on the right);
a Coat of Arms representing wine and song (on the left);
a motto, "Life begins at 40" (probably on the scroll under the Coat of Arms);
1 Swastika for 1 Combat claim (MU/AG Dyer, 12 August 1944, Op 22, 466 Sqdn) under the scroll.
After the aircraft's 40th Op, Cuttriss became J's regular Pilot.
Halifax HD-J was known as "Johnny".
Log book info and newspaper reports are included in a later section.

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Alan George Cuttriss, 410634 RAAF, at enlistment, January 1942, later posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield.
Photo from the National Archives of Australia, A9300, 410634.

Alan George Cuttriss, 410634 RAAF, still in civilian clothes, at or soon after his enlistment on 31/01/1942.

 

Alan George Cuttriss, 410634 RAAF, during training in 1942, later posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield.
Photo from the National Archives of Australia, A9300, 410634.

Alan George Cuttriss, 410634 RAAF, with name tag in view, probably during his early training in 1942.

 

Air Craftman 2 Alan George Cuttriss, 410634 RAAF, early 1942 (later 462 Squadron).
Photo supplied by and used with the permission of
Sally-Ann Cuttriss, daughter of Alan George Cuttriss.

 

Pilot

Name: Alan George Cuttriss
(Known as Pup)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 410634
Date of Birth: 16 April 1923
Place of Birth: Geelong, Victoria
Date of Enlistment: 31 January 1942
Place of Enlistment: Melbourne, Victoria
Next of Kin: Arthur Cuttriss
Date of Discharge: 4 January 1946
Rank at Discharge: Flying Officer
Posting at Discharge: 96 Squadron
WW2 Honours and Gallantry: Distinguished Flying Cross

The photo at left is the first RAAF photo of Alan George Cuttriss, at the rank of Air Craftman 2 (AC2). It was taken some time after 31 January 1942 (probably during his posting to No. 1 Initial Training School, Somers, Victoria), but before 23 May 1942, when he was promoted to Leading Aircraftman (LAC). His 19th birthday was on 16 April 1942, so perhaps this was the date of the photo. Family info is that one grandson in 2014 looked remarkably like Alan in this photo.

 


Alan George Cuttriss, 410634 RAAF, posted to 462 Squadron August to December 1944.
Alan George Cuttriss, 410634 RAAF, Pilot.
Photo supplied by and used with the permission of
Sally-Ann Cuttriss, daughter of Alan George Cuttriss.

 

 


Alan George Cuttriss, DFC, 410634 RAAF, posited to 462 Squadron August to December 1944.
Alan George Cuttriss, DFC, 410634 RAAF, Pilot.
Photo supplied by and used with the permission of
Sally-Ann Cuttriss, daughter of Alan George Cuttriss.

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John Robert Gibson, 423454 RAAF at enlistment, 30 June 1942, later posted to 462 Squadron RAAF, Driffield. AC2 John Robert Gibson, 423454 RAAF, 10 October 1942, later posted to 462 Squadron RAAF, Driffield.

Left: John Robert Gibson, 423454 RAAF, still in civilian clothes,
at enlistment, 30 June 1942.
Right: AC2 John Robert Gibson, 423454 RAAF, 10 October 1942.
Photos from the National Archives of Australia, A9301, 423454.

 

 

Bomb Aimer

Name: John Robert Gibson
(Known as Hoot or Shaggy Dog)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 423454
Date of Birth: 15 August 1920
Place of Birth: South Yarra, Victoria
Date of Enlistment: 30 June 1942
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, NSW
Next of Kin: Robert Gibson
Date of Discharge: 6 November 1945
Rank at Discharge: Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge: 462 Squadron
WW2 Honours and Gallantry: Distinguished Flying Medal

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Keith Thomas Clarke, 422421 RAAF, at enlistment in May 1942, later posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield.
Photo from the National Archives of Australia, A9300, 422421.

Keith Thomas Clarke, 422421 RAAF, at enlistment on 22 May 1942, aged 19 years and 5 months.

 

Navigator

Name: Keith Thomas Clarke
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 422421
Date of Birth: 3 December 1922
Place of Birth: Auburn, New South Wales
Date of Enlistment: 22 May 1942
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, NSW
Next of Kin: Lilian Clarke
Date of Discharge: 14 December 1945
Rank at Discharge: Flying Officer
Posting at Discharge: ACSEA

 

 

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William Edward Dyer 427638 RAAF at enlistment in August 1942, later posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield.

Photos from the National Archives of Australia, A9301, 427638.

Sgt William Edward Dyer 427638 RAAF, later posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield.

 

Mid-Upper Gunner

Name: William Edward Dyer
(Known as Ted)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 427638
Date of Birth: 4 October 1921
Place of Birth: Northam, Western Australia
Date of Enlistment: 16 August 1942
Place of Enlistment: Perth, Western Australia
Next of Kin: William Dyer
Date of Discharge: 18 September 1945
Rank at Discharge: Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge: 1651 Communications Unit

 

 

Photo at left, above: William Edward Dyer 427638 RAAF, aged 20 years and 10 months, at enlistment on 16 August 1942, No 4 Recruiting Centre, Perth, Western Australia. He had previously served in the 25th M. G. Light Horse (2 months), and H.Q. Coy., 11th Battalion Home Forces (Service No. W1855), and had been discharged from the Army for enlistment in the RAAF. He appears to be wearing Army uniform.

 

Photo at left, below: Sgt William Edward Dyer 427638 RAAF, from his RAAF Service File; undated, location not recorded, but envelope marked as Sgt Dyer, so later than 16 September 1943 but before 16 March 1944 when he was promoted to F/Sgt.

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Leo Kevin Rahaley, 434116 RAAF, at enlistment in November 1942, later posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield.

Photos from the National Archives of Australia, A9301, 434116.

Leo Kevin Rahaley, 434116 RAAF, during training, later posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield.

 

 

Rear Gunner

Name: Leo Kevin Rahaley
(Known as Shooftee or Shoofti)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 434116
Date of Birth: 17 July 1913
Place of Birth: Melbourne, Victoria
Date of Enlistment: 3 November 1942
Place of Enlistment: Melbourne, Victoria
Next of Kin: Mona Rahaley
Date of Discharge: 11 October 1945
Rank at Discharge: Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge: 1654 Conversion Unit

 

Photo at left, above: Leo Kevin Rahaley, RAAF, aged 29 years, at enlistment on 03 November 1942, No 1 Recruiting Centre, Melbourne, Victoria. He had previously served in the 2nd/6th Coy, ASC, AIF from May 1940 to 2 Nov 1942, and had been discharged from the Army at the rank of Lance Corporal (Sce No VX18411) for enlistment in the RAAF. He appears to be wearing Army uniform, with the Rising Sun badge visible on his collar.

 

Photo at left, below: William Edward Dyer 427638 RAAF, undated, location not recorded, but with name tag in view, probably during his early training in late 1942 or early 1943.

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Wireless Operator

Name: John Daniel Trowbridge
(Known as Joe)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 417321
Date of Birth: 28 February 1923
Place of Birth: Lameroo, South Australia
Date of Enlistment: 28 March 1942
Place of Enlistment: Adelaide, South Australia
Next of Kin: Edgar Trowbridge
Date of Discharge: 17 December 1945
Rank at Discharge: Flying Officer
Posting at Discharge: 467 Squadron

Three negatives exist in the RAAF Service File for John Trowbridge, however attempts to create photos from them have not been successful.

 

If you can assist with photos or information on W/OP Trowbridge or F/Eng Hall, please make contact.

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Flight Engineer
Information from Veterans UK Ministry of Defence Roll of Honour,
( http://www.veterans-uk.info/afm2/index.php )

Name: Dudley George Hall
(Known as Nobby)
Service: Royal Air Force
Service Number: 525537
Date of Birth: 26 June 1917

Date of Death: 01 July 1951
RAF Rank at Death: Flight Sergeant
Age at Death: 34
Station at Death: RAF Coningsby
Cemetery Name: Bournemouth Crematorium
Not included on Armed Forces Memorial
Included on Roll of Honour

From the Cuttriss family – Dudley George Hall, an Englishman, remained in the RAF after the war, until his untimely death in 1951. He was killed in a motorcycle accident, when he crashed into a tree while riding down a country lane. Prior to WW2, he was a clerk, and his nickname Nobby came from the bump on his finger caused by his frequent clerical writing.
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Crew information summary.

Pilot Alan George Cuttriss was posted to 27 Operational Training Unit (OTU) on 23 November 1943. Crews usually formed at an OTU, and at 27 OTU they trained in Wellington bombers. Cuttriss was posted to No 41 Base on 11 April 1944, then to 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit Marston Moor on 28 April 1944. At 1652 HCU they trained in Halifax bombers, and a Flight Engineer joined the Crew. The crew was posted to 466 Squadron on 8 June 1944.

Cuttriss Crew 127 of 466 Squadron, Driffield, later posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield.

With reference to "Brave & True" page 137 as above, details for their posting to 466 Squadron, Driffield, were as follows:-

466 Squadron: Crew No. 127
Aircraft: Halifax
Captain: P/O Cuttriss A G
B/A F/Sgt Gibson J R
Nav F/Sgt Clarke K T
W/AG F/Sgt Trowbridge J D
R/G F/Sgt Rahaley L K
M/U/G Sgt Dyer W E
F/E Sgt Hall D G, Sgt Mackay P G
Operations: 1st Op as 2nd Pilot with another crew (Ref: Cuttriss' logbook); plus 24 Bombing Ops with his usual crew; Total for Cuttriss 25 Ops at 466 Squadron.
Notes: Transferred to 462 Squadron; Cuttriss awarded DFC; Gibson awarded DFM. Cuttriss and Clarke were posted to transport duties with 96 Squadron in Egypt, India and Bengal. Crew No.7 in 462 Squadron.

On 20 August 1944, Cuttriss and his crew (with Flight Engineer D G Hall) were posted to the newly reformed 462 Squadron, also based at Driffield. Here the crew completed a further 13 Ops, with two early returns (27 August, 25 October) and one recall (21 Oct) not counted in their Op tally. On 20 December 1944, Cuttriss was posted to HQ, 43 Base, having completed a Tour of 38 Ops. Further information is listed in his Service History in the following section.

In February 1945 at Manchester, Pilot Alan Cuttriss was Best Man at the wedding of his Navigator Keith Clarke to Lilian Hall. W/Op Joe Trowbridge, MU/AG Ted Dyer, and R/AG Kevin Rahaley also attended, as did other former associates from 466 and 462 Squadrons (photo shown previously).

Both Cuttriss and Gibson received Awards in February 1945 Cuttriss a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Gibson a Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM). The Citation for Cuttriss reads that his was awarded for his actions during an attack on a Synthetic Oil Plant at Gelsenkirchen in September 1944. From the 462 Squadron Operation Record Book, this took place on 12 September 1944. Gibson's DFM was awarded for his actions during the same Op, when he was temporarily blinded due to his injuries.

Cuttriss DFC – London Gazette, Issue 36942, 13 Feb 1945, Supplement  16 Feb 1945, page 933.

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE.
Distinguished Flying Cross.
Acting Flight Lieutenants.
Alan George CUTTRISS (Aus.410634), 462 (R.A.A.F.) Sqn.

Gibson DFM – London Gazette, Issue 36942, 13 Feb 1945, Supplement  16 Feb 1945, page 934.

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE.
Distinguished Flying Medal.
Flight Sergeants.
Aus.423454 John Robert GIBSON, 462 (R.A.A.F.) Sqn.

Transcriptions of both Citations are have been included in a later section.

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Service History for Alan George Cuttriss, 410634 RAAF
(Reference: NAA Service File, dates in document may vary by 1 or 2 days for the same event.)

22 August 1941 – Enrolled in RAAF Reserve at No. 1 Recruiting Centre (1 RC), Melbourne, Victoria; aged 18 years 4 months, born 16 April 1923 at Geelong, Victoria; former occupation as Junior Technical Assistant at Aircraft Productions Ltd., Port Melbourne; height 5 ft 6½in, weight 9 st. 5 lb., vision 6/6; Medical Classification A1B.A3B; Next of kin Arthur Leslie Cuttriss, his father.

31 January 1942 – Enlistment in RAAF, and Attestation at 1 RC; aged 18 years & 9 months; allocated to Air Crew V; classification Aircraftman 2 (AC2); posted to No. 1 Initial Training School (1 ITS), Somers, Victoria.
24 April 1942 – Remustered to Aircrew V (P).

23 May 1942 – Remustered to Aircrew II (P); promoted to Leading Aircraftman (LAC).
07 June 1942 – Posted to No. 11 Elementary Flying Training School (11 EFTS), Benalla, Victoria; flying Tiger Moth aircraft (total 54hrs 10m).

08 September 1942 – to 21 Sept 1942, temporary attachment to No. 7 Service Flying Training School (7 SFTS).

20 December 1942 – Posted to 6 SFTS, Mallala, South Australia; flying Anson aircraft (total 135hrs 20m).

06 April 1943 – Completed Course 29 (P), and received Flying Badge at 6 SFTS.
08 April 1943 – Remustered to Airman Pilot; promoted to Sergeant (T); on pre-embarkation leave from 9th to 17 April.
17 April 1943 – Posted to No. 4 Embarkation Depot (4 ED), Mitcham, South Australia.
26 April 1943 – Posted to 2 ED, Bradfield Park, Sydney, NSW.

05 May 1943 – Embarked at Brisbane for the UK.
07 July 1943 – Disembarked in UK and posted to No. 11 Personnel Despatch & Reception Centre (11 PDRC) Brighton UK; Attached to RAF.

17 August 1943 – Posted to 20 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit (20 (P) AFU); completed Advanced Flying Course No. 23 on 23 November 1943; flying Oxford aircraft (total 72hrs 45m).

21 September 1943 – 7 day B.A.T. Special Course 1515, UK, flying Oxford aircraft (total 11hrs).

08 October 1943 – Promoted to Flight Sergeant (T).

23 November 1943 – Posted to 27 Operational Training Unit (27 OTU), Lichfield UK; flying Wellington Bombers (total 89hrs 55m).

17 February 1944 – Commission granted.
18 February 1944 – Promotion to Pilot Officer (P O).

11 April 1944 – Posted to No. 41 Base; and on 12 April attached to No. 4 Group.
28 April 1944 – Posted to 41 Base, 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit (1652 HCU), Marston Moor, Yorkshire; flying Halifax II (total 44hrs 20m).

08 June 1944 – Posted to 466 Squadron, Driffield, Yorkshire; flying Halifax III (25 sorties, 104hrs 30m).
26 June 1944 – Acting Flying Officer.

18 Aug 1944 – Promoted to Flying Officer.
20 Aug 1944 – Posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield, Yorkshire; flying Halifax III (13 sorties, 74hrs).

28 September 1944 – Acting Flight Lieutenant, 462 Squadron; rank relinquished on 20 December 1945, on departure from 462 Squadron.

20 December 1944 – Posted to HQ 43 Base, having completed 38 Operational sorties.
10 January 1945 – Posted to 96 Squadron, UK; flying Halifax III (total 12hrs 15m, instructional).
30 January 1945 – Confidential Report on "Posting to Transport", Rank FO; age 21 years 9 months.

16 February 1945 – Award of Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).
February 1945 – Best Man at Wedding of Navigator Keith Clarke to Lilian Hall in Manchester (photo shown previously).

08 March 1945 – Medical examination and inoculation for T.A.B. at RAF Station Leconfield, Yorkshire.

27 March 1945 – Posted to Middle East, 96 Squadron, Egypt, flying Dakota aircraft (total 68hrs 30m, instructional); further vaccination on 30 March 1945.
06 May 1945 – Posted to Air Command South East Asia (ACSEA), 96 Squadron.
01 July 1945 – Posted to RAF, Bhopal, India; flying Dakota aircraft (total 38hrs 30m, instructional).

25 October 1945 – Disembarked Melbourne ex overseas, after repatriation; (also recorded as Adelaide, 27 October 1945); posted to 1 Personnel Depot (1 PD).

04 January 1946 – Appointment terminated on Demobilisation.
14 March 1945 – received Airman's Certificate of Service & Discharge, and Officer's Certificate of Service No. 15175, dated 21 February 1946.

Character and Trade Proficiency – LAC, Sgt and F/Sgt all assessed as "Very Good".
General Conduct Sheet – all certified "No Entry" except for one entry on 26 July 1942. While posted to 11 EFTS, Benalla, LAC Cuttriss was Absent Without Leave (AWL) from 2359 on 25th, to 2000 on 26th July, a total of 19 hours and 59 minutes. On 28 July 1942, he was sentenced to 168 hours detention and forfeiture of 8 days pay (1 days pay while AWL, and 7 days pay while in detention) which seems to be a rather severe punishment. However this did not appear to affect his later promotions through the ranks to F/Sgt, nor did it prevent his Commission and promotions to PO, FO, and later Acting Flight Lieutenant.
Service Conduct Sheet – all certified "No Entry" except for the previously mentioned AWL.

Aircraft flown – Tiger Moth, Wackett Trainer; Avro Anson, Oxford, Wellington III, Halifax II and III (most proficiency in Halifax III), Dakota.
Operational sorties – total 38 (25 at 466 Squadron and 13 at 462 Squadron).

Medals & Awards – Distinguished Flying Cross; 1939-1945 Star; France & Germany Star; Defence Medal; and eligible for Returned from Active Service Badge.

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Crew Ops at 466 Squadron – transcribed from "Brave & True", 2nd Ed'n (pages 95 and 137), target names as recorded there.
Dates – e.g. 12/13, they departed in the evening of the 12th, and returned in the early hours of the 13th (and so on for other dates).
Two columns with Aircraft Serial and Aircraft Code HD-.. have been transcribed from Alan Cuttriss's log book. Because the log book was available, the additional training or non-Op flights at 466 and 462 Squadron have been included in the tables below. From Cuttriss's RAAF Service File, he was posted to 466 Squadron on 8 June 1944 from 1652 HCU, Marston Moor, Yorkshire, presumably with his usual crew.
Black – day flights or Ops; Red – night flights or Ops.

Total Ops for Cuttriss at 466 Squadron – 25; crew members Ops – 24, unless they each had a 'catch-up' Op with another crew.

Crew
Op
466 Sqdn
Op Number
Date Target
(as written)
Log Book a/c Serial Log Book Code HD-
   

10 June 1944

1. Training with crew, circuits and landings, with F/Lt Black;
2. Training with crew, circuits and landings
 

X

X

    11 June 1944 Training with crew, circuits and landings   M
1 B91 12/13 June 1944 St Roch (Amiens); Cuttriss as 2nd pilot for P/O Sargant & crew; HX266 T
    13 June 1944 Training with crew, cross country   Y
2 B92 14/15 June 1944 Evrecy MZ296 R
3 B94 17/18 June 1944 St Martin L'Hortier   X
4 B96 23/24 June 1944 Oisemont Neuville-au-Bois   Q
5 B97 24/25 June 1944 Le Grand Rossignol   V
6 B98 27 June 1944 Marquise-Mimoyecques   V
7 B99 28 June 1944 Wizernes   Q
8 B100 30 June 1944 Villers Bocage MZ296 L
9 B102 04 July 1944 Domleger HX266 J
10 B103 06 July 1944 Marquise-Mimoyecques   O
11 B105 12/13 July 1944 Ferme du Forestel MZ296 L
    14 July 1944 Training with crew, air test   M
12 B107 17 July 1944 Bois de la Haye   P
13 B109 18 July 1944 Paris (Vaires Rail Marshalling Yards) HX266 J
14 B110 20/21 July 1944 Ardouval   M
    21 July 1944 Driffield Base to Carnaby to Driffield Base   N
    24 July 1944 Training with crew, Fighter affiliation   Y
15 B114 25/26 July 1944 Wanne Eickel (Oil Refinery)   W
16 B115 28 July 1944 Foret de Nieppe HX266 J
17 B121 06 August 1944 Foret de Nieppe HX266 J
18 B122 07/08 August 1944 Battle Area 3 (May-Sur-Orne) HX266 J
    08 August 1944 Long Marston to Driffield Base HX266 J
19 B123 09 August 1944 Coquereaux HX266 J
20 B124 10/11 August 1944

Dijon (Rail Marshalling Yards)

HX266 J
21 B125 11 August 1944 Etaples (Railway Bridge) HX266 J
    12 August 1944 Training with crew, air test HX266 J
22 B126 12/13 August 1944 Brunswick; one Fighter destroyed by Mid-Upper Gunner F/Sgt Dyer HX266 J
23 B128 15 August 1944 Eindhoven Airfield
HX266 J-Johnny – 60th Op at 466 Squadron
HX266 J
24 B129 16/17 August 1944 Kiel   W
25 B130 18/19 August 1944 Sterkrade (Oil Refinery) MZ296 L

On 13 June HX266 was still coded HD-T; by 04 July it had been re-coded as HD-J.
On 15 June MZ296 was coded HD-R; by 30 June it had been re-coded as HD-L.
Photos of MZ296 re-coded Z5-L, after it was transferred to 462 Squadron – see Thomas Crew 6, and Halifax pages.
This must have been significant at the time, as those two are the only aircraft that Pilot Cuttriss has recorded both serial and code.

On the 20 August the Crew was posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield, with their first Op there on 25 August 1944.
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Crew Ops at 462 Squadron – sourced from the 462 Squadron ORB; additional information transcribed from Alan Cuttriss's log book.

The following table lists the Ops for Cuttriss and his crew at 462 Sqdn – with early returns; missions abandoned by Master Bomber; a recall; landings away; and a serious eye injury to Bomb Aimer Gibson.
These 13 Ops at 462 Squadron brought Cuttriss's total Op tally to 38.
Training and non-Op flights are included from the log book. These are not usually listed in the ORB.

Date Op No A/c Serial Code Z5- Up Down Target Op Type Comments
25/08/1944 26 LW955 M

1822

2156 Watten (1 of 9 aircraft tasked from 462 Sqdn) Bombing

Logged as day flight

27/08/1944 27 LW955 M 1132 1203 Homberg (1 of 10) Bombing Early return after ~35 minutes; Port Outer engine seized, prop and reduction gear sheared, landed at Carnaby; Mid-upper Gunner baled out at Flamborough Head and landed safely.
31/08/1944 27 MZ341 G 1259 1559 La Pourchinte (1 of 8) Bombing Mission abandoned by Master Bomber; bombs jettisoned; coring in oil cooler of Port Outer Engine.
(ORB as LL611)
03/09/1944 28 MZ306 K 1546 1938 Soesterberg (1 of 10) Bombing

Landed away after diverted to Mildenhall

04/09/1944   MZ306 K Day Day     Mildenhall to Driffield Base
08/09/1944   NA521 H Day Day     Circuit and landing with Nelder and his crew
09/09/1944 29 MZ400 J 0624 0917 Le Havre (1 of 12) Bombing

2nd Pilot Nelder; mission abandoned; bombs jettisoned except for 1x1000 which hung-up due to icing; Port Outer engine unserviceable; landed away at Manston
(ORB as NZ400, landing at Woodbridge)

09/09/1944   MZ400 J Day Day     2nd Pilot Nelder; Manston to Driffield Base
11/09/1944 30 MZ400 J 0613 1022 Le Havre (1 of 11) Bombing Mission abandoned, jettisoned 5 bombs at sea, remainder brought back (ORB target as Cadillac)
12/09/1944 31 MZ306 K 1036 1526

Gelsenkirchen (1 of 16)

Bombing

Bomb Aimer injured in eye; DFC to Pilot and DFM to Bomb Aimer for actions on this Op

18/09/1944   LW440 B Day Day     Air to sea firing
23/09/1944   LK786 O Day Day     Local flying
26/09/1944 32 MZ400 J 0812 1213 Calais (Cap Gris Nez)
(1 of 13)
Bombing  
27/09/1944   HX266 J Day Day    

Bomb load climb; with 2nd Pilot Gilbert and his crew; & F/Eng Hall of Cuttriss crew

30/09/1944   ? P Day Day     2nd Pilot Wilson and his crew, & Cuttriss crew; to Bovington
30/09/1944   ? P Day Day     Cuttriss crew, Bovington to Driffield Base
14/10/1944 33 MZ429 F 0619 1125 Duisburg (1 of 14) Bombing (In ORB as NP989)
15/10/1944 34 MZ306 K

0034
Night

0634
Night
Duisburg (1 of 13) Bombing  
17/10/1944   MZ429 F Day Day     2nd Pilot Mitchell and mixed crew, D.N.C.O., weather U/S; bombing and Air to sea firing
19/10/1944     M Day Day     2nd Pilot Wilson and mixed crew, air to sea firing
21/10/1944 35 MZ306 K 1629 1900 Hanover (1 of 7) Bombing Recalled after 2 hr 30 m; bombs jettisoned in sea
23/10/1944 35 MZ306 K 1635 2120 Essen (1 of 16) Bombing Landed away, at Woodbridge short of fuel
24/10/1944   MZ306 K Day Day     Woodbridge to Driffield Base; oil pressure gauge U/S; feathered Starboard Inner engine
25/10/1944 36 MZ467 C 1239 1330 Essen (1 of 16) Bombing Early return after 50 m; Port Inner engine feathered owing to surging
26/10/1944   MZ429 F Day Day     Fighter Affiliation
28/10/1944 36 MZ402 V 1000 1330 Oostkapelle (1 of 13) Bombing  
29/10/1944 37 MZ461 O 1012 1354 Domberg (Westkapelle, 1 of 16) Bombing 2nd Pilot Langworthy
30/10/1944 38 MZ461 O 1736 2358 Cologne (1 of 13) Bombing 4 bombs brought back
15/11/1944   NA147   Day Day     Air Test, with crew

Due to his eye injury, Gibson was posted from 462 Squadron as Non Effective Sick on 14 September 1944. Rahaley and Dyer were posted out in November 1944; Cuttriss on 20 December 1944, and Clarke probably on the same date in December 1944. The postings from 462 Squadron of the other members of the crew were not listed in the ORB. Cuttriss and Clarke were later posted to transport duties with 96 Squadron in Egypt, India and Bengal (source "Brave and True".)

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The following was written from a conversation Alan Cuttriss had with his daughter Sally-Ann in 1988. It was supplied by Sally-Ann Cuttriss on 6 May 2014, and reproduced here unchanged, with her permission. It has also been published elsewhere, but without exclusive rights. It is hoped that those who read this story may understand the hardship the aircrews faced.
From the Squadron Operations Record Book, Form 541, pages 32 to 39, 12 September 1944, daylight "Bombing attack on Gelsenkirchen, in the Ruhr. 16 Aircraft detailed and became airborne, all attacked the target and returned safely. No cloud in the Target Area, but haze and much smoke. No enemy fighters but H/Flak in Target Area was intense in barrage form and accurate predicted. 14 aircraft were damaged."
Cuttriss and Crew in Halifax III MZ306, Z5-K, up at 1036, down at 1526, Bombed Primary from 18,000 ft at 1336 Hours; Photographic Report – 3½ miles s.s.w. of A/P.

The entry in Alan's logbook for 12 September 1944 is brief Op 31, Halifax K, Pilot Self (Cuttriss) and crew, Target Gelsenkirchen, Bomb Aimer injured in eye, flight time 4:30.

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (OR FORGET)!

 12 SEPTEMBER 1944 

“At this time I was flying a Halifax Mark III with 462 Squadron based at Driffield in Yorkshire. On the night of 12 September 1944 we took off from the airfield in our aircraft for the night, “K”, heading for Gelsenkirchen, being unfortunately hit by flak en route. A reasonable sized piece cut through the intercom lead leaving no communication with the crew. It passed my leg (I thought my leg must have been hit as I could feel “blood” filling my boot but as it turned out it was only perspiration!), through to the armour plating at the back of my seat bouncing back and hitting the metal harness plate which gave me a tremendous thump to the base of my spine, at which point if I had not been strapped in I would have jumped a “mile”. I kept that “lucky” piece of shrapnel for quite a number of years until it finally disappeared."

"The bomb aimer (John “Hoot” Gibson) was at the same time hit in the eye, both he & I hit the emergency bomb release at the same time. The photo which was taken as bombs released showed a nearby refinery. We were by this stage off course but we headed back to where we had come from by following other bombers. I had to communicate with the crew but as there was no switch on the emergency intercom I eventually plugged in to the bomb aimers intercom on my right. I checked to see if he needed any morphine for the pain in his eye but he said that he was “alright”."

"We now set course to return to Driffield as the bomb aimer said he wanted to go back there rather than have an emergency landing at an unknown airfield. As we approached we had to identify ourselves before landing and had great difficulty in getting our urgency through to the ground, the returning planes from the other squadron based at Driffield, 466, were landing first so I asked for an ambulance for the bomb aimer, turned off the intercom and finally landed. Half way along the runway a tyre burst stranding us and blocking the runway! No ambulance was waiting but finally it arrived taking the bomb aimer to hospital where they gave him a 50/50 chance, he survived but unfortunately lost his eye."

"On checking the plane after landing it had over 280 holes in it from all different sized flak. The ground crew also drew a line through the plane from the bomb aimer’s position to the other side of the aircraft and had the navigator been sitting upright in his seat instead of bending over his charts the piece of flak which hit the bomb aimer would have also hit the navigator going right through his head.”

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Publications – log book extras and Newspaper clippings relating to this crew.

The wording of the first of the following two pages from the Log Book used by Pilot Alan George Cuttriss, is very similar to the Press reports later published in many newspapers across Australia. The wording on the second page is very similar to the press reports of the fighter claim by Dyer, and Citations for the DFC awarded to Cuttriss and the DFM awarded to Gibson.

Halifax HX266 HD-J "Johnny"; Alan George Cuttriss, log book; 466 Squadron, later 462 Squadron.

Above: Log Book insertion – Halifax HX266 HD-J Johnny, 60 Ops, and flown regularly by Cuttriss and crew.

Halifax HX266 HD-J "Johnny"; Alan George Cuttriss, William Edward Dyer, John Robert Gibson; 466 Squadron, later 462 Squadron.

Above: Log Book insertion – Fighter Combat claim by Mid Upper Gunner William Edward Dyer; and draft Citations for DFC awarded to Pilot Alan George Cuttriss, and DFM awarded to Bomb Aimer John Robert Gibson.

 

Alan George Cuttriss and William Edward Dyer, combat claim, 12 August 1944, at 466 Squadron, crew later posted to 462 Squadron. Alan George Cuttriss and Halifax HX266 HD-J "Johnny", 466 Squadron 1944, crew later posted to 462 Squadron.

Above left: Press report of night fighter claim by Mid Upper Gunner F/Sgt William Edward Dyer, on Op 22 to Brunswick, in Halifax HX266 HD-J Johnny, on 12 August 1944, 466 Squadron.

Above left: Press report of Halifax HX266 HD-J Johnny, 466 Squadron, after it had made 60 Ops, with Alan George Cuttriss and crew taking it on as their regular aircraft for Ops, after it had reached Op 40.

 

Alan George Cuttriss and William Edward Dyer, combat claim, 12 August 1944, one of four in a week by crews of 466 Squadron; Cuttriss & crew later posted to 462 Squadron.

Above: Press report of night fighter claim by Mid Upper Gunner F/Sgt William Edward Dyer, on the Crews Op 22 to Brunswick, in Halifax HX266 HD-J Johnny, on 12 August 1944, 466 Squadron. It was one of four night fighter claims by Gunners of crews in 466 Squadron in one week.
The other three claims were by Rear Gunner N F Robinson and Pilot T J Kenyon; R/AG M McL Wilson and MU/AG J M Vivash and Pilot J B Herman; and R/AG Stafford and Pilot Jackson.
During their posting at 466 Squadron, Kenyon and crew including Robinson were later KIA, their F/Eng the sole survivor; Herman and Wilson were later PoWs, with a third survivor and 4 of their crew killed; and the Jackson Crew was posted to 462 Squadron as Crew 14.

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Citations for Awards (transcribed from NAA Service Files)
Cuttriss – Distinguished Flying Cross (as written with error in name)

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE

HONOURS AND AWARDS

DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS

FLIGHT LIEUTENANT ALAN GEORGE CUTTRIS (410634)

CITATION:

Throughout his entire tour Flight Lieutenant
Cuttris has always shown courage, determination and devotion
to duty.

In September, 1944, he was detailed to attack
a synthetic oil plant at Gelsenkirchen. On approaching the
target the aircraft was engaged by intense anti-aircraft
fire. His aircraft was hit and suffered extensive damage,
the communication system being rendered unserviceable.

Regardless of the risk of flying the aircraft
through such formidable opposition Flight Lieutenant Cuttris
pressed home a successful attack.

Gibson – Distinguished Flying Medal

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE

HONOURS AND AWARDS

DISTINGUISHED FLYING MEDAL

FLIGHT SERGEANT JOHN ROBERT GIBSON (423454)

CITATION:

Flight Sergeant Gibson has participated in
a number of sorties against a wide range of targets
and has always shown outstanding coolness in the face
of danger, and determination and devotion to duty
which have set an excellent example to all.

In September, 1944, his aircraft was one
of a small force detailed to attack a synthetic oil
plant at Gelsenkirchen in daylight. There was no
cloud cover and intense anti-aircraft opposition was most
intense on their approach to the target.

His aircraft was damaged and he was wounded
and temporarily blinded. Although in great pain, he
continued at his allotted task.

This airman's magnificent courage and fortitude
were worthy of the highest praise.

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Gibson sustained a penetrating injury to his left eye caused by shattered perspex. He was posted Non Effective Sick to HQ No. 43 Base on 14 September 1944. He had been admitted to the RAF Hospital Northallerton, North Yorkshire, and was hospitalised from 13 September 1944 to 4 November 1944. He was then on Sick Leave from 5 November 1944 to 2 December 1944. He was also admitted to RAF Hospital, Rauceby, Lincolnshire, from 4 February 1945 until 1 March 1945. Because he had already completed 30 operational sorties, his Repatriation to Australia was to be effected on Medical grounds, retaining his present rank, aircrew status and flying badge. He disembarked in Sydney from the UK on 23 May 1945, but was further hospitalised. He was demobilised on 6 November 1945.
Unfortunately he lost his eye.
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