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FLIGHT SERGEANT Francis Colin Gordon

SLC Old Boy: 1938

Service Number: 405047

Date of Birth: 18 April 1920

Date of Enlistment: 6 January 1941

Rank: Flight Sergeant

Unit: No. 22 Squadron

Service: Royal Australian Air Force

Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Date of death: 09 February 1943

Place of death: New Guinea

Cause of death: Flying Battle

Cemetery or memorial details: Port Moresby Memorial, Port Moresby, Papua, Papua New Guinea

Source: AWM148 Roll of Honour cards, 1939-1945 War, Air Force

Location on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial

Francis Colin Gordon’s name is located at panel 101 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial (as indicated by the poppy on the plan).




History of No. 22 Squadron RAAF

F/SGT Francis Gordon served in No. 22 Squadron which was one of a number of Australian squadrons that fought the Japanese in the Pacific in World War II. He was killed in action on 9 February 1943. The following is the story of the squadron.

No. 22 Squadron’s first assignments of the Second World War were as a training unit covering army support and towing targets for anti-aircraft practice. In 1941 the unit was equipped with Anson and Wirraway aircraft and flew seaward patrols along the eastern seaboard. By November 1942 the unit had moved to Port Moresby in New Guinea and was equipped with Boston light bombers and Beaufighters. The squadron attacked enemy targets and shipping in the Buna-Gona area. During an attack on the foreshores of Salamaua, Flight Lieutenant W.E. Newton and his crew were shot down and forced to land at sea. Newton and Flight Sergeant Lyon swam ashore only to be captured by waiting Japanese troops. They were both killed on 29 March 1943. Newton received a posthumous award of the Victoria Cross for his attacks on Japanese positions, making him one of only two awarded to RAAF Squadron members.

In August 1943, the squadron moved to Goodenough Island and continued to search for Japanese barges and vessels used in increasing numbers to supply troops in New Guinea. The unit moved briefly to Noemfoor airfield in August 1944 and bombed targets on Ambon Island and Suli village in preparation for the Allied attacks on Sansapor and Morotai before relocating to Morotai to assist in the attacks on Japanese targets in the Celebes and the Philippines.

Japanese defences and counter-attacks left the squadron with so few serviceable aircraft that it was forced to move to Noemfoor to rearm for operations with Beaufighters under the control of 1st Tactical Air Force. Aircraft used rockets to destroy radio and radar stations, supply dumps, and attack troop concentrations and enemy shipping.

The unit moved, yet again, to the Southern Philippines to support attacks on Tarakan and also Australian landings at Labuan and Brunei Bay. In June 1945 22 Squadron returned to Moratai until the end of the war, when it moved to Deniliquin in New South Wales before being disbanded on 15 August 1946.




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