PILOT OFFICER John Patrick Quane DFC
SLC Old Boy: 1933
Service Number: 425357
Date of Birth: 4 February 1915
Date of Enlistment: 1 February 1942
Rank: Pilot Officer
Unit: No. 408 Squadron (RCAF)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945
Award: Distinguished Flying Cross
Award Citation: Skill and fortitude in operations against the enemy.
Date of Commonwealth of Australia Gazette: 23 November 1944
Location in Commonwealth of Australia Gazette: Page 2609, position 79
Date of London Gazette: 17 November 1944
Location in London Gazette: Page 5285, position 15
Photo: The Distinguished Flying Cross
Biography of PILOT OFFICER John Patrick Quane DFC
Photo: PILOT OFFICER John Patrick Quane DFC with his crew.
In 1941 Jack enlisted in the RAAF and after initial training in 1942 sailed on the Mauretania from Sydney to San Francisco and then onto Canada for 6 weeks training as a navigator. After six months further training his crew was deployed to Britain as part of bomber command.
His Lancaster bomber “Lady be Good” was part of the exceptional 408 “Goose” Squadron.
Of the thirteen crews on his training course, Jack’s crew was the only one to finish safely. As well of all those crews operating over Christmas in 1943-44, eighty per cent were killed by Easter.
Jack recalled, “Survival depended on team work, determination and a degree of luck”. Jack had all three. The worst losses were over Nuremburg. He recalled, “One bomber on the starboard side was shot down, then one on the port side and one directly in front, all at the same time. I logged thirty-seven shot down and stopped because I did not believe it. I think we must have been at the tail end of the attack. There was so much firing that we could smell the cordite in the air. The number lost was nearly one hundred.”
But his worst flight was to Friedfichshafen. “We dropped our bombs and one of our own dropped their incendiaries on us. Of course the incendiaries exploded and started fires. Fortunately the fires burnt aft of the main cabin. The mid-under gunner went to work to put out the fires. One incendiary landed in the bomber’s compartment to ricochet around without exploding. On four occasions, we landed just over the Channel and we were lucky not to have to ditch in the water.”
Jack was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944. After service in the RAF Squadron 243 flying Dakotas in the Pacific, Jack was discharged in 1946 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.
(Source: Lauries Inspirations Volume 2)Next