Colin Lindsay Ottaway DFC

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Colin Lindsay Ottaway DFC
Ottaway Colin Lindsay.jpg
At brother Maxwell's wedding in 1941. In 16th (Cameroon Highlanders) Battalion kit.
Ottaway Colin Lindsay 1.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 2 Nov 1923
Place of Birth Bedfordale, Western Australia
Death 29 Aug 1996, aged 72
Place of Death Safety Bay, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 17 years, 1 month
Description 5'10" (1.78m) tall ; 140lbs
63.503 kg
; fresh complexion ; blue eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Clerk
Religion Church of England
Address Mount Lawley, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Kenneth Ottaway
Military Information
Reg Number W8865 & 427543
Date of Enlistment 16 Dec 1940 (CMF) 19 Jul 1942 (RAAF)
Rank Private & Flying Officer
Unit/Formation 16th Australian Infantry Battalion (Cameron Highlanders Regiment) & No. 635 Squadron RAF
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 15 Jun 1943 ‒ 31 Jul 1943
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 2 Jul 1945 ‒ 8 Aug 1945
Transport Details SS Matsonia UK to Fremantle
Post War Details
Fate Returned to Australia
Medals Distinguished Flying Cross
1939-45 Star
France & Germany Star
Defence Medal
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

War Service

Colin's original enlistment was in the CMF, more specifically the 16th Australian Infantry Battalion (Cameron Highlanders Regiment) where he served from 16 Dec 1940 until his discharge on 17 Jan 1942. Six months later on 19 Jul 1942 he enlisted in the RAAF at the No. 4 RAAF Recruiting Centre and was mustered for General Duties. He was mustered as Air Crew level V. His first posting was to the No. 5 Initial Training School RAAF and there he was remustered on 8 Sep 1942 as Aircrew level V (Pilot) and on 10 Oct 1942 he was promoted to Leading Aircraftman. His next posting on 12 Nov 1943 was to the No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School RAAF at Cunderdin before moving on 18 Jan 1943 to the No. 4 Service Flying Training School RAAF at Geraldton to join the No. 36 Pilot Course. On 6 May 1943 Colin received his Flying Badge and was re mustered as Airman Pilot with the rank of Sergeant. On 15 May 1943 he was posted to the No. 5 Embarkation Depot RAAF in Subiaco who made arrangements that led to him joining the No. 1 Embarkation Depot RAAF in Ascot Vale, Victoria on 5 Jun 1943, and a Week later he arrived at the No. 2 Embarkation Depot RAAF at Bradfield Park in New South Wales.

On 16 Jun 1943, 19 year old Colin was one of a large draft of 336 RAAF personnel who sailed from Brisbane for San Francisco in the United States aboard the SS Matsonia, enroute to England. They arrived in the UK on 31 Jul 1943 having sailed via Auckland where a number of New Zealand Air Force personnel joined them. On 1 Aug 1943 he was with the No. 11 Personnel Despatch & Receiving Centre RAAF in the UK.

On 14 Sep 1943 Colin was posted to the No. 15 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit RAF at RAF Caistor which had the role to "acclimitise" newly arrived pilots to flying Airspeed Oxford aircraft in the local weather. Ready to join an operational squadron he was posted to HQ No. 50 Group where on 6 Nov 1943 he was promoted Temporary Flight Sergeant. Following a course at the No. 27 Operational Training Unit RAF which began on 14 Mar 1944 flying Vickers Wellington aircraft, Colin transferred to the No. 635 Squadron RAF which flew Avro Lancasters from RAF Downham Market, Norfolk. He arrived with them on 17 Apr 1944, and on 19 May 1944 he was gazetted as an Officer before attending the Air Crew School at No. 41 Base on 9 Jun 1944. On 17 Sep 1944 he was posted to a Pathfinder Squadron, No. 635 Squadron RAF, then flying Avro Lancaster aircraft from RAF Downham Market in Norfolk.

On 8 Aug 1945 Colin disembarked in Perth, and the same day he joined the No. 5 Personnel Depot RAAF Discharge Section, ahead of his discharge on 20 Nov 1945. His address then was 142 Walcott street, Mt Lawley.

Award Citation

"Flight Lieutenant Ottaway has completed numerous operations against the enemy in te couse of which he has invariably displyed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty." [1]

Post War

Colin's Distinguished Flying Cross was presented to him by the Lieutenant Governor of Western Australia at Government House Perth on 3 Jan 1947. During 1952 Colin married Valma Lorraine Henderson (1929 - 1968). They had a daughter. Valma died on 29 Nov 1968 aged 39 in Floreat Park.

During 1958 Colin and Valma enjoyed a cruise, arriving in Fremantle from Singapore on 10 May 1958 aboard MV Gorgon.

Electoral Roll entries: 1949 at 142 Walcott street, Maylands, Insurance agent; 1954 at 90 Bagot road, Subiaco, newsagent; 1958 - 1980 at 14 Dunblane road, Floreat Park, newsagent then representative and finally a clerk.


Colin appears to have given a false date of birth to join the Army, but corrected it on joining the RAAF as he was 18 by then.
He was also awarded the 'Pathfinder Force Badge'. (The Pathfinders, the RAF’s only elite Force, had a special emblem in the form of an eagle badge. The badge was worn on the left-hand-side breast pocket of the RAF uniform, under any decorations).


  1. Commonwealth of Australia Gazette 26 Jul 1945, page 1599, position 25 & London Gazette of 17 Jul 1945, page 3686, position 22.

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