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Gerard Henzell Straughan Hemy

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Gerard Henzell Straughan Hemy
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Personal Information
Date of Birth 5 Jan 1910
Place of Birth Perth, Western Australia
Death 22 Nov 1987 aged 77
Place of Death Mandurah, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 30 years, 10 months
Description 5'4½" (1.64m) tall ; 134lbs
60.781 kg
; medium complexion ; brown eyes ; dark brown hair
Occupation Farm hand
Religion Roman Catholic
Address Konnongorring, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Gwendoline Hester Hemy
Military Information
Reg Number 406455
Date of Enlistment 9 Dec 1940
Rank Flight lieutenant
Unit/Formation No. 458 Squadron RAAF
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 9 Sep 1941 ‒ 10 Oct 1941
Transport Details unknown ship Fremantle to Egypt
Transfers
Journey Dates December 1943
Transport Details Plane Tunisia to UK
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 10 Jul 1944 ‒ ? Jul 1944
Transport Details ship Liverpool to New York
Journey Dates 18 Aug 1944 ‒ 10 Oct 1944
Transport Details ship, draft TA129 New York to Brisbane
Post War Details
Fate Returned to Australia
Medals 1939-45 Star
Africa Star
Pacific Star ?
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45



Pre War

During 1935 Gerard married Gwendoline Hester Kidd. Gwen died in Thornlie on 12 Mar 1966, aged 57.

Electoral Roll entry: 1936 at 154 Vardon street, Kalgoorlie, agent.

War Service

Enlisted in the Commonwealth Air Force on 9 Dec 1940 as an Aircraftsman Grade II and sent to the No. 5 Initial Training School RAAF at Pearce. On 6 Feb 1941 he was posted to No. 1 Air Observers School RAAF at Cootamundra where he spent 30 hours in de Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide aircraft, and in April to No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School RAAF where he clocked up 10 hours in Fairey Battle aircraft. These were followed by him attending the No. 1 Air Navigation School RAAF in May 1941 where the aircraft were Avro Ansons (10 hours). He graduated as a Navigator and was awarded his Flying Badge on 26 Jul 1941. Gerard was posted to the No. 5 Embarkation Depot RAAF to await a ship on 5 Aug 1941. As a member of the Empire Training Scheme he was attached to the RAF from 9 Sep 1941, the day he embarked in Fremantle for the Middle East where he disembarked on 10 Oct 1941.


In Egypt in November 1941 Gerard was posted to the No. 70 Operational Training Unit RAF flying in Bristol Blenheims for 50 hours as an observer. One of the many flights ended with a forced landing without casualties. Training finished, he was placed in the Almaza Transit Camp until he was posted to No. 244 Squadron RAF in February 1942. At the time they were in what is now known as Iraq (Basra). On his arrival they were equipped with Vickers Vincent aircraft but soon after his arrival they were equipped with Bristol Blenheim aircraft for anti-submarine patrols. In May 1942 they moved to RAF Sharjah in what is now the UAE. Here the planes were spread out over three airfields. Gerard clocked up 100 hours in Vincents and Blenheims during 25 sorties.


Following a routine Medical in Heliopolis in November, Gerard was transferred in December to No. 458 Squadron RAAF which was based at El Shallufa in Egypt, conducting maritime patrols, convoy escorts and mine laying, while flying Wellington bombers. Gerard was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 25 Jan 1943. On 30 Mar 1943, 458 Squadron was relocated within Egypt to Landing Ground 91, from where the squadron enjoyed considerable success against Italian shipping, including naval vessels. In June 1943 the Squadron deployed to Tunisia, followed by another move, this time to Bone in Algeria in October 1943. While in Tunisia on 20 Aug 1943 Gerard was granted Commissioned rank - Pilot Officer.


Soon after, on 7 Dec 1943, having spent 208 hours during 26 sorties in Vickers Wellingtons, he was relieved from flying duties. Sent as an instructor to No. 3 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit RAF (later renumbered 6 OTU) at RAF Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire. He remained with them until April 1944 when he was posted to the No. 11 Personnel Despatch & Receiving Centre RAAF. During the time he was an Instructor, on 20 Feb 1944, Gerard was promoted to Flying Officer. He had by this time accumulated 600 flying hours as aircrew. Following another short stint at Coastal Operational Training Unit, he embarked 10 Jul 1944 in the UK to return to Australia, arriving on 10 Oct 1944 after which he was granted 28 days leave before returning to No. 3 Personnel Depot RAAF.


Gerard attended the No. 10 Bombing Leaders Course RAAF between 15 Dec 1944 and 19 Jan 1945, followed by the No. 2 Bombing Leaders Radar Course RAAF between 9 and 17 Feb 1945, and on 19 Feb 1945 he was posted to the No. 2 Personnel Depot RAAF to await a posting. On 16 Jun 1945 he was posted to the General Reconnaissance School and on 20 Aug 1945 he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant. With the war ending he was sent to No. 5 Personnel Depot RAAF to process his discharge which occurred on 21 Dec 1945. He received 89 days pay in lieu of leave owing.


On 20 May 1948 he joined the Citizen Air Force Reserve, serving until age put an end to his RAAF career in November 1960.

Post War

In 1948 Gerard was employed by the Greenough Road Board as a Vermin Inspector.

Electoral Roll entries: 1949 Greenough, Road Board Secretary; 1954 at Lot 320 Walter street, Bridgetown, Health Inspector; 1958 at 23 Emerald terrace, Perth, clerk (Gwen was working as a Nursing Sister); 1968 - 1980 at 4 Melvin avenue, Thornlie, clerk.

Notes

Children are Michael Claude (b. 23 Nov 1935); Gerard Anthony (24 Jan 1938 - 8 Jul 2013); and Pamela Margaret (b.23 Jun 1939). Gerard served with the RAAF in Vietnam

The clasp to his Africa Star is most likely 8th Army.


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