Tagged: RAAF

The Cost of War: Three Sons

After writing my last post about the Remarkable O’Riordans I came across another tragic story of loss during the Second World War.  I saw the photo below in the Tattersall’s Club Magazine of August 1945.Stevensons

The three sons of Tattersall’s Club member Mr Henry Stevenson are noted: Frank, Joseph and Charles. I had to find out what happened to the three brothers.

421094 Flight Sgt. Frank Stevenson was born on 11 January 1923. He had been a labourer and storeman before the war and was married to Hildrey. Frank enlisted in December 1941 and served as a pilot with No. 450 Squadron, RAAF. He was killed in a flying battle over Italy on 29 May 1944. He is commemorated at Minturno War Cemetery, Lazio, Italy and his name is recorded on panel 105 of the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. Frank’s name will be projected onto the exterior of the Hall of Memory on 31 May 2020 at 7:21pm and on 17 August 2020 at 7:49pm.

425068 Flight Sgt. Joseph Arthur William Stevenson was born on 26 July 1914. He had been a timber cutter and diesel engineer and was married to Valmai. Valmai and Joseph had two sons. Joseph enlisted in December 1941 and, as a noted marksman, served as an air gunner with No. 24 Squadron, RAAF. He was killed in a flying battle over the Timor Sea on 23 January 1945. He is commemorated at the Northern Territory Memorial, Adelaide River, NT and his name is recorded on panel 102 of the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. Joseph’s name will be projected onto the exterior of the Hall of Memory on 15 May 2020 at 6:50pm and on 4 August 2020 at 9:41pm.

NX38002 Gunner Charles Walter Stevenson was born on 16 May 1919, enlisted in July 1941 and served until November 1945. He was serving with 2/5 Australian Field Regiment, RAA on discharge. His date of death is recorded as 8 November 1947 in the DVA Nominal Roll for World War Two. I was not able to determine the cause of his death.

“not unremembered by those who know and admire them”

The Remarkable O’Riordans

For a couple of months now I’ve been digitising the magazines of Tattersall’s Club, Sydney (I’m a member). They let me take the scanner and a lot of magazines home during the Covid19 lockdown.

Recently, I’ve been working my way through the Second World War issues and on Friday 24 April 2020 I came across the February 1944 magazine that had a short article about the remarkable O’Riordan family from Sydney, two of whom were Tattersall’s Club members. I dug these details of their service mostly out of various online databases and archives from the Australian War Memorial.

Four members of the O’Riordan family served in both the First and Second World Wars. All are related to Tattersall’s Club member John O’Riordan :

John’s brother Dr Sydney Michael O’Riordan, MC served as a Captain and then Major with the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC) in the First World War. He was awarded his MC in 1918 for:

conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During then later stages of an advance, when the infantry were under heavy fire, he established his aid post in an advanced position, and dealt very rapidly with the casualties. His initiative and coolness under heavy fire were an inspiration to all who came in contact with him.

He was serving as a Captain attached to the 13th Infantry Battalion in France. He again served as a Major with the AAMC in the Second World War between July 1941 and February 1942, attached to the 3rd Infantry Battalion. He died at Redfern in 1944.

Another brother of John, 403397 Flying Offr. Clifford Timothy O’Riordan was an Air Gunner with No 460 Squadron*, RAAF was killed in a flying battle over Germany on 30 July 1943. He is commemorated in the Becklingen War Cemetery, Luneburg, Germany and his name can be found on panel 108 of the Roll of Honour at the Australia War Memorial (AWM), Canberra. His name will be projected onto the exterior of the Hall of Memory on 12 May 2020 at 2:41am and on 3 August 2020 at 2:55am. He was a Tattersall’s Club member and had been admitted to the NSW Bar before enlisting in 1941. His own war diaries are held by the AWM and they’ve now been digitised. You can read a description of those diaries and also view or download them via this link: https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C89812

One of John’s sons, NX113095 Sgt. John Michael O’Riordan served with the 1st Papuan Infantry Battalion, Australian Army. He was killed in action in New Guinea on 25 November 1943. John’s name is located on panel 76 of the Roll of Honour at the AWM. His name will be projected onto the exterior of the Hall of Memory on 2 June 2020 at 12:42am and on 2 August 2020 at 2:34am.

Another son was NX87133 Gunner James Clifton O’Riordan who served in the Army from February 1942 until December 1943, after which he transferred to the RAAF where he served as a 443862 Flight Sgt J.C. O’Riordan until October 1945.

I reckon that is very sad but also truly remarkable for the one family.

* Some hours after initially posting this I realised that 460 Squadron, RAAF was familiar to me. It was first formed as a heavy bomber unit in 1941 and is commemorated at the Australian War Memorial by the famous Avro Lancaster bomber “G for George”. 460 Squadron flew as part of RAF Bomber Command and was a multi-national unit with most of its personnel being Australian. It flew the most sorties of any Australian bomber squadron in the RAF bombing campaign against Germany and Italy, but lost 188 aircraft and suffered 1,018 combat deaths, 588 of whom were Australian. RAF Bomber Command represented only two percent of total Australian enlistments during the Second World War, but accounted for 4,136 fatalities (3,486 killed in action and 650 in training accidents of approximately 10,000 RAAF personnel who served with Bomber Command). RAF Bomber Command sustained Australia’s highest casualty rates in the Second World War.