A ww2 RAAF Sunderland pilot Dudley Marrows presented with flight jacket from 2015. I've known about US vets getting jackets but this is the only case I know of an Australian. I cannot find an obituary online he turned 100 and was still alive in 2017, the member from Mildura may know. http://www.sunraysiadaily.com.au/story/3043083/air-honour-for-mildura-hero/ http://www.milduraindependent.com/i...-legion-of-honor-award-from-french-government 461 Squadron,Royal Australian Air Force was raised at Mount Battenon the south coast of the England, on 25 April 1942. Equipped with Shorts Sunderland flying boats, the squadron joined Coastal Command and becoming operational on 1 July 1942 spent the rest of the war hunting German submarines. By May 1943, No. 461 Squadron was fully equipped with the more advanced Mark III Sunderland. This aircraft allowed the Squadron to operate at night. Throughout the war the squadron was credited with destroying a total of six German U-boats. The squadron lost 20 Sunderlands to enemy action and accidents, A total of 86 squadron members of all nationalities were killed on operations, including 64 Australians. The squadron was awarded six battle honours for its wartime service. Battle Honours Arctic 1940-1945 Atlantic 1939-1945 Biscay 1940-1945 Biscay Ports 1940-1945 English Channel and North Sea 1939-1945 Normandy 1944 U-461 Sunk by Sunderland 461/U 30 July 1943 Two strategically valuable 'milk-cow' U-tankers (U-461 and U-462) and a Type IX (U-504), were travelling together outbound through the Bay of Biscay. The group of boats was spotted by RAF Liberator 53/O, which homed-in an amazing collection of aircraft, including a Sunderland from RAF 228 Squadron, a 210 Squadron RAF Catalina flying boat, two Halifaxes from RAF 502 Squadron, a USN 19th Squadron Liberator and a RAAF Sunderland, 461/U, flown by Flight Lieutenant Dudley Marrows. Nearby British ships of the Royal Navy 2nd Support Group also raced towards the position. Another aircraft that followed the homing signals was a Luftwaffe Ju88C fighter, which threatened the 228 Squadron Sunderland, forcing it to jettison its exposed depth-charges and retire from the battle. The slow Catalina also retreated. - The German fighter then departed the scene, having achieved this result without firing a shot. The remaining Allied aircraft circled the U-boat group, which stayed on the surface at top speed in calm sea conditions and good visibility. Halifax 502/B made an ineffective bombing attack and was damaged by the boats' accurate defensive fire. It had to run for home. Halifax 502/S then attacked from higher altitude and dropped a total of five 600-pound bombs in three attacks, which holed the U-tanker U-462 and caused it to circle. Further approaches were beaten off by the flak, until Liberator 53/O succeeded in bravely diving through the barrage, but it was heavily hit and unable to make an accurate attack. 53/O had to flee to an emergency landing in Portugal. Luckily, this dramatic distraction allowed Marrows in Sunderland 461/U to get in close, before he was noticed by the defence. Machine-gun fire from Marrows' Sunderland silenced the gunners of U-461. He skimmed in so low over the wave-tops that the other two boats did not have a clear shot past U-461. Marrows released his depth-charges and zoomed over the conning tower of U-461, sinking the large U-tanker. A painting by Frank Harding of Dudley Marrows' attack. It is autographed by Marrows (who was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the Distinguished Flying Cross) and also Wolf Stiebler, Marrows returned to the flotsam of U-461 and dropped a liferaft to the 25-30 swimmers seen amongst the wreckage, but only 15 of these men were eventually picked up by HMS Woodpecker. Soon afterwards not lacking in courage Marrows made a determined approach towards U-504, but he had to break away, as British naval shells were starting to impact the sea surface. U-462 was scuttled just as shellfire from the fast-closing 2nd Support Group began to come in, and 64 survivors were later picked up. U-504 took cover by submerging, but was then systematically hunted down with sonar by the 2nd Support Group and destroyed underwater by depth-charge (with total loss of life). As if Marrows' crew had not had enough excitement for this day, on the way home they spotted another U-boat, Marrows decided to attack it with his last remaining depth-charge, but his Sunderland was further damaged by defensive fire and he was unable to drop his bomb. After this, Marrows headed for home, low on fuel. His Sunderland was subsequently written-off due to the damage from these battles Marrows also later met and became friends with U-461's captain, Wolf Stiebler whose life had been saved by the raft that Marrows dropped [against RAF policy, he was given a reprimand by his superiors] "When we flew back to verify that we had sunk it, you could see these poor blokes, about 15 of them, struggling in the water," Mr Marrows said. "That turns you around to saying, 'OK, they`re human', so we dropped a dinghy for them. Not a single one of our crew of 12 disagreed, which I think is good to say. It wasn`t just one silly old bastard like me making a decision." Forty years later, his wife, Silvia, was at a reunion of Sunderland and U-boat crews when a German woman drew her aside. It was the wife of Wolf Stiebler, captain of the U-boat who had survived because of the life raft dropped in the water. With tears in her eyes, she told Mrs Marrows: "Please thank your husband for giving me the many happy years of marriage i have had." Wolf Stiebler visited Australia in 1987 and stayed with the Marrows at Mildura, leading to return visits to the Stiebler home in Germany. "What do you say to a bloke when you first meet him, that you tried to kill him?" asked Mr Marrows. "It was a funny thing first meeting him, but you just had to look in his eyes. Mr Marrows conceded that his crew`s humanitarian gesture was controversial at the time. "Officialdom was right. The dinghies were there to save us if we were shot down," he said. "Two months later when we were shot down, two of our three dinghies were cut by shrapnel and the whole group of us had to get into the one dinghy. "But I feel very pleased about it now because I don't think so much about war in terms of machines, I think more about people, about men. The Germans, they were just like you and I." Korvetten-Kapitan Wolf Stiebler, Commander of German Supply Submarine U461. The U-boats manoeuvring on the surface during the battle. Two months later on the 16th. of September in 1943, Dudley Marrow's Sunderland was set upon by six JU88's of Kampfgeschwader 40 (KG 40) based in Bordeaux . In a ferocious encounter raging for an hour they shot down one of their attackers and damaged three others. However, the Sunderland lost three engines in the fight, riddled with bullet holes it was forced to land in a 15 foot swell, and promptly sank, all the crew where rescued by the RN. A grainy German photograph of Marrows' downed Sunderland, sinking in the Bay of Biscay, 16 September 1943. - Note the liferafts deployed on the wing - only one remained un-punctured. Remarkably, this print was later found in possession of a German Ju88 crewman who was himself shot down and made a prisoner of war in Britain.