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A famous RAAF Sunderland pilot presented with flight jacket


Well-Known Member
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.






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

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.
Marrows Ditching.jpg

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Well-Known Member
Good on him. Somewhere in the depths of one of these forums is a picture of me standing on the slipway at RAF Mountbatten at Plymouth, where 10 Squadron flew from. Somebody posted a pic of a Sunderland moored somewhere and I figured out it was Mountbatten. I paid it a visit a while later. Heaven help me for saying so, but they could have presented the chap with a decent jacket, rather than that horrible cheapo A-2-which I doubt he’d have worn during his service anyway. A nice Irvin would’ve been nearer the mark.


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I had to edit the post as I got it mixed up with another RAAF Sunderland from 461 SQN which was also attacked in 1943 in the Bay of Biscay by eight JU88s , the story most know about.
Sunderland 461/n was searching for survivors of the BOAC DC-3 that had Leslie Howard onboard and was shot down by the same JU88 sqn about 30 house earlier

"Attacked by Lt Friedrich Maeder of 13/KG40 and seven other Ju88s in position PLQ 24W/1778 at 18:58 hrs. During the 45 minute combat Sgt Miles was killed manning the starboard galley gun and the navigator wounded. The tail gunner F/Sgt Goode was throw against the side of his turret and knocked out during the evasive tactics. The port outer propeller fell off and the engine caught fire but the Sunderland struggled back 350 miles to be beached at Praa Sands, Marazion, Cornwall at 22:48 hrs. The damage was so severe that the aircraft was struck off charge."

And regarding claims for Luftwaffe losses for the battle with 461/N, this info may now be out of date as it is from 2004.
The Sunderland crew claimed three Ju88s shot down.

"N/461 was actually intercepted by the eight Ju88s within only a few kilometres of where Howard had been shot down about 30 hours previously.
Given the hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of ocean in the Bay of Biscay, this seems to be an absolutely extraordinary co-incidence - unless the Germans themselves were also deliberately patrolling over the spot of the Howard was shot down, presumably to intercept any potential rescue aircraft."

The Australian official WW2 historian and former Sunderland pilot Ivan Southall has referred to British Intelligence information that the Germans considered N/461 to be "armour plated" and "cannon armed". Neither of these assertions were correct but they may possibly indicate that the V/KG40 commanders believed their fighters had been entrapped by an aircraft specially equipped to avenge the shootdown of Leslie Howard. Amazingly, a "revenge" theme was also highlighted by contemporary British press descriptions of the N/461 battle. Southall also refers to British radio-eavesdropping Intelligence information which implied that as many as six of the eight Ju88s did not make it home.

Immediately after the N/461 battle, something seems to have had a marked impact on the success rate of the whole of V/KG40. While Bloody Biscay shows 12 Allied aircraft claimed by V/KG40 as "kills" in the month leading up to June 2nd, 1943, only five comparable claims were made in the following month. The RAAF official WW2 historian noted this lull in attacks as evidence of the impact made by N/461.

Suppression of the V/KG40 loss records might also have created some later record-keeping problems. There seems to be evidence of a "book balancing" exercise in the following month of July 1943. If the monthly loss returns for V/KG40 >http://www.ww2.dk/oob/bestand/kampf/bvkg40.html
are compared with the individual German aircraft losses compiled by Chris Goss in Bloody Biscay, there is excellent agreement for the months of April, May and June 1943. However, in the month of July the loss summary shows at least five more Ju88s lost due to enemy action than are detailed by Chris from his research into operational records.
The attached training unit of IV/KG40
> (http://www.ww2.dk/oob/bestand/kampf/bivkg40.html ) would also seem to offer a possible place to hide losses suffered by the operational staffels of V/KG40. This training unit also recorded an unusually high number of Ju88C-6 losses in July 19

The above analysis is still far from conclusive at present. Further clues are likely be found in any surviving V/KG40 personnel casualty records, the recollections of surviving Luftwaffe ground or air crew, and British "Y-Service" radio-eavesdropping and Ultra codebreaking reports held by the Public Records Office in London."
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Well-Known Member
Good on him. Somewhere in the depths of one of these forums is a picture of me standing on the slipway at RAF Mountbatten at Plymouth, where 10 Squadron flew from. Somebody posted a pic of a Sunderland moored somewhere and I figured out it was Mountbatten. I paid it a visit a while later. Heaven help me for saying so, but they could have presented the chap with a decent jacket, rather than that horrible cheapo A-2-which I doubt he’d have worn during his service anyway. A nice Irvin would’ve been nearer the mark.
No offence taken, I knew I should have said something about the jacket,
I don't know if the modern RAAF has ever issued leather jackets but aircrew are permitted to wear private purchase jackets if they conform to RAAF standards so the jacket was probably from the supplier that they got their own from.
The amount of people in Australia bothered about ww2 A2 jackets would probably fit on a bus, they are really not as well known here as in Europe and the US.

http://www.christies.net.au/list.mibiznez?id=323&name=SQUADRON & NAME PATCH

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Well-Known Member
Great stuff Dino and thanks for posting that, thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Talking of blokes attacking U-boats, you might like the following thread here from awhile back. It's actually unique as the pilot won a posthumous VC based solely on the recommendation of the U-boat commander and crew he had attacked and destroyed.

It's the only time a VC has been given solely on the testimony of the enemy.



Well-Known Member
It has sparked my interest in getting this book.



Bloody Biscay: The History of V Gruppe/Kampfgeschwader 40, by Chris Goss
"Bloody Biscay is the story of the Luftwaffe's only long range maritime fighter unit -- V Gruppe/Kampfgeschwader 40 (V/KG 40) and its battles against the RAF, the US Army Air Force (USAAF) and the US Navy (USN) from July 1942 to August 1944 above the Bay of Biscay. Using personal accounts from both German and Allied survivors, Bloody Biscay relates the initial tribulations of the unit, the height of its success in spring and summer 1943, its battles against overwhelming odds and its eventual annihilation over the Normandy beaches in June 1944.
The book contains comprehensive appendices detailing the unit's commanding officers, known aircrew, all of its known 'kills' matched to Allied losses and its combat losses. It also describes the attack in which the famous British actor Leslie Howard perished and so clarifies the facts surrounding one of the most enduring mysteries of the 2nd World War.
Illustrated with 200 photographs, the vast majority of German origin, Bloody Biscay gives a graphic insight into the activites of V/KG 40."

"subtitled "The History of V Gruppe/Kampfgeschwader 40," this interesting volume traces the battles fought by that unit's Junkers 88 long-range fighters over the Bay of Biscay from July 1942 to August 1944. Tasked to protect U-boats traveling through the Bay, V/KG40 engaged in numerous combats against a variety of opponents from the RAF, USN and USAAF.
Chris Goss' book is a gem, chock-a-block with German and Allied aircrews' accounts of bitterly-fought combats over the unforgiving waters of the Atlantic. The variety of aircraft involved is quite something: JU 88s, Mossies, Beaufighters, Sunderlands, FW 200s, Whitleys, Wellingtons, Spits, B-24s, Halifaxes, even Horsa gliders! The book is well illlustrated with over 200 photos, many of them rare in-action shots. The book features numerous appendices filled with interesting information on the combatants.
In short, a wonderfully researched and written chronicle of a segment of the ETO air war little known to most. Highly recommended."
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You can buy the A-2 style jackets at the Post Office on base at RAAF Edinburgh. $275 from memory?

I recall the articles in 2015 in the Sunraysia Daily. Went to the Red Cliffs RSL for the vet catch up today. Had the pleasure of flipping through WO2 J Barnes' folder from his AATTV tour in 70-71. Read the narrative for his citation.
Not sure if I have ready any recent stuff. He MIGHT be a DVA client of someone I may have married. ;) Being medical in confidence I can't say too much. Still an active client with the last contact being via phone today! Alive and well at 101! I have enlightened Tianna with regard to his DSO and DFC. Will have Tianna pass on that he is still highly regarded by many around the place.

Great work.


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Good to hear he is still with us, The keys of U-461 sunk by Dudley's Sunderland U/461 are in the AWM collection now

About WO Barnes, I bought "The Team" by James McNeill and "Tiger Men" by Barry Peterson in a salvos yesterday.

Researching the story was confusing, after the Sunderland n/461 , n for nuts was written off after the encounter with eight JU88's a replacement Sunderland received the number with eight of the original RAAF crew and was shot down in a battle with six JU88s, again from KG 40.
Three separate battles with multiple JU88s with the same type of aircraft on both sides and from the same sqdn's. in the same year.

"Eleven missions later, on Friday 13 August 1943 at 14.30 hours, a radio message was received reporting an attack by six JU88s.
Eight of the 11 crew members on board had survived the epic battle of 2 June.
This time their luck had run out. No trace of the crew or the aircraft was ever found."
"Claimed by Lt A Schroeder of 13./KG40 in position PLQ24W/1515 at 14:28 hrs into the Bay of Biscay. All the crew are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial to the Missing."

For the first battle with KG/40 the crew of N/461 where awarded.
Flt Lt Walker the DSO,
F/O Simpson the DFC
Flt Sgt Fuller the DFM.
Flt Sgt Goode the DFM.

The rudder pedal from the first N/461 from the AWM collection.

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Well-Known Member
It is with great regret that I have to pass on the sad news that we lost another legendary pilot. Dudley passed away on the weekend a few years past a Century. His achievements, along with those of his brother who also served, are on display in the foyer of the Mildura RSL Club. I am sure that everyone would share my sentiments at his passing.

I will endeavor to locate his resting place on my return to Australia in July.

RIP Sir!


Active Member
About 14yrs ago a member of the AVG fighter pilot was invited to Kunming, China and was feted like a celebrity including meeting the Chinese President. The vet was wearing a patched up modern repro M422A that is not WW2 accurate but the Kunming museum wanted his jacket and held a presentation ceremony. Did the museum knows it is a repro? Of course but it didn't matter.
Sometimes its not the quality of the jacket but the symbolism that matters. Only us collectors and jacket nuts bothers about these details.
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