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Brian 26th March 2018 21:33

Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942
Hi guys

I don't hold out much hope but I'm trying to find some information regarding Sgt Observer GORDON aboard Plt Off H.H. Siddell's Hudson AE553, which was flown to Sumatra in February 1942.

Apparently he evaded capture when Java fell in March 1942, having been evacuated aboard an RAAF Catalina together with RAAF airmen he had befriended. I'm particularly keen to learn further on this event.

Postwar he reached the rank of flight lieutenant in RAF.


Chris Goss 26th March 2018 22:16

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942
Don't know anything about him but I do have a photo showing him & Siddell

dp_burke 26th March 2018 22:35

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942
Australian National Archives have this oddly named and dated file? Might be worth getting scanned?

Item details for: AWM60, 1346
Request copy
[Northern Command registry files:] Alleged evasion - Gordon
Contents date range
1942 - 1942
Series number
Click to see which government agency or person created this item.
Control symbol
Consult Australian War Memorial
Item barcode
Australian War Memorial
Access status
Date of decision
26 Feb 1990
Physical format
PAPER FILES AND DOCUMENTS (allocated at series level)
Alternative series and control symbol
AWM60, 236/15/48
Date registered
13 Sep 1992

I searched with recordsearch for the words Gordon and evasion

Col Bruggy 27th March 2018 03:32

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942
Hello Brian,

I believe the bloke you're looking for is, possibly:

935425 (Air Observer) Arthur John Howard GORDON (116138) RAFVR.

Some incidental data on 59 Sqn here:

Scroll down to Lockheed Corner: Hudson Mk111 AE488.


Brian 27th March 2018 13:35

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942
Thanks guys. Great stuff!

I'm wondering if our man was evacuated aboard Hudson AE488 rather than a Catalina?


Col Bruggy 27th March 2018 14:54

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942

Hudson AE488 probably carted some bods back to Australia, whether Sgt Gordon was among them, I don't know. You might be interested in taking a look at some of the individuals that turned up at No.5 Embarkation Depot, Perth ex-Java - A/C Vincent, W/C's Barclay and Councell and so on. Even A/C Stanley Vincent couldn't get a seat on a plane, so anyone that did was very lucky: pp.39-41 of 289 in particular, but read on.


Col Bruggy 27th March 2018 17:24

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942

Sgt Gordon was not aboard Hudson AE488 when it departed Java:

Earlier that day (7 March, 1942), another Hudson, Mk III AE488 - the last to leave Java - with crew FO John Lower. PO David Hersey, Sgt Reg Blundstone and Roy Richards, and two passengers, FO Bernie Hughes and Cpl Wally Hams took off for Australia. Reportedly, Cpl Hams had made the aircraft airworthy for the flight even though it was said it was unserviceable and was to be destroyed. Armed with only a map similar to that used by White and Stone and a half-inch compass, Lower's crew experienced no difficulties and made Port Hedland shortly after midday.

The RAAF Hudson Story ook One.

Hudsons A16-89 and A16-26 had departed Java on the 4th March and 5th March respectively, carrying crew a several passengers each. Sgt Gordon not mentioned among the passengers.

Pages 375-7 (Appendix Three), has the following:

Air Cdre McCauley's Recollections on the Findings of the Court of Inquiry into the Evacuation of Aerodromes in Northern Malaya (in its entirety).

No scanner, Mate.


Brian 27th March 2018 17:33

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942


Sqn Ldr Brooker and party (which apparently included Sgt John Gordon, were evacuated on a Dutch Lodestar on 7 March 1942.

Just how Sgt Gordon was included in this party is unclear.

I assume that the Lodestar (one of three used during the evacuation) remained in Australia.

Thanks again, guys


Col Bruggy 27th March 2018 18:01

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942

Take a look:

You will notice that S/L Brooker and 5 of his companions are mentioned on p.40 of 289 in the No.5 ED P.O.R. (De-planed at PERTH on 7/3/42), the balance (including Sgt GORDON) are on p.41.


Brian 29th March 2018 13:06

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942
Excellent once again, Col

Any gen on my other enquiry - 400212 George Windsor SAYER?

1) Ex-fighter pilot?
2) Apparently some Soviet service?

I am aware that he was killed flying a Beaufighter in New Guinea theatre.


Col Bruggy 29th March 2018 18:39

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942

A very thorny issue!

Firstly, I'll give you a rundown on George Windsor Sayer's career, it is vital in understanding where he was located at certain times:

Enrolled in the RAAF April, 1940.
Enlisted in the RAAF 21/7/40
1 Reception Centre, Melbourne - 21/7/40
1 Initial Training School, Somers,Victoria (4[P] Cse.) - 21/7/40
3 Elementary Flying Training School, Essendon, Vic. (4[P] Cse.) -19/9/40
2 Service Flying Training School, Wagga, NSW (4[P] Cse.) - 18/11/40
Flying Badge - 17/1/40
2 Embarkation Depot, Bradfield Park, NSW - 10/3/41
1 Embarkartion Depot, Ascot Vale, Vic - 18/3/41
Embarked Sydney - 9/4/41
Disembarked Egypt - 5/5/41
Middle East Pool - 5/5/41
RAF HQ Middle East - ?
8 Sqn, Aden - 30/5/41
108 Maintenance Unit, Kilo 17, Egypt - 9/10/41
To Far East - 14/1/42
Departed Java - ?
5 Embarkation Depot, Perth, WA - (de-planed) 23/4/42
1 Embarkation Depot, Ascot Vale, Vic
1 Service Flying Training School, Point Cook - 30/5/42
30 Sqn RAAF (Beaufighters) - 11/6/42
To Port Moresby, New Guinea - 17/9/42
Operational Base Unit, Townsville (non-effective) - 23/9/42
AFHQ Pool (non-effective) 23/9/42
Killed in Air Operations, Buna, PNG - 23/9/42

Sourced from Sayer's A9301 at the NAA (a real dog's breakfast!).

Sayer was rumored to have served in a fighter unit in the Middle East, I can't find any proof of that. The other thorny issue is his reported service with a fighter unit in Russia. All my sources on 151 Wing's stint in the USSR, particularly Hugh Harkins' Hurricane IIB Combat Log - 151 Wing RAF North Russia 1941 (which is virtually a transcription of the ORB's of 151 Wing, 81 Sqn and 134 Sqn), were checked and I couldn't find any mention of Sayer. He was reportedly with a fighter unit there for one week. 151 Wing's stint in Russia was 12/8/41 - 11/41. I can't see a lowly Sergeant in an obscure unit in the Middle East being transferred to wilds of Russia for one week!. I still have an open mind on the matter*.

All this stuff about Sayer's service on fighters, first appeared in an official wartime publication entitled, These Eagles - The Story of the R.A.A.F. at War, prepared by the RAAF Directorate of Public Relations pp.22-4(1942), in a chapter entitled "Ubiquity". Sayer is also mentioned on pp.171-7 "Sea Saga", which describes his exploits with HMSRAF "Scorpion" and its 44-day journey from Java to Australia (W/C J R Jeudwine and Co.)..

On Sayer's death in New Guinea the local rags* picked up on this story, adding bits and pieces of their own to the tale, making it difficult to find the truth. Most of the reporting was truthful, but confusing.

I put this one to sleep years ago and never followed it up later. Be interesting to see if anything new comes of it.

* I believe there were four (4) Australians on 151 Wing in Russia: 404054 Barton Campbell, 406004 Selwyn"Nobby" Clark, 404062 Arthur "Nat" Gould and 402256 Mark Sheldon.

** You can read a smattering of their reportage here:,news-article2604405


Brian 29th March 2018 20:56

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942
Hi Col

I can only repeat my admiration of your knowledge, far and wide. Sincere thanks for your efforts.

I can only concur with your findings.


Col Bruggy 30th March 2018 02:21

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942

In fairness to Sayer it should be said, that whilst he was at No.108 Maintenance Unit (which was basically a Storage/Ferry Unit), he might well of have been "flying fighters", but not operationally!


andy bird 1st April 2018 09:46

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942

Seen the date from Col B.,

Have just been given documents relating to losses, captures, torture, and killings in this area of operations to pen a book, he is probably amongst the pages.

If I don't post then there is nothing in the relating documents.


Andy Bird

Brian 1st April 2018 11:58

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942
Hi Andy

Which theatre of operations do you mean?


Brian 4th April 2018 13:17

Re: Sgt Observer GORDON 59 Squadron 1942
Hi Andy

Awaiting a reply, please.

I've also sent you a PM.


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