Flying Officer Garth HORTON
454 RAAF Squadron
Service No. 425663
Date of Birth: 31 Dec 1918
Place of Birth: LISMORE, NSW
Date of Enlistment: 25 Apr 1942
Date of Discharge: 6 Dec 1945
Rank: Flying Officer
Date of Death: 30 Aug 1999
Pilot FO - Graham Kingston - RAAF
Nav B. FO - Garth Horton - RAAF
Wireless Op/Air Gunner - Don Gray - RAAF
Wireless Op/Air Gunner Stan Hughes - RAAF.
The following tribute was compiled by George Gray after discussion with Phyllis, Garth's widow and his Baltimore Pilot, Graham Kingston - 2001 Bulletin issue.
Garth Horton completed his Observer/NavB training at Cootamundra, (Navigation) Evans Head, (Bombing & Gunnery)Parkes (Astro-Navigation) in NSW; Edmonton in Canada; and thence to England.
Posted to the Middle East he joined 454 RAAF Squadron at Berka 111, Benghasi in Cyrenaica for convoy escort, anti-submarine sweeps and Aegean W. Coast of Greece photo reconnaissance duties, under RAF 201 Naval Co-operation Group in the Middle East. Proceeding to Italy he joined with 454 RAAF Squadron in the renowned RAF Desert Air Force at Pescara, and proceeded with this tented/mobile light bomber squadron north along the Italian Adriatic Coast to Falconara and then to Cesanitico, during its 6 month tour of duty as a day bomber unit. As a close support, pattern bombing, formation strike force its task was to join the queue of "boxes" of 6 light bombers, and independent fighter dive bombers, gradually breaking through the fortified Gothic Line and attacking troop and supply concentrations during July to December 1944.
Garth's crew was then converted to individual night intruding duties and for 2 months ranged over Nth. Eastern Italy in a drive north-westward and north towards the next defensive line on the rivers at the base of the Alps. Finally the crew , now tour expired, left Cesenatico in early '45 before the Axis surrender in May.
On return to Australia Garth worked for the Bank of NSW until retirement before it became Westpac. He proceeded up the career path to a management role. Quiet and not given to discussing war experiences except with his mates, Garth had made a firm rule about avoiding any more flying! However, like all rules, this was one eventually broken . Max, his son who had become a Qantas Check Captain, and was approaching retirement after flying the three big passenger jet types, finally enticed him to "dice" once again and take a return trip to Adelaide with him. (It is not true that this led to his increasing health problems!) So long Garth. You will be remembered by your 454 mates.