Flight Lieutenant Douglas "Doug" Frank HUTCHINSON
454 RAAF Squadron
Service No. 403591
Date of Birth: 10 Mar 1917
Place of Birth: COWRA, NSW
Date of Enlistment: 3 Feb 1941
Date of Discharge: 25 Oct 1945
Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Date of Death: 02 Feb 2016
A retaliatory raid that would be a large combined air strike against various ports and military establishments on Crete. 8 crews were chosen for this mission. Doug Hutchinson's plane was with Squadron Leader L.H. Folkard, RAFVR
FLIGHT CREW - FA 390 - FIRST WAVE - 23.7.1943
Squadron Leader L.H. Folkard, RAFVR - POW
Flying Officer D.F. Hutchinson, RAAF - POW
Flying Officer W.W. Dyer, RAFVR - POW
Warrant Officer K.S. Wedgwood - KIA
One of 8 crews selected for the "Thesis" Raid of Crete was to relieve pressure from the German operation "Huskey" - the Allied invasion of Sicily and avenge the execution of 100 Cretans who had been shot after assisting a Commando raid on the island.
454 were to provide 2 box formations of 4 aircraft each - each loaded with six 250 lb bombs. A 230 mile flight. The mission resulted in 5 aircraft lost over Crete.
Folkhard flew low over Suda Bay - the enemy fire was intense, the aircraft suffered serious damage, he managed to somehow crash land the aircraft of a sandy beach near Heraklion after which he lost consciousness. Doug Hutchinson was able to escape when the turret broke and he was first out. He managed to drag out Keith Wedgwood through this gap, clear of the burning plane, he appeared to be dead. Doug then went on to help the others escape the wreckage before the plane blew up. Dough didn't realise at the time that part of his left foot was missing and he had other shrapnel injuries. He, Folkhard and Dyer became Prisoners of War at the infamous Stalag Luft III - at Sagan, Germany.
You can read more about this mission in Mark Lax's book "Alamein To The Alps", and other crew pages of Aircraft FA409
Flying Officer C.A. Irvine, RNZAF - POW
Flying Officer A.F. Betteridge, RAAF - KIA
Flight Sergeant M.F. McLurg, RAAF - POW
Flight Sergeant D.W. Baker, RNZAF - POW