Flying Officer Brian "Bob" John MITCHELL

454 RAAF Squadron

Service No. 417971

Date of Birth: 3 Jul 1924

Place of Birth: ADELAIDE, SA

Date of Enlistment: 15 Aug 1942

Date of Discharge: 18 Dec 1945

Rank: Flying Officer

 

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The Crew:
  • BJ (Bob) Mitchell - Pilot (SA)

  • Max Knight -  Navigator (NSW)

  • Mac Coghlan (Tassy) - Wirelss Operator/Air Gunner (WAG)  (TAS)

  • Joe Evans (Taffy) - WAG (RAF)

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I was a pilot on 454 and my crew, Navigator Max Knight, NSW died about  10 years ago, W/O A.G. Mac Coghlan (Tassy), still alive and I see him at least once a year  and we communicate regularly, my Gunner Joe Evans(Taffy) RAF died about 5 years ago and I still write to his widow in South Devon.

 

We joined 454 Squadron at Falconia  and flew alongside George Gray many times.  We finished the war on Night Intruding over the Po Valley and the Squadron break-up north of Venice at Udine.

Some Memories at Villa Orba and 454's disbandment 14.8.1945

 

We were the sort of young breed, when we arrived on 454 Squadron at Falconara, formation trained at Shandur, doing daylight formation strikes, then the conversion to night intruding (till the end of the war), mainly in the Po Valley.  We were in time to spend winter in tents at Cesenatico all helping the 8th Army on its way from Cairo to Klagenfurt.

 

We then did many Desert Air Force Communication (DAF Comm) Flights all over Italy - Rome, Milan, Bari and Florence, etc., a Pilot's log book was like his "Bible"; you never lied in it; and the summary was brief but sufficient e.g.

 

15th July 1945 Baltimore "X" FW792 - "Rome Courier" - Villa Orba to Rome.  Crew Mitchell, Coghlan, Knight and Millett.  Passengers Major Smith, W/Cmdr Stevenson, Col Orchard, Mr Bulgar and SLdr Marshall - 9 all up. Flight time 1 hour 50 minutes.

 

Another day at random:

 

15th May 1945 The day we flew from Cesenatico 7am to Villa Orba; 8.30am to Revise 11am to Rivolto; 12am to Florence; 2pm to Rivolto; 4pm to Treyso; 5pm to Villa Orba. All DAF Comm flights. I could go on and on and no doubt bore you rigid. What would you like?

 

A few random memories:

  • The 'Auster' How it came to be the Squadron "hack", who flew it most! How HOT it was with the number changing etc. The Fairchild! The Spitfire!

  • The Desert Air Force Victory Fly Past of 500 planes in Squadron Formation at Campo Formido on 28th May 1945.

  • Our Squadron holiday home on the Wurthesee Lake at Klagenfurt.

  • Yachting on Trieste Harbour on VJ Day.

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I have been twice to Canberra for Squadron Business, the giving of the paintings for 454 (Baltimores) and 459 (Hudsons) and then for the plaques outside The Australian War Museum.

 

A party of South Australians came to Sydney and marched on an Anzac Day, and I remember The Glenmore Hotel, it was the year that Camel Coates was with  us.

 

One of my hobbies is that I still have an Ultralite licence and go for a fly every few weeks just to enjoy getting off this mad world for awhile.

in 1990 Ken Rimmer made contact with Bob Mitchell and Jack Stacey in Adelaide and he joined them in the Anzac Day march with ex 454 members.

 

After the parade we all met at Jack's for a barbeque

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