454 and 459 RAAF Squadrons
Sergeant Flight Officer John PIRIE
454 RAAF Squadron
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Date of Enlistment:
Date of Discharge:
Date of Death:
John Lanyon (Pilot)
Dick Shardlow (Nav killed in South Africa)
John Pirie (WAG)
Alan Pilkington (WAG)
Following story written by Margaret Pirie (widow of John Pirie).
John never spoke much of his time with 454 Squadron, I think this was quite usual with all the servicemen. John was quite young when he joined up and he felt that he gained a lot from traveling abroad and meeting all kinds of people in his service career.
He was very friendly with Alan Pilkington who was in his crew, an Australian older than himself who was like an older brother to John. About 13 years ago we visited friend in New Zealand, and were able to visit Alan in Melbourne. By that time he was very ill with leukemia and died soon after our visit. He was a great character and I was glad they were able to meet up again. Also we visited Harry Carew, whose crew John joined at the end of the war. He and his wife Anna visited us in England and still correspond with us.
For some time John was the representative for 454/459 Squadrons in England, but sadly after having a stroke he had to give up the job. The enclosed letter (Below) will tell you a bit about John.
9th August 1997
Firstly let me explain why we were given the name by the High Commissioner's Office. For some months now I have been fighting with the RAF to get them to recognize the Squadron Crests of 454 and 459 RAAF Squadrons, both of whom operated in the Middle East and Italy. The RAF refuse to accept recognition of the Crests because they say they were too late in being submitted for official recognition. In my opinion this is a lot of cobblers and when I told them that the Australian Government had accepted them and they were now exhibited in the Australian War Museum they passed the problem over for consideration. I am hoping that the High Commissioner will be able to fight the BATTLE on our behalf. I await the outcome with great interest and like a terrier dog, I will not let go until the final fight is fought!!!!
As for myself I joined 454 Squadron in Nov.1943 having previously been on 162 RAF. I left 454 in Sept.44 to join 75 OTU as an Instructor. In Jan. 45 I joined 459 being crewed with F/Commander F/Lt. Carew at Berka. In Feb. the whole Squadron was posted to the UK at Chivenor, supposedly for conversion but we never got off the ground. The RAAF members were posted back to OZ and we RAF Bods were relocated in the UK, as for myself I finished up at Thorney Island on Air Sea Rescue Walrus and Sea Otters.