454 and 459 RAAF Squadrons
Flight Lieutenant Joseph "Zizz" Charles WRIGHT
454 RAAF Squadron
Service No. 400948
Date of Birth: 18 Mar 1917
Place of Birth: Bendigo, VIC
Date of Enlistment: 11 Nov 1940
Date of Discharge: 30 Nov 1945
Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Honours and Awards: DFC
Date of Death: 04 Jul 1994
Below is an extract from Mark Lax book "ALAMEIN TO THE ALPS" Pages 166-167:
By early March, the Squadron had converted to night bombing intruder operations, which would last for the final months of the war. These operations were intended to provide the Army with information regarding enemy road and rail movement and 454 aircraft where possible, were to intercept and harass such movement. Unlike the intruders performed by the fighters, these raids were by single aircraft flying between 6000 feet and ground level. Without any night vision aids, the flying would be extremely dangerous and was often conducted under ground radar control. Known as ‘Bonnet’, the station established near Ravenna gradually improved its accuracy as time progressed and became particularly useful once night operations commenced. Blind bombing techniques were in their infancy, so results could only be described as mixed. The Mobile Operations Room Unit or MORU was visited by squadron crews on a number of occasions to discuss tactics and results. In Italy, there were two MORUs – MORU A on the East Coast supporting the British 8th Army (and the one under which 454 would eventually operate) and MORU B on the West Coast supporting the US 5th Army. In addition, the aircraft had to be modified with new bombsights, flare racks were fitted to the rear compartments to drop illumination flares, and turret guns re-harmonised to achieve the best results from strafing. As well as bombing, the Squadron would also regularly perform ‘nickelling’ or leaflet drops, intended to encourage the enemy to surrender.
It was also during this phase that Flight Lieutenant Joe ‘Fizz’ Wright, the navigator on Col Stinson’s crew, developed a special night photographic technique which provided excellent results using the F.24 aerial camera, flares and photo flash incendiaries. The F.24 cameras were standard RAF photographic equipment and weighing around 20lbs, were bulky and hard to handle. Crews had to hand-hold them to take a bombing or reconnaissance photograph by sighting through a sliding side window in the nose, or through an open rear hatch. They took 5” x 5” negatives which were used by Allied intelligence to rate bombing accuracy and identify possible targets for later strikes.
F.24 Camera used by the 454 Squadrons for aerial reconnaissance