John was born on the 22nd March 1919 at Strathfield, New South Wales. He enlisted on the 15th July 1941. After training, he found himself in 457 Squadron and was eventually discharged on the 24th October 1945 from Air Defence HQ.
The photo is of 457 Squadron with all from left to right.
On left wing: John T. “Dinga” Bell, Bob Bawden, Leslie Alan Leeming and William O. “Bill” Cable.
On right wing: John L. “Jack” Seelenmeyer, Albert L. “Smokey” Lumley, Kenneth B. May and Ronald M. Snowden.
Sitting on left wing: Douglas R. Beattie, Kevin M. “Kel” Barclay and John R. Sturm.
Sitting on right wing: “Swampy” Marsh and Peter Ward.
Standing: Bob Addison (IO), Norman L. Vidler, Eric McGeehan (Engineer Officer), Bill Stanton (Adjutant), Len Gillam (Def Off), Edward L. “Ted” Sly (B Flight), Lyndon S. “Lyn” Compton (A Flight), James H. “Jimmy” Greaves, David “Dave” Warrell, William J. “Bill” Crystal, John F. Dale and Kenneth D. McLeod.
Front Row: Bruce Miels, Keith L. Peacock, Thomas H. “Tom” Trimble (Ex Commanding Officer), Clive R. Caldwell, Bruce D. Watson (Current Commanding Officer), Wilfred G. “Wally” Dial and Frank L. Rouch.
The following is a shorty story on 457 Squadron RAAF © 2009 RAAF Museum
In June 1941, 457 Squadron formed in England – spending the remainder of the year flying patrols and convoy escort missions, but seeing little enemy activity. The Squadron was also used as an operational training unit, supplying Spitfire pilots to Squadrons engaged in more active operations.
In March 1942, 457 Squadron moved to Redhill, and operations quickly increased in intensity with the Spitfires flying escort to RAF light bomber attacks over occupied France. In constant contact with enemy fighters and sophisticated anti-aircraft defences, Squadron loses began to mount.
After three months of flying fighter sweeps and bomber escort missions, 457 Squadron was withdrawn from Europe – sailing for Australia in June 1942. During its short period of active operations, 457 Squadron had shot down nine enemy aircraft as well as damaging a further seven.
After arriving in Australia, 457 Squadron deployed to Livingstone to provide air defence for Darwin. During an attack on Darwin in March 1943, the Spitfires engaged an enemy force of 46 bombers and fighters, downing up to six enemy aircraft without loss. For the remainder of 1943, the Spitfires were engaged in constant combat with enemy aircraft, taking a heavy toll of Japanese aircraft.
By early 1944, with little enemy air activity over Darwin, several Spitfires staging through Bathurst Island strafed barges, huts and a wireless station on Baba Island. This mission was the Squadron’s first ground attack operation, and from this point onwards No 457 Squadron Spitfires were increasingly utilised in the ground attack role.
457 Squadron moved north to Morotai in early 1945, and from here supported the invasion of Labuan. Shortly after the Japanese surrender in August, 457 Squadron was disbanded.
Phil Listemann, David Hamilton
Updated Vince Conant
The Spitfire Association