Jack was born on the 21st May 1918 at Kamilaroi Station, 200 kilometers north of Cloncurry, Queenslandd. In 1935, he did a land management course at Gatton College, and subsequently three years as a jackeroo and a year as a Station Overseer.
He enlisted in the RAAF on the 11th October 1940 and trained as a pilot at Archerfield and Amberley. He became a Staff Pilot at Evans head. In 1942, he volunteered for overseas service and joined 3 Squadron RAAF at Tripoli in the Middle East. In 1943, the Squadron moved to Malta to assist in the defence of the Island. After returning to North Africa, where many low level attacks took place against the enemy, Jack was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in March 1944.
The Citation is as follows:
This officer has participated in a very large number of sorties and has led the Squadron on many successful attacks against road and rail transport and shipping and others in close support of the ground fighting. On one occasion early in March 1944, he led the Squadron in an attack on mechanical transport. Some 29 vehicles were destroyed and many others damaged. In addition, Flight Lieutenant Doyle obtained a hit on a large building which caught fire. Many vehicles garaged in the building were destroyed. This officer has displayed commendable skill, courage and determination. (LG 28/3/1944 p 1443)
When Italy surrendered in 1944, 3 and 450 Squadrons moved in and were very busy supporting the troops as they advanced. Still with 3 Squadron, Jack was awarded a Bar to his DFC.
The Citation is as follows:
After completing a tour of duty on fighter bomber operations, Flight Lieutenant Doyle volunteered for a further spell of operational duty and has taken part in a large number of successful sorties and inflicted much damage on enemy mechanised transport. In March 1944, this officer led a formation of twelve aircraft on an armed reconnaissance to Yugoslavia during which a Siebel transport and one enemy schooner, at least, were destroyed. Six days later, he led an attack on an enemy airfield and, in the face of severe opposition, he silenced eight gun posts and personally destroyed two enemy aircraft and three fuel tanks. The following month, armed reconnaissances led by this officer resulted in the destruction of 42 enemy mechanical transport vehicles. Throughout, Flight Lieutenant Doyle has set a fine example of leadership and has been largely responsible for the high standard of operational efficiency attained by the squadron. (LG 7/7/144 p 3188)
Jack was subsequently posted to 450 Squadron as Commanding Officer, flying Curtis Kittyhawks, until the end of hostilities in May 1945. For his achievements during this period he was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order. The photo is courtesy the AWM: Malta. c. July 1943. Flying Officer Jack Doyle, pilot, No. 3 Squadron RAAF, checks over the instruments of his Curtiss P40 Kittyhawk aircraft before starting up for an operation over Sicily.
The Citation is as follows:
Throughout a large number of operational sorties, this officer has displayed outstanding courage and determination and, by his example and leadership, he has achieved some remarkable successes, often in the face of intense enemy opposition and during adverse weather. In April 1945, while leading a section of four aircraft in support of our forward troops, Squadron Leader Doyle’s aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and severely damaged. Nevertheless, he continued the attack and destroyed four of the enemy’s mechanical transport. (LG 21/8/1945 p 4224)
Jack was discharged from No.21 PTC on the 21st February 1946 and after one job which he disliked, he settled into the television industry as a cameraman. He was a pioneer in the development of underwater photography and, in 1965, did the underwater filming for the ABC’s very first production. Jack also made a documentary on Thursday Island about the cultured pearl industry, filming the Islanders wearing helmets and Japanese divers in their scuba gear. In 1967-68, he filmed the underwater sections of the ABC’s drama series, The Contrabandits.
Throughout his life, he was active in the Air Force Association with 3 and 450 Squadrons. He took his grandson, Ashley, to London for the dedication ceremony of the 450 Squadron Crest in the RAF Chapel at St. Clement Danes Church.
The following obituary is courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald:
In July 1949, Doyle married Merle Moody in Toowoomba and they moved to Sydney, settling in Dee Why. He spent a few years with an engineering company, but working with heavy machinery in an enclosed and noisy environment did not appeal to him.
From the late 1950s to the late 1970s, he worked in the television film industry as a cine cameraman, providing news footage for television stations and filming promotional and other material for Qantas, the Department of Immigration and other organisations.
He was a pioneer in the development of underwater photography and, in 1965, did the first underwater story assigned by the ABC in Australia, using a home-made waterproof camera encasement of perspex and brass, based on the pressure cooker, to film HMS Sirius’s anchor, which had been lying for about 175 years just off the coast of Norfolk Island.
Doyle also made a documentary on Thursday Island about the cultured pearl industry, filmed underwater with native helmet divers and Japanese divers with scuba gear. In 1967-68, he filmed the underwater components of an early ABC drama series, The Contrabandits.
At 78, Doyle took up road cycling and won a bronze and two silver medals in the 75 to 79 age division at the 1995 Australian Masters Games in Melbourne. He had earlier complained about having to compete against 72-year-old “youngsters”, so he fought to get the 75 to 79 age division included. He also competed in seven Goulburn to Liverpool road races.
Doyle retired to Toowoomba in 1991. He and Merle divorced in 1993 and he met Billie Whitford, the widow of a former pilot, in 1995. They were together until her death in 2007.
In Toowoomba, Doyle joined the Photographic Society, was involved with the Air Force Association and was active with 3 and 450 Squadrons.
Jack Doyle is survived by his sons Alan and Bruce, daughters-in-law Sue and Anne and grandchildren Alana, Natalie, Ashley and Justin.
David Hamilton, and Citations by Jack Langley
Updated by Vince Conant
The Spitfire Association