Dave, as he was known to his friends, was born in Brisbane on the 16th January 1918.
He joined the RAAF in 1940 and began pilot training on No.3 course of the Empire Aviation Training Scheme. Dave received his “Wings” in Canada and finished training with an Operation Training Unit in England. A Group Captain, Victor Beamish, then allocated incoming pilots to their squadrons. He suggested to Dave and some mates that they might like to go to four-cannon Hurricane squadrons, which were being formed to deal with German Flak ships in the English Channel. They turned down the idea and Dave was sent to No 452 Squadron, under the command of Squadron Leader Bungey. He served with the Squadron from November 1941 until Novmber 1943. During this time, the Squadron returned to Australia in June 1942 and reassembled again in January 1943 in the Northern Territory. He had one confirmed victory with the Squadron in 1943.
At some time, Dave was posted from No. 8 Operational Training Unit as a supernumerary Flight Lietenant for another tour of operational duty, this time with 457 Squadron. It is assumed that he was with them in the Northern Territory and later on, in Morotai (Halmahera Islands in Indonesia) and Labuan, off the northern coast of Borneo.
The photo below is of some 452 Squadron pilots in February 1942, when they were based at RAF Station in Redhill, England. From left to right: 402157 Pilot Officer John Rodney Henry Elphick; 403463 Flying Officer Robert Armstrong; 400213 Squadron Leader Keith William Truscott DFC (died 28 March 1943 in Western Australia); 402256 Pilot Officer Mark Ernest Sheldon (died 11 August 1942 on operations over New Guinea); 402260 Flight Lieutenant Raymond Harold Charles Sly (died 9 May 1942 on operations in Malta) and Pilot Officer Davidson Freeman Evans.
The next photo is of some of the 452 Squadron pilots in the dispersal hut at RAF Station Kenley in late 1941. From left to right in the background is Pilot Officer R.H.C. Sly, Sergeant R.H. Bevan, Sergeant W.J. Wilkinson, Sergeant J.R. Ross, Sergeant J.M. Morrison. In the foreground is Sergeant D.F.K. Downes, Sergeant K.D. Bassett, Flight Lietenant K.W. Truscott, Pilot Officer D.F. Evans, Flight Sergeant Baldwin (RAF) and Pilot Officer R.H. Whillans.
Further down are some poker faced Squadron 452 pilots supposedly playing a relaxed game, not Russian Roulette, even though there are .38 Smith and Wessens on the table. They are on readiness at Strauss Strip in 1943. Dave is in the middle, seated and shirtless, directly in front of the immaculately scarfed Ross Williams.
The other photos are of some of the pilots at Strauss Dispersals: Mawer (Possibly G.A. Mawer who was KIA 26th September 1943), Pilot Officer A.T. Ruskin Rowe, Dave and Young. Then there is Dave with a mate while he was somewhere in the bush outside Darwin in 1943. The last one is of Dave on the left, Mick Simmonds in the middle and George Scrimgeour on the right. This was taken in Morotai in 1945 when Dave was with 457 Squadron.
After the war, Dave established a farm machinery business in Boonah, Queensland, which he expanded to cover other country towns. In 2000, he was awarded the Order of Australia medal for service to his community and lifelong support of the Salvation Army. He died on the 19th May 2001 aged 83.
The Spitfire Association