Kenneth was born on the 12th September 1919 in Ashfield, New South Wales and enlisted on the 19th August 1940 in Sydney.
Initially, he was posted to 124 Squadron RAF in the UK between November 1941 and September 1942.
(Web Master: 124 Squadron was reformed in May 1941 as a fighter unit equipped with Spitfire 1s, stationed at RAF Castletown, to provide air defence for the naval base at Scapa Flow. In mid November, about the time that Kenneth probably arrived, it was moved to RAF Biggin Hill, where it took over Spitfire Vs. The Squadron began convoy patrols and and then started flying escort missions over France. At the end of July 1942, the Squadron became operational with high-altitude Spitfire VIs.)
Kenneth then joined 452 Squadron RAAF in April 1943 for another tour of operations. During his time with the Squadron, he would have been flying Spitfires while based in Darwin. There, as a Pilot Officer, he was at readiness on the day when the Squadron was ordered to scramble RAID 54 launched by the Japanese. They took off at 0955 hrs with Wing Commander Clive “Killer” Caldwell flying and leading the Wing. An Enemy formation of 21 bombers escorted by 25 to 30 fighters was sighted at about 27,000 feet approaching Darwin. 452 Squadron was the last to attack. Kenneth made three attacks against enemy fighters, but was eventually hit in the engine by a fighter attacking from abeam. His engine seized almost at once, the propeller stopped and he was forced to abandon his aircraft, which ditched into Darwin Harbour at about 1045 hrs. He was not injured and was later rescued from his dinghy. The photo is of Kenneth and his mates in 452 Squadron at Sattler in 1944.
In February 1944, his tour expired and he left the RAAF the following month to serve as a civil pilot in an Australian airline. Kenneth’s Half Yearly Return of Flying Hours for December 1943 showed that he had flown the DH82, Wirraway, Miles Master, Spitfire and Hurricane so he would have had a very good CV.
Paul Carter and Phil Listemann
Updated by Vince Conant
The Spitfire Association