Angus, or Gus as he was known to his mates, was born at Home Plaine in New South Wales on the 26th December 1917, and he enlisted in the RAAF on the 21st June 1941.
His first tour was with 611 Squadron RAF in England between September 1942 and April 1943. During his time with the Squadron, he was based at RAF Kenley, Martlesham Heath, Redhill and Biggin Hill. The Squadron carried out shipping reconnaissance, escort and defensive missions. On the 9th April 1943, the Squadron claimed four Fw 190 damaged, one of which was credited to Angus.
Angus’ combat report at the time was as follows:
I was flying as Blue 2 patrolling Cap Griz Nez to Boulogne. We had just completed a left hand turn off Griz Nez when I saw two FW 190s at 7 o’clock below, flying in the opposite direction. I called to my leader to follow, and that I was going down, but he did not hear. Black section, whom I could only just see, heard me however but lost sight of me. I chased two enemy aircraft inland just north of Griz Nez and opened fire at 450-500 yards as I thought I was losing them. They turned left and I was unable to get deflection because I was turning too fast. There was black smoke coming from both enemy aircraft, but the No.2 was belching quite a lot more than the No.1. The No.2 then broke downwards and I thought he was going to hit the deck as we were only flying at about 1000-1500 feet. I fired two long bursts using all my ammunition. I then turned to come out over Ambleteuse. The flak was very heavy and I collected one small hole in the starboard wing. Just as I got out of the flak, I was chased by three FW 190s. I dropped the jettison tank, but they still seemed too close so I turned towards them and in one turn was on their tail, but I continued turning and made for home at full throttle. Although they still chased me, they could not close – these are good aircraft. I claim one FW 190 damaged.
Gus returned to Australia in July 1943 and joined 457 Squadron, Spitfires.
457 Squadron had been returned to front-line service on the 31st January 1943 re-equipped with Spitfires. When Angus joined the Squadron it was based at Livingstone where it remained until it transferred to the newly-formed 80 Wing and moved to Sattler on the 13th May 1944. During the Squadron’s time as part of Darwin’s air garrison, it detached aircraft on several occasions to Milingimbi, Drysdale, Perth and Exmouth. While at Livingstone, the Squadron was re-equipped with an updated version of the Spitfire, imported from Britain, which arrived in a grey and green camouflage scheme. This led to the Squadron nicknaming itself the “Grey Nurse Squadron” and adorning its aircraft with a distinctive shark’s mouth on the nose.
By early July 1944, the air defence of Darwin had been handed over to several RAF squadrons, allowing 457 Squadron to be employed in ground attack, and occasionally maritime attack roles for the rest of the war. Initially, the Squadron operated against targets in the Dutch East Indies from Sattler but, as part of the 1st Tactical Air Force, it was deployed to Morotai in the Indies in early 1945. Beginning on the 10th February 1945, operations continued at a high intensity for the next three months. The Squadron relocated again, commencing operations from the island of Labuan, of the Borneo coast, on the 19th June, primarily in support of the Australian land campaign in British North Borneo.
The group photo is of 457 Squadron in 1944. From left to right: Top row: Ian C. “Geoff” Chandler, Gilbert G. “Harpo” Marks, Christopher V. “Vince” Madigan, Ronald H. Bolton, Wilfred G. “Wally” Dial, Allen C. Beckwith, J. Lysle Roberts and Frederick M “Fred” Fuernhardt.
Middle Row: Frederick J. Inger, Kenneth D. McLeod, James H. “Jim” Greaves, Percy Colin Lambert, Bob Bawden, James E. “Jimmy” Summerton, Richard L. “Dick” Due, Trevor R. Russell, Angus A “Gus” Haynes, Alexander H. “Tex” Morton, Thomas F. “Frank” Payne, Albert L. “Smoky” Lumley.
Seated: James E. “Jim” Milne, Bob Addision, Arthur J. “Nat” Gould, Lloyd L. “Danny” Boardman, Thomas H. “Tommy” Trimble, Alfred “Alf” Glendinning, Southwood C. “South” Creagh, Unknown, Adjutant, Alfred V. “Noel” Ede and L. Allen Leeming.
The other photo is of Angus’ Half-Yearly Return on Flying Hours.
Angus was discharged on the 19th October 1945 from No.8 Operational Training Unit (OTU) at Parkes.
Phil Listemann (Author of the History of 457 Squadron) and David Hamilton
Updated by Vince Conant
The Spitfire Association