Geoff, or Harpo as he was known to his mates, was born on the 30th September 1922 in Malvern, Victoria. He enlisted in the RAAF in Perth on the 4th August 1942.
After training in Australia, Geoff qualified as a fighter pilot and was posted to 457 Squadron (Spitfires) in January 1944. 457 Squadron was part of 1 Fighter Wing, defending Darwin, and was based in Livingstone. On the 13th May 1944, the Squadron was transferred to the newly formed 80 Wing and moved to Sattler. During the Squadron’s time as part of Darwin’s air garrison, it detached aircraft on several occasions to Milingimbi, Drysdale, Perth and Exmouth.
The group photo of 457 Squadron was taken 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” wwCreagh, Unknown, Adjutant, Alfred V. “Noel” Ede and L. Allen Leeming.
Geoff was injured in a flying accident on the 9th July 1944. ADF Serials records the accident as follows:
Accident 1545 hrs when engine failed in flight during shadow shooting exercises along the western side of Sattler strip, forcing the pilot to perform a wheels up forced landing at Sattler Strip. The aircraft crashed onto the strip and was extensively damaged. The pilot, Flight Sergeant G.G. Marks, was injured with lacerations and a fractured spine.
Unfortunately, Geoff never recovered his health. He was discharged on the 10th July 1945 from No.1 Medical Rehab Unit in Warburton.
David Hamilton and Phil Listemann (author of “The History of 457 Squadron”)
Updated by Vince Conant
The Spitfire Association