Service dress tunic : Air Commodore R N Dalkin, RAAF

Place Oceania: Australia
Accession Number REL33353
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Anodised aluminium, Brass, Cotton, Gold bullion thread, Silk, Velvet, Wool gabardine
Maker Gieves Ltd
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made October 1962
Conflict Period 1960-1969

RAAF blue wool gabardine winter service dress tunic with self fabric belt secured by brass slides at each side seam, cotton tabs and press studs, and a brass buckle, stamped 'K G LUKE MELB VIC D (broad arrow) D'. There are broad black and light blue rank stripes for air commodore on each cuff. The tunic fastens down the front with four buttons and has a pair of pleated patch breast pockets with triple pointed flaps, expanding pockets with plain flaps over each hip and a centre back vent. All buttons on the tunic are gold anodised aluminium eagle and crown pattern. Above the left breast pocket is a gold bullion and velvet embroidered pilot's brevet. Beneath are medal ribbons for Distinguished Flying Cross, 1939-45 Star, Pacific Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, British War Medal 1939-45, Australia Service Medal, Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal and Air Efficiency Award. The body of the tunic is lined with blue silk and the sleeves with white silk. A Gieve's Limited manufacturer's label is sewn inside the inside pocket of the right front.

History / Summary

Associated with the service of O21919 Air Commodore Robert Nixon Dalkin. Dalkin was born in England on 21 February 1914 and immigrated to Australia in 1929. After two unsuccessful attempts to join the Royal Australian Air Force in the early 1930s he was accepted as a cadet in December 1939 and was allocated the service number 260612. Obtaining his commission as a pilot officer on 4 May 1940 Dalkin was posted to flying training duties at several units before completing a Navigation and Reconnaissance course at Point Cook in Victoria. He was then posted to 2 Squadron at Laverton, Victoria where he undertook conversion training to become a pilot, capable of flying the Lockheed Hudson bomber. In 14 months he completed over 50 anti submarine and convoy escort sorties. On 14 March 1942 Dalkin was posted to Darwin as flight commander of 'B' Flight, 13 Squadron with the rank of flight lieutenant. He immediately commenced operational flying in Hudsons against the Japanese, taking part in the first attack on Japanese shipping and facilities at Ambon in conjunction with a formation from 2 Squadron. Over the next ten weeks Dalkin flew more than 200 hours and 24 sorties over Ambon and Timor including three offensive reconnaissance missions, nine strikes and 12 patrols. During most of these operations his crew consisted of: Sergeant Arthur James Charles Palmer, Sergeant Roydon William Richard Lugg and Sergeant Clifford Douglas Fisher. On one occasion Dalkin's crew led a flight of four aircraft in a moonlight attack on Koepang, Timor. Two of the aircraft made an attack upon shipping, while Dalkin led the remaining aircraft in an attack upon the aerodrome, diving to 1500 feet before releasing bombs on the enemy aircraft lining the runway. In addition to releasing their bombs Dalkin's crew machine-gunned grounded aircraft despite intense anti aircraft fire. It was estimated that six enemy aircraft were destroyed in this attack and two others probably destroyed. On 8 July Dalkin was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for 'displaying outstanding courage and determination' in the course of his many operational flights. 13 Squadron was also awarded the United States Presidential Unit Citation for outstanding performance of duty in action from 13 April to 25 August 1942. Dalkin remained with 13 Squadron throughout 1942 also serving as Operations Officer, Head Quarters North Western Area until posted south as an instructor at 1 Operational Training Unit in 1943, and later Chief Instructor at Bairnsdale Victoria. In October 1944 he was posted to liaison duties in England with Royal Air Force Bomber Command. There he flew operations to assess RAF techniques that could be developed for use by the RAAF in the Pacific. Dalkin returned to Australia at the end of the war and following demobilisation was a founding member of Trans Australia Airlines. However he rejoined the RAAF only a few months later, and was allocated the service number O21919. Dalkin gained a permanent commission as a squadron leader in September 1946. Appointed wing commander in 1950 and group captain in 1956 Dalkin held a variety of posts through his career, including an appointment as honorary Aide-de-camp to the Governor General. Dalkin retired in 1968 with the rank of (honorary) air commodore and was appointed to the post of Administrator of Norfolk Island. In 1974 he published a book 'Colonial era cemetery of Norfolk Island'. He was also patron of the RAAF Hudson Squadrons Association until his death in 1991.