Italy Star : Flying Officer A W Lehdey, 458 Squadron, RAAF

Place Europe: Italy
Accession Number REL42293.003
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Medal
Physical description Bronze
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1946
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Italy Star, un-named as issued.

History / Summary

Associated with the service of 420213 Flying Officer Arthur William Lehdey, who was born in Lithgow, NSW on 24 June 1914. After obtaining his intermediate high school certificate, Lehdey worked as a shop assistant and rural worker. He was working as a demolisher when the Second World War began. He enlisted in the RAAF on 11 October 1941 in Sydney and was accepted for aircrew training. After passing his initial training, Lehdey was posted to 5 Elementary Flying Training School at Narromine to begin pilot training, flying Tiger Moths.

After successfully passing this course, Lehdey was posted to Point Cook, Victoria in early May 1942 for flight training on Oxford aircraft. He was promoted to temporary sergeant in October and completed his course in November, before being posted to England for further flight training and conversion to Wellington bombers

Lehdey spent all of 1943 and early 1944 in England with various training and operational training units. In April 1944 he was posted to the Middle East. He arrived in North Africa in May and was posted to 458 Squadron, then based in Italy, where he arrived in late June. He was immediately involved in operational flying in an anti-shipping and conventional bombing role. In August he took part in 458 Squadron's support of the Allied invasion of Southern France.

On 26 January 1945, 458 Squadron relocated to Gibraltar. For the remainder of the war, Lehdey flew escort duty for Allied convoys and searched for German submarines in the Western Atlantic.

After the end of the war in Europe in May, 458 Squadron was disbanded on 9 June. Lehdey embarked from England for Australia on 14 October, disembarking in Sydney on 4 November. He returned to Orange, NSW where he married Avis Hockey on 17 November. Lehdey was discharged from the RAAF on 21 December 1945.