Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar : Flight Lieutenant Christopher John Sugden, RAAF

Accession Number REL43487.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Silver
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1950
Conflict Korea, 1950-1953
Vietnam, 1962-1975

Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar. Engraved reverse lower arm with year of issue.

History / Summary

Christopher John Sugden was born on 3 April, 1922 and enlisted into the RAAF on 28 April, 1941. He served during the Second World War as a pilot of Boston bombers in New Guinea and later as a fighter pilot flying Meteor jets with 77 Squadron in the Korean War.

Sugden was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in Korea for 'Leadership, determination, courage, organization and planning in attacks against Communist convoys'. The citation states: ' Flight Lieutenant Sugden, RAAF, has been a member of No 77 (Interceptor/Fighter) Squadron, Korea, from November 1952 to March 1952. During this period he has flown one hundred and two operational sorties against the enemy. In the morning of 16th March 1953, Flight Lieutenant Sugden, as officer commanding 'A' Flight, was personally responsible for the organisation and planning of a highly successful attack against a large communist convoy in rugged terrain in the Wonsan area. These raids, totaling thirty-four sorties accounted for the destruction of one hundred and one troop laden vehicles. This officer led a section of these aircraft and he himself left blazing thirteen trucks. Although his aircraft was hit by enemy fire in the starboard engine and the port tail plane, he continued attacking until all his ammunition was expended. During this flight and many other combat missions, Flight Lieutenant Sugden has sought out and destroyed large quantities of enemy material. His skill in this regard is exceptional. He has displayed outstanding leadership, determination and courage throughout his tour and by doing so has brought credit on himself, the Royal Australian Air Force and the United nations in Korea. He received also a Queens Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air in 1953. As Commanding Officer of RAAF Task Force Vietnam, he received a bar to the DFC as a Squadron Leader for gallant and distinguished service in Vietnam during 1965. The citation for this states: 'During his tour in Vietnam, Squadron leader Sugden rendered distinguished service. Although the aircraft under his command were subjected to increasing accurate ground fire, he constantly improved effectiveness of his unit and this was due, to large extent, to his personal example. His initiative and leadership in the air were directly responsible for the development of the effective flare dropping capability now possessed by the Flight. He trained his aircrews to make assault landings on extremely short landing grounds and evolved and tested improved aerial re-supply procedures now in use. He also developed the use of aerodrome intelligence folders which materially improved the safety of operations. None of these accomplishments could be achieved had it not been for the outstanding courage, professional skill and devotion to duty displayed by this officer.'