Duckmanton, Cecil (Leading Aircraftman b.1920 - d.2013)

Accession Number AWM2017.704.3
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement Extent: 2.5 cm; Wallet/s: 1
Object type Scrapbook, Diary, Book
Maker Duckmanton, Cecil
Place made Australia, United Kingdom: England
Date made 1943-1945
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copying Provisions Copying is permitted for the purposes of research and study, subject to physical condition

Collection relating to the Second World War service of 633581 Leading Aircraftman Cecil Duckmanton, No. 457 Squadron, Royal Air Force, 1943-1945. Duckmanton served with the RAF in Australia from 6 June 1942 to 2 August 1945; his role being to repair and maintain aircraft electrical equipment for No. 457 Squadron.

The collection consists of a scrapbook, notebook, an Air Force Diary and a RAF Service and Release Book.

The scrapbook is a hardcover paper book with a green cover. It consists of newspaper articles and ephemera such as leave passes, beer labels, theatre tickets, embarkation chits, tram tickets and cards. It also contains clippings from Duckmanton's time in Australia (mainly in Darwin and Tocumwal) with No. 457 Squadron.

This notebook contains some aircraft electrician's notes, addresses, and reference to a voyage on HMT Maetsuycker from Sydney to Darwin. Within the notebook is a complete list of every RAF/RAAF base and station that Duckmanton served at; from Middlesex, Bedforshire and many other English RAF bases to RAAF Richmond, Camden, Northern Territory and Tocumwal; this list also documents his return to the United Kingdom at the end of the war.

Duckmanton's postings mirror those of the squadron: No. 457 Squadron withdrew from operations in Britain on 28 May 1942. It sailed for Australia on 21 June, arrived in Melbourne on 13 August, and re-assembled at Richmond on 6 September. The squadron began refresher training at Richmond with a motley collection of aircraft, its Spitfires having being commandeered in transit by the Royal Air Force in the Middle East. No. 457 Squadron returned to front-line service on 31 January 1943. Re-equipped with Spitfires, it was based at Batchelor in the Northern Territory and joined 1 Fighter Wing, defending Darwin. The squadron relocated to Livingstone on 31 January where it remained until it transferred to the newly-formed 80 Wing and moved to Sattler on 13 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.

The collection also includes a small red published booklet 'The Air Force Diary' 1946 which describes the structure of the Royal Air Force, aircraft types, air forces of the Empire, as well as containing a sparsely filled personal diary. The RAF Service and Release Book is dated 1946, and records Duckmanton's service from 7th February 1939 to 12th March 1946. The release was issued at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire.