O'Riordan, Clifford Timothy (Flying Officer, b.1909 - d.1943)

Accession Number 3DRL/4164
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement 1 wallet: 1 cm
Object type Diary
Maker O'Riordan, Clifford Timothy
Place made United Kingdom: England
Date made 1942-1943
Access Open
Related File This file can be copied or viewed via the Memorial’s Reading Room. AWM315 419/078/012
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain

Copying Provisions Copying permitted subject to physical condition
Source credit to This item has been digitised with funding provided by Commonwealth Government.

Collection relating to the Second World War service of 403397 Flying Officer Clifford Timothy O'Riordan, No 460 and No 103 Squadron, RAAF. The collection consists of two chronologically consecutive diaries detailing O'Riordan's experiences running bombing operations over Germany and Italy in 1942 and 1943. The diaries give vivid and detailed descriptions of air battles and bombing raids on places such as Essen, Hamburg, Milan, Dortmund, Dusseldorf, Berlin and Duisberg. The diaries contain entries on his activities while on leave, his thoughts on mortality, and many mentions of his colleagues by name.

On O'Riordan's 34th birthday he writes: 'Looking back in my diary to my last birthday, I notice that I said I'd be content with one more natal day. Well I want another one now and more after that ... In civvie life I never thought much about the inevitable end, and if the odd thought flashed through my mind, I instantly banned it as something that one should not consider while young and healthy. Nowadays chaps are going daily. Someone says in the mess "Did you hear that so and so has 'gone for a burton'?" The answer is generally "Go on! What sort of kite was he in" or "Did he get it here or in Germany." Probably followed by an anecdote of what happened on the last drunken do with the chap in London. No great grieving or eulogies for the bloke but probably - "bad luck, he was a good egg and a great beer drinker." Perhaps that is why I can think about such a subject without getting morbid.'

The diaries also contain frequent mentions of the court-martial proceedings at which O'Riordan, who trained as a lawyer, regularly represented his colleagues. The second diary (marked S.O. Book 135) opens with an operation to La Spezia, Italy, across the Alps, which 'looked like a travel poster'. Entries describe visits to the squadron from the King and Queen, and mention a visit from Air Commodore Henry Wrigley and Dr Evatt. O'Riordan's last entry is dated 29 July 1943, after which date a different (unknown) writer takes up the task of making daily entries about the squadron's activities up to 27 August 1943. The entry of 29 July contains a tribute to Flying Officer O'Riordan, whose Lancaster ED 525 bomber was shot down over Hamburg, Germany, on July 30 1943, killing all seven crew members. It is understood that a diary comprising 'Volume 1' also existed, but to date it has not been located.

O'Riordan was born in Sydney and educated at Riverview College before studying law at the University of Sydney. He was admitted to the NSW Bar and became successful as a divorce lawyer before enlisting for the RAAF in 1941. O'Riordan is buried at Becklingen War Cemetery, Luneburg, Germany.