Commander Brian Gregory O'Connell RAN (Ret'd) as a lieutenant observer, 817 Squadron, Sydney Carrier Air Group, Korea 1951-1952, interviewed by Colonel David Chinn MBE (Rtd)

Accession Number S02801
Collection type Sound
Measurement 1 hr 27 min
Object type Oral history
Physical description 1/4 inch sound tape reel; BASF SM 468; 15 ips/38 cm.s; stereo; 10 inch NAB
Maker Australian War Memorial
Date made 7 November 2002
Access Open
Conflict Korea, 1950-1953

Item copyright: Status to be assessed

Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Source credit to AWM Oral History Program

Brian O'Connell talks about: service in the Second World War, first in the Army and then as aircrew in the RAAF; his aircrew training through to being part of a Lancaster crew; being shot down on his 28th sortie and his escape to England; post war employment and his being accepted as an observer in the RAN Fleet Air Arm; his training and working up with No.817 Squadron for service in Korea; the Firefly; the aircrew daily routine at sea; the work up aboard HMAS Sydney en route to Korean waters; No.817 Squadron crews;
operating heights and ground fire; a comparison of navigation techniques with those used in Bomber Command; the dangers of loose objects in the cockpit; launching from an aircraft carrier; spotting naval gunfire; anti-submarine patrols; enemy fighters; close air support; dive bombing being of limited success; armament loads; targets of opportunity; flying in daylight only; carrier-borne ground liaison officers; the intensity of flying; weather and flying; Typhoon Ruth and HMAS Sydney: operating Fireflys without an observer; the effectiveness of enemy camouflage; some aircrew losses and some rescues; aircrew and air engineering staff morale; Chaplain Grantly Lake and Commander "Vat" Smith; award winners from the Second World War aboard the Sydney: the physical stress of dive-bombing; being hit in the petrol tank but recovering safely; some influential Sydney personnel; and arguments in favour of carrying an observer aboard the Firefly.