Son of Edward Thomas Odgers and Mabel Evelyn Ellie Odgers, of Arlgaston, South Australia.
Please see the following link to the BBC website WORLD WAR 2 - PEOPLE'S WAR, which tells the story of the death of WO Odgers and his comrades whilst returning to their airbase at Oulton when they were apparently shot down by a German fighter whilst preparing to land.
Son of Francis an Mabel O'Hara of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Husband of Emily Walton (m 1937, d 1978) then Elizabeth Kershaw (m 1982, d 1997)
3196 SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 21 JULY 1942
Award of the Distinguished Flying Medal
"After crossing Holland, Sergeant O'Hara, the navigator, who had skilfully guided his captain thus far, observed 2 enemy fighters closing in. Sergeant Watson, who was tending the injured wireless operator, immediately attempted to man his turret but it was jammed. With the assistance of Sergeant O'Hara, who held his legs, he managed to reach his guns and he then delivered an effective burst at the leading fighter, which caused it to dive towards the sea completely out of-control.
Throughout the operation, these airmen displayed unflinching courage, great fortitude and splendid team work in foiling the attacks of 5 enemy fighters, 3 of which were shot down. Their conduct upheld the highest traditions of the Royal Air Force."
From THE DAILY TELEGRAPH OBITUARIES 2005
Flight Lieutenant Pat O'Hara (Arthur Patrick O'Hara)
"Pat O'Hara died on 22 January 2005. aged 91.His first wife, Emily, whom he married in 1937, died in 1978. In 1982 he married his second wife, Betty, who died in 1997. Two daughters by his first marriage survive him.
After attending St Bede's School in his home town, he worked for a local potato merchant, then volunteered for the RAF at the end of 1940. Considered, at 27, too old to be a pilot, he was accepted for navigator training.
O'Hara joined No 214 Squadron at Stradishall and flew 10 operations, including the first 1,000-bomber raid on Cologne.
Flight Lieutenant Pat O'Hara was a navigator in one of the most remarkable examples of combat between an RAF heavy bomber and German night fighters in the Second World War.
His Stirling bomber N3751 of No 214 Squadron attacked Bremen on the night of June 27-28 1942, and was hit by anti-aircraft fire over the target. With one of the engines ablaze, the aircraft set off for home on its three remaining engines. It was approaching the Zuider Zee when a German night fighter attacked from below, killing the rear gunner and damaging another engine.
A second fighter blew a large hole in the bomber's fuselage before one of the surviving gunners shot it down.
The front gunner had left his turret to render aid to the wounded wireless operator when the Australian captain, Sergeant Frank Griggs, warned him that two more fighters were attacking. Rushing back to his turret he found it would not rotate because it was jammed; with O'Hara holding his legs, the gunner was just able to lean forward and fire the guns. One of the fighters flew into the cone of fire and was destroyed.
When the other German aircraft attacked, the mid-upper gunner engaged it, but one of the two guns jammed. With the remaining gun he shot down the fighter. Another fighter was also beaten off.
The bomber had descended during this engagement, and the pilot was struggling to maintain control; the tailplane hit the sea and was partly ripped away before he could climb to a safe height.
O'Hara showed great skill in guiding his aircraft to the airfield at Stradishall, in Suffolk, by map-reading and astro-navigation. Also, the three working engines had sustained damage and the undercarriage could not be lowered. Just before reaching the airfield, two more engines failed, and the pilot made a belly-landing after crashing through the boundary fence of the airfield.
The RAF described their night's work as "a memorable operation", and the six surviving crew members were awarded the DFM.
He attacked other targets in Germany before he and Griggs, his pilot, were commissioned and left to join No 109 Squadron, just as it was converting to the Mosquito and transferring to the Pathfinder Force.
No 109 was pioneering the new, and highly accurate, blind-bombing target-marking technique known as Oboe. Flying down a narrow radio beam directed towards the target by a ground-based emitter, the Mosquito dropped flares and markers over the target for the main bomber force. O'Hara and his pilot were one of the original six crews.
By early 1943 they had flown seven operations against heavily defended targets, and the early difficulties experienced with the unique system, which had been developed by the scientists at the Telecommunications Research Establishment at Malvern, had been resolved.
Griggs and O'Hara were the first to drop a new type of target-marker when they spearheaded the attack on Dusseldorf on January 27 1943, flying at 27,000 ft, where they were untroubled by the intense flak directed at the main bombers flying below them. O'Hara had soon flown more than 50 operations, the majority against targets in the Ruhr. For his "outstanding record, efficiency and unfailing determination", he was awarded the DFC.
When his pilot returned to Australia, O'Hara flew a few sorties with another pilot whose navigator was ill. Just 10 minutes before he was due to take off with this pilot for another attack against the Ruhr, the pilot's own navigator said he was fit to fly and took O'Hara's place. The crew was shot down and killed over the target.
After a period as an instructor at the Mosquito Pathfinder Training Unit, O'Hara returned to No 109 as one of the most experienced Oboe-Mosquito navigators.
He flew many daylight attacks against V1 sites, airfields and communications targets in the build up to D-Day. After completing almost 100 sorties over enemy-occupied territory, O'Hara was finally rested. In January 1945 he was awarded a Bar to his DFC for "his continued display of high courage".
O'Hara joined No 147 Squadron flying both passengers and freight in Dakotas between the UK and recently captured airfields on the Continent.
In September 1946 O'Hara was appointed to be a navigator in the King's Flight. When George VI and Queen Elizabeth made a royal tour of South Africa in the spring of 1947, O'Hara formed part of the crew of the No 3 aircraft carrying the Royal Household staff.
At the end of 1947, he left the RAF to become an air traffic controller with the Civil Aviation Authority. After appointments at Speke (Liverpool airport) and Ringway, Manchester, O'Hara became a radar consultant at the headquarters of the CAA in London. He finally retired in 1974.
A keen gardener and long-serving member of the Chester Golf Club, O'Hara maintained close links with his former colleagues in the Pathfinder and Aircrew Associations."
Source : 214 Squadron ORB and London Gazette and National Archives Air Records AIR/50/233/13 and The Daily Telegraph Obituaries Section and Ancestry.co.uk
Date record last updated : 8 January 2021
Sgt Benjamin Oldroyd, 1084594, Rear Gunner, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, KIA 21 April 1943, Aged 22
Son of Martin Gilbert and Eva Lucretia Eveline Olds, of New Brighton, Canterbury, New Zealand; husband of Olive Kathleen Olds.
Linda Harbord, FS Old's great neice writes:
"Uncle Fred was my maternal grandmother's youngest brother. The above photo was taken in 1942 or or 1943. My mother and her sisters remember Uncle Fred and Aunty Olive as rather a happy-go-lucky couple prior to the war.
Fred's middle name, "Rossini" came not from any Italian blood, but from the fact that my great-grandfather was an opera buff.
Aunty Olive died a few months before Uncle Fred in a motor cycle accident. They had no children.
My mother tells me after Aunty Olive's death Uncle Fred's crewmates clubbed together and bought him a wireless, so that he would "not be so lonely".
Fred was nicknamed "granddad" or "grandpa" because he was one of the older men in the crew.
The family story is that Uncle Fred had been shot down before, and the French Resistance helped him get back to England.
After the loss of Uncle Fred's plane ("Flying Fortress Mark III HB796 BU-T") which was presumed lost in the North Sea on 9 February 1945, my great-grandmother kept in touch for some time with the mother of another crew member, James Peter Robertson, whose body was recovered, unlike Uncle Fred's."
Source : Linda Harbord (great-niece) and CWGC and Geoff Swallow (Australian researcher) and Chorley
Is also listed on returning operational aircrew on 31 August 1944
Source : George Mackie
Date record last updated : 28 July 2008
O'NEIL, J M
taken 16 February 2006 on his 90th birthday
Flt/Lt Joseph Maxwell 'Max' O'Neil MiD, 407605, Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, Royal Australian Air Force, Nationality : Australian
Born 16 February 1916
Born in Adelaide, South Australia
Son of Daniel Joseph and Ella May O'Neil
Max O'Neil RAAF was in the crew of Clarrie Woods RAAF, and completed 30 ops on Wellington Mk1C and Stirling Mk 111 BU-G, the latter with 214 Sqn from Stradishall in 1942. He returned to Australia in 1943 and flew more ops in RAAF Beauforts over the Pacific islands until the end of the war. Max has been an Association member for a number of years, but at the age of 91, he had advanced dementia and was well cared for in a veteran's home in Adelaide. His daughter, Mrs. Pam Anderson lives in Tasmania, and now deals with her father's 214 Sqn matters. Max wrote a book entitled " The Inevitable War - A Personal Memoir", the contents being written before his health deteriorated. The book was published in 2007 by his son Danny Maxwell O'Neil and his grandson Danny. Only fifty books were produced and none are now available. However it is available in CD format. If you would like a copy please contact Pam Anderson via the website.
Died 2 September 2008 aged 92.
Source : Pam Anderson (Daughter) and Danny O'Neil (Son) and Nightjar Newsletter Summer 2008 Personal Memoirs' by Max O'Neil and Flying Log Book
Date record last updated : 28 October 2008
Plt/Off Daniel O'Neill, Air Gunner, J/93043, Royal Canadian Air Force, Nationality : Canadian. KIA 03 February 1943.
Arnold Schothorst writes :
"One of the most interesting facts that we discovered is also very interesting for the RAF squadron 214. In short; We found and translated the book of the German officer Bundrock who was the navigator/shutter of the Messerschmit who has shot down the RAF Stirling R 9197 above Leusden at 3 February 1943. He described in detail the airfight and the crash of his own Messerschmit . From this story we can conclude that the gunner O’Neill of the RAF Stirling has shot the last salvo’s of the Stirling which were fatal for the Messerschmit and killing for its pilot the German "famous’’ Kaptain Knacke."