O'Neil, George Connor Watson

    Date of birth:
    October 1915 (Vaucluse/New South Wales, Autralia)
    Service number:
    403475/408349.
    Nationality:
    Australian (1901-present, Federal Republic)

    Biography

    Service number Aus. 403475/408349.

    George O'Neil joined the Royal Australian Air Force in January 1941. He was twice forced to to abandon his airplane over the Mediterranean and once made a crash landing 50 miles behind enemy lines in the desert, walking the whole way back to Allied lines.
    After another close call, his CO submitted a request for O'Neil to be taken off operations and returned to Australia.

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Sergeant (now Pilot Officer)
    Unit:
    No. 450 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force
    Awarded on:
    June 29th, 1943
    Citation:
    "This Airman effected a forced landing near Namman on 25 July 1942, owing to engine failure, but succeeded in making his way back to British lines. After making a low level attack on the enemy near Churgia on 13 January 1943, he was compelled to land many miles behind the enemy's lines. Despite machine-gun fire, he penetrated those lines and reached our forces four days later. Sergeant O'Neil displayed great courage and resource in evading capture and his report was useful to the military authorities."
    Military Medal (MM)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Flying Officer
    Unit:
    No. 451 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force
    Awarded on:
    November 14th, 1944
    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    Recommedation:
    "Flying Officer O'Neil joined his present Squadron in November 1943 for his second term of operational duty. On at least three occasions his aircraft has been extensively damaged by enemy fire but by his oustanding skill and tenacity, he always succeeded in returning safely to base. In June 1944, he took part in an attack on ground targets in central Italy and although his aircraft had been badly hit by ground fire he continued his mission, leaving one truck in flames and four others damaged. His skill alone enabled him to cross 400 miles of sea, before his engine caught fire, forcing him to abandon his aircraft. This Officer has always shown outstanding coolness and courage."
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    With "NORTH AFRICA 1942-43" clasp

    Africa Star

    Sources

    • - Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36070 published on the 25 June 1943
      - Third Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36793 published on the 10 November 1944
      - Christies