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AUSTEN, Robert James Flying Officer, No.408 Squadron, J15710 Distinguished Flying Cross RCAF Personnel Awards 1939-1949
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AUSTEN, F/O Robert James (J15710) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.408 Squadron - Award effective 5 December 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 293/45 dated 16 February 1945. Born in Toronto, 27 June 1911; enlisted in Toronto, 2 July 1940. To No.1 ITS, 20 July 1940; promoted LAC, 16 September 1940 and posted to No.2 WS; to No.4 BGS, 14 February 1941; promoted Sergeant, 16 March 1941; posted that date to Embarkation Depot. To RAF overseas, 5 April 1942. Commissioned 13 July 1942. Repatriated 23 March 1945. To No.1 Air Command, 3 April 1945; to Eastern Air Command, 14 June 1945. Released 27 March 1945. Award presented 27 June 1946. Photo PL-32806 (ex UK-15192 dated 18 September 1944) shows S/L W.F. Butcher (left, Milton, Ontario, former pastor of St.John’s Presbyterian Church in Medicine Hat, padre in RCAF Bomber Group) receives good wishes on his posting from S/L C.K. Sansbury (Toronto, Anglican minister in Tokyo for nine years, padre on same station); in centre is F/L Robert Austen, wireless air gunner, Toronto, “just completed two tours of operational flying, the last one with the Goose squadron.” RCAF photo PL-32924 (exUK-15121 dated 20 September 1944) shows F/O “Sandy” De Zorzi (left, navigator, Toronto) and F/L Robert James Austen (right, WAG, Toronto) on completion of their second tour, posed with wheel of a Halifax; RCAF photo PL-32926 (ex UK-15123 dated 20 September 1944) is captioned as follows: “The final interrogation is on for these members of the Goose Squadron of RCAF Bomber Group as they have just finished their tour of operational flying. Part of a crew of which five members have completed two tours, they bombed Le Havre in a daylight sortie as their final effort. Left to right around the table - F/L H.R. Fair, St.Johns, Quebec (intelligence officer), S/L C.L. Walton, Saskatoon, senior intelligence officer, F/O Sandy DeZorzi, navigator of Toronto, F/L Bon Clouthier, pilot, of Vancouver, Sergeant Joe McCart, one-tour flight engineer of Stirling, Scotland, and F/L Bob Austen, wireless air gunner of Toronto. F/O DeZorzi and F/L Clouthier did both their tours together while F/L Austen is also a two-tour vet,” PL-35400 is a portrait. // Flying Officer Austen has completed a second tour of operational duty and throughout has displayed the highest standard of devotion to duty. His keenness for air operations and his undoubted wireless skill have made him a most valuable member of aircraft crew. He has rendered excellent service. // DHH file 181.009 D.1513 (Library and Archives Canada RG.24 vol.20600) has recommendation raised by W/C R.A. McLernon, 6 October 1944 when he had completed 54 sorties (264 hours 16 minutes): // Flying Officer Austen has completed two operational tours on heavy bombers as wireless operator in an exemplary manner. A great many of his sorties took him to such heavily defended targets in Germany as Stuttgart, Hamburg and Kiel. On all occasions Flying Officer Austen has shown exceptional keenness to participate in operations and his skill as a wireless operator is of the highest order. He has set a splendid example of operational efficiency to all members of this squadron. // Flying Officer Austen has been a very great asset to this squadron by virtue of his zeal, operational aggressiveness and whole-hearted and loyal support at all times. Therefore, in my opinion, this splendid record of long and outstanding service fully merits an award of the immediate Distinguished Flying Cross.