LEST WE FORGET
Sergeant Geoffrey Cyril COLDREY
Service No: 3382
Born: Prahran VIC, 7 December 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 16 May 1938 (at RAAF Station Point Cook VIC)
Unit: No. 1 Squadron, operating from Kota Baru, Malaya
Died: Air Operations: (No. 1 Squadron Hudson aircraft A16-19), Malaya, 8 December 1941, Aged 28 Years
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederic Henry and Ethel May Coldrey, of East Brighton, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Prahran VIC
Remembered: Column 412, Singapore Memorial, Singapore
Remembered: Panel 97, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
At 8 minutes past 2 a.m., in clearing weather with a rising moon, the first Hudson took off followed at intervals of only two or three minutes by six more. Because of the nearness of the enemy ships to the coast and the low cloud base out to sea the pilots were ordered to make independent low-level attacks on any transports they could find and to report promptly what enemy forces they sighted. Each aircraft carried four 250-lb bombs fused for eleven seconds delay. The pilot of the first Hudson, Flight Lieutenant Lockwood (1) on making his approach at 2,000 feet, sighted the three transports and dived to 50 feet to release two bombs. No hits were observed; as his attack drew heavy fire from the ships he took evasive action and again flew in and released his remaining two bombs. Flight Lieutenant Ramshaw, who followed Lockwood in to the attack, confirmed that Lockwood’s second salvo had scored direct hits on the vessel amidships. From the first seven sorties, one Hudson, piloted by Flight Lieutenant John Graham Leighton Jones (570), did not return.
In ten more sorties the Hudson crews continued their bombing and machine-gunning attacks on the transports and on the barges which were moving to-and-fro between them and the shore. Flight Lieutenant Smith (2) and his crew scored a direct hit with two bombs in the centre of a group of about ten barges close to the beach and saw a number of them overturn. From their second sortie Ramshaw and his crew, with which Flying Officer Dowie still flew as observer, failed to return.
(1) Flight Lieutenant John McAlister Hardman Lockwood (554) was killed on air operations on 14 February 1942.
(2) Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Read Smith DFC (290514) (Pilot) was discharged from the RAAF on 1 April 1946.
Extract from Gillison, D. (Douglas) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – Pages 208, 210
On 8 December 1941, Hudson A 16-19 dropped its bombs on a Japanese cruiser off Kota Bharu, Malaya, and shortly after it crashed into the sea. Flying Officer Dowie saw Flight Lieutenant Ramshaw drifting some distance away from him, but Ramshaw was badly injured and disappeared. Dowie saw no sign of the other crew members.
The crew members of A16-19 were:
Sergeant Jeffrey Cyril Coldrey (3382) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Ronald Alexander Dowie (649) (Second Pilot) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 11 January 1946
Flight Lieutenant John Christopher Ramshaw (552) (Pilot)
Sergeant Garet Sidney White (407309) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/98/394
Vincent, D. (David) The RAAF Hudson Story Book 1, D. Vincent Highbury SA 5089, 1989
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992