LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Jacques DUPONT DFM

Service No: 400114
Born: Toorak VIC, 15 September 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 27 May 1940
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM)
Unit: No. 461 Squadron, Pembroke Dock
Died: Air Operations: (No. 461 Squadron Sunderland aircraft JM676), Bay of Biscay, 29 November 1943, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Louis France du Pont and Lucie du Pont, of Toorak, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 187, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 108, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW

DFM Citation: (for service with No. 230 Squadron RAF): In December 1941, this airman was a gunner of a Sunderland aircraft which was attacked by 2 Messerschmitt fighter aircraft. In the first of several attacks, two of the Sunderland’s gunners were wounded but Sergeant Dupont continued to use his guns most effectively. His accurate fire finally caused the attackers to terminate the engagement and one of them was observed to break away with smoke pouring from both engines.  Following the engagement, Sergeant Dupont’s aircraft was forced to descend on to the sea. He assisted in launching the dinghies and then sat in one of them; it was made fast to the Sunderland and, in most arduous conditions, Sergeant Dupont prepared it for the reception of one of his mortally wounded comrades. Working under great difficulties he successfully transferred the wounded airman into the dinghy. The aircraft, which had remained afloat, finally drifted and struck a reef. Sergeant Dupont cast off the dinghy immediately before this happened and, swimming alongside it, he guided it clear of the aircraft and. clung to it through the breaking seas. When the dinghy capsized on the surf on the reef, Sergeant Dupont held on to his wounded comrade, who was completely helpless, and eventually carried him to the shore. In the most trying circumstances, this airman displayed gallantry and fortitude worthy of the highest praise. (London Gazette 3 March 1942 page 1012)

While serving with No. 230 Squadron (RAF), Flying Officer Dupont was taken Prisoner of War on 21 December 1941 during the action for which he was awarded the DFM. He was freed by advancing allied forces.

Conditions hardly changed over the Bay during November, however, for although the “Percussion” patrols were again moved to more favourable areas only eight U-boats were sighted—an average effort of 1,240 hours on patrol for each sighting, although the sinking of two U-boats did mitigate
the expenditure of such a tremendous effort. The Australian contribution was somewhat curtailed as No. 10 had three crews absent undergoing special radar courses but the Sunderland patrols whether by night or on the new dawn sweeps encountered nothing except appalling weather an d
enemy fighters. … Casualties continued to be high, however, for one Sunderland from each squadron (Nos 10 and 461) was shot down during the month (November 1943) and widespread searches failed to discover any survivors.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 624-5

The crew members of JM676 were:

Flying Officer Garth William Beresford Bye (423628) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Edmund Russell Critcher (402319) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Jacques Dupont DFM (400114) (Second Pilot)
Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Vernon Hore (412533) (Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Donald Stanley Pearse Howe (401956) (Pilot)
Sergeant Richard Jeffreys (1562530) (RAFVR) (Flight Mechanic Engines / Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant William Kevin Moritz (419325) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant John Henry Poulton (420051) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant John Henry Royal (414321) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Leslie George Studman (415745) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Gordon Yates Temple (5364) (Third Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Lee White (570571) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Winston John Withers (422071) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)

References:

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 A9186, 148 (No. 461 Squadron Operations Record Book)
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Bibliography:

Ashworth, N. (Norman) The ANZAC Squadron: A history of No. 461 Squadron RAAF 1942-5, Hesperian Press Victoria Park WA 6100, 1994
Baff, K.C (Kevin), Maritime is Number Ten; the Sunderland era, K.C. Baff Netley SA, 1983
RAAF Directorate of Public Relations, These Eagles, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 1942 – Page 194: Chapter Oddity is an account of Flying Officer Dupont’s experience as a PoW
Joubert, P.B. (Sir Phillip Bennet) Birds and Fishes: the story of Coastal Command, Hutchinson and Company London, 1960
Southall, I.F. (Ivan Francis) (418900) They Shall Not Pass Unseen, Angus and Robertson Sydney NSW, 1956
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992