LEST WE FORGET
Flight Lieutenant Parker Henry Russell HODGE
Service No: 451
Born: 15 June 1913, Location Unavailable
Enlisted in the RAAF: 29 April 1935
Unit: No. 2 Squadron, operating from Namlea
Died: Air Operations: (No 2 Squadron Hudson aircraft A16-46), Netherlands East Indies, 12 January 1942, Aged 28 Years
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John and Ellen Jane Francis Hodge, of Essendon, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Column 8, Ambon Memorial, Indonesia
Remembered: Panel 98, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Hodge aerodrome in the Northern Territory, near Katherine, a strip used by No. 2 Squadron, was named after Flight Lieutenant Hodge.
At dawn on 12th January the Allied air attacks on the enemy forces invading Celebes were resumed. On their way to Menado five Hudsons from Namlea were intercepted by three enemy float-planes and five Zeros —the first of these Japanese fighters to be reported in the area. The Zero pilots immediately turned the tables on the Hudson crews. In unequal combat, the details of which were never recorded, the aircraft piloted by Flight Lieutenant Parker Henry Russell Hodge (451) and Flying Officer Peter Creighton Gorrie (407168) were both shot down from between 6,000 and 10,000 feet. Two other Hudsons, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Sattler (260510) (No. 13 Squadron) and Flight Lieutenant Arthur Robert Barton (270525) (No. 13 Squadron), failed to return and their crews were later listed as “presumed lost”. The only aircraft of the flight to return was that piloted by Flight Lieutenant Robert Wylie Burns Cuming (200540) who reported having seen the Hudsons flown by Hodge and Gorrie shot down. When, half an hour later, those captained by Sattler and Barton had not returned, permission was given to the base operators to break wireless silence in an endeavour to call them up. There was a prompt reply, in good signals procedure, informing the base that the pilots had no message for them. That reply, if in fact it did come from either of the two missing crews, was the last the squadron heard of them.
Extract from Gillison, D.N. (Douglas Napier) (254475) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – Page 307
The crew members of A16-46 were:
Flight Lieutenant Parker Henry Russell Hodge (451) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Edward David Guildford Howard (407715) (Second Pilot) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 4 February 1946
Sergeant Jack Mawdsley (407367) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Harold Claude Shore (3898) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Howard survived the crash and was found alive in the vicinity of Java in October 1942. He later made the following statement: “My aircraft was ordered to break formation, and make an attack on an enemy surface at at anchor off Kema, North Celebes. While making our bombing approach at 11.500 feet, we were attacked by Japanese Navy aircraft from the starboard beam. The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Hodge attempted to make a head on attack, so as to bring our two forward fixed guns to bear. Our oil tank in the port wing was set on fire from cannon or incendiary shell. I remained in the bomb aiming position in the aircraft, until from the attitude of the aircraft, it became obvious that it was to be abandoned. I returned to the pilot’s cockpit. The radio operator was abandoning the aircraft and the Pilot was standing half in half out of the aircraft. He still maintained control so as to facilitate the crew’s departure, and he instructed me to abandon, which I did from the roof hatch. I saw one other chute during my descent, and entered the water about 8am, some miles from the coast. I swam to the shore reaching it about 2400 hours.
I lived for about two months with natives, and then obtained a canoe and made my way down the coast. I stayed in Macassar, Celebes, until the end of September 1943, when I was moved to Batavia, Java, where I eventually recovered from dysentery and malaria. I considered myself the only survivor of the crash.”
In November 1945, Pilot Officer Howard was repatriated to Australia, having been liberated from a Japanese PoW camp.
No. 2 Squadron lost Hudson A16-12 (Flying Officer Peter Creighton Gorrie (407168) (Pilot)) on 12 January 1942.
No. 13 Squadron lost Hudson aircraft A16-7 (Flight Lieutenant Arthur Robert Barton (270525) (Pilot)) on 12 January 1942.
No. 13 Squadron Hudson lost A16-67 (Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Sattler (260510) (Pilot)) on 12 January 1942.
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
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, 163/36/137
Bennett, J. (John William) Highest Traditions: the history of No. 2 Squadron RAAF, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995
Grantham, S.R. (Sidney Richard) (6590) The 13 Squadron Story, S.R. Grantham, Dee Why NSW 2099, 1991
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992