Flight Lieutenant Norman Leslie MERRETT DFC & Bar

Service No: 416446
Born: Laura SA, 3 December 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 23 June 1941
Unit: No. 164 Squadron (RAF), B77 Gilze-Rijen Landing Ground, Netherlands
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 22 September 1944 (Citation Title: No. 609 Squadron (RAF))
Awarded the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross (Bar), 30 January 1945 (Citation Title: No. 146 Squadron (RAF))
Died: POW, Injuries from Air Operations (loss of No. 164 Squadron Typhoon aircraft JR507 on 11 December 1944), Netherlands, 23 December 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Utrecht (Soestbergen) General Cemetery, Utrecht, Netherlands
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Leslie George James Merrett and Mona Edna Merrett, of Port Pirie, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Berri SA
Remembered: Panel 127, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

DFC Citation (Pilot Officer Merrett, No. 609 Squadron (RAF)): “This officer has completed many sorties including attacks against strongly defended enemy targets. In a recent sortie he was leader of a section of aircraft detailed to attack a mortar position holding up the allied ground advances near Caen. Very heavy enemy opposition was encountered from ground defences and the aircraft sustained severe damage. Nevertheless Pilot Officer Merrett flew on and successfully silenced the position. Pilot Officer Merrett is an exceptionally efficient member of aircraft crew. (London Gazette 22/9/1944, Page 4392)

Bar to the DFC Citation (Flight Lieutenant Merrett, No. 164 Squadron (RAF)): “Since being awarded the DFC this officer has participated in many enemy sorties, involving harassing attacks on enemy troops and positions. He has consistently displayed the finest qualities of skill and courage, setting an example worthy of the highest praise. In December 1944, Flight Lieutenant Merrett took part in an attack on an enemy field gun near Tiel. As he went in to attack his aircraft was hit. Nevertheless he dived to a low level and pressed home a vigorous attack. He afterwards flew the damaged aircraft to our own lines and effected a crash landing in a small field which was apparently the only one not water logged or ploughed up. This officer has displayed unbeatable determination.”
(London Gazette 30/1/1945, Page 639)

Typhoon JR507 was missing from air operations on 11 December 1944. The aircraft took off at 0825 hours, detailed with others to carry out a reconnaissance of the Zuider Zee. The pilot of No 2 aircraft reported “when returning to base after the reconnaissance we attacked a train just west of Utrecht. We dived from 9,000 feet and released out Rockets at about 1,500 feet. Having pulled up we then made a cannon attack diving to about 200 feet, when strikes were observed on the train. From the time of our dive very intense light anti-aircraft fire was experienced. After the cannon attack I lost sight of my No 1 (Merrett) and called him up on my radio, enquiring if OK. He replied, “I have had my time, been hit, going down.” I orbited the area but failed to see or hear anything further, I then returned to base.


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, 166/27/676

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