Flying Officer Bertram John MIDDLETON DFM

Service No: 408052
Born: Subiaco WA, 15 December 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 August 1940 (at Hobart TAS)
Unit: No. 24 Squadron, Manbulloo NT
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM), 18 May 1943 (Citation Title: No. 49 Squadron RAF)
Died: Air Operations (No. 24 Squadron Liberator aircraft A72-41), Banda Islands, 5 August 1944, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Adelaide River War Cemetery, NT
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Roland John and Katherine Bridget Middleton; husband of Jean Alice Middleton, of Hobart, Tasmania.
Roll of Honour: Hobart TAS
Remembered: Panel 102, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

DFM Citation: “this NCO has completed 31 sorties of 199.35 hours flying over enemy territory including the Le Creusot daylight raid, attacks on Berlin, Essen the Ruhr and five attacks on Dusseldorf. He has displayed great skill both as Air Gunner and Wireless Operator. His cheerful manner and his overall enthusiasm for any task has inspired his crew and remained a source of confidence to them when in tense situations. When engaged by enemy night fighters, his prompt commentary, given clearly and coolly, enabled his Captain to carry out the correct defensive measures to ensure the safe return of the aircraft. His behaviour and example has been the greatest possible asset, not only to his crew but to his squadron and I strongly recommend the award of the DFM.” (London Gazette 18 May 1943 Air2/8951)

Early in August, the RAAF’s first Liberator bomber went into action from Manbulloo. It was piloted by Flying Officer Mason Day Frecker DFM (402653) (Discharged: 6 February 1946) and made three bombing and strafing runs over a 1,500-ton vessel near the Banda Islands. The bombs missed but hits were scored with machine-gun fire. The vessel opened fire in reply, killing Flying Officer Middleton, the rear gunner.

Extract from Odgers, G. (George) Air War Against Japan 1943-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1957 – Page 245


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, 166/27/533; A9845, 71


Nelmes, M.V. (Michael) Tocumwal to Tarakan: Australians and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1994

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