Pilot Officer James Alexander NASH DFM

Service No: 410368
Born: Carlton VIC, 10 January 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 6 December 1941
Unit: No. 6 Squadron, Goodenough Island, PNG
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 6 Squadron Beaufort aircraft A9-517), New Britain, 28 March 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Stanley and Myra Lucille Nash, of Auburn, Victoria.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 35, Rabaul Memorial, PNG
Remembered: Panel 99, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

DFM Citation: “Flight Sergeant Nash, No 6 Squadron RAAF, has served as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner in operations for more than 12 months and has completed 573 operational hours including 116I sorties and 14 strikes. He has at all times shown outstanding skill, courage and devotion to duty. While on patrol early in January 1943, the Beaufort aircraft of which he was a member of the crew developed engine trouble. Immediately he became aware of this fact, on his own initiative, he got in contact with base by radio and with great coolness for the next 9 minutes, he maintained control until the aircraft made an emergency landing in the sea. He continued to pass position reports and left his post and joined the rest of the crew when the water reached his radio set. As the aircraft sank quickly, and the dinghy did not function, it was undoubtedly due to his coolness and efficiency in giving an accurate position that the Air/Sea Rescue organization was able to rescue and find the five members of the crew who were swimming in the sea.”(London Gazette 29 February 1944)

Flying Officer Horry Wade came in low to do some strafing and was shot down (in the vicinity of Jacquinot Bay New Britain). He carried with him Alex Nash, DFM, one of the most experienced wireless men in the squadron.

Extract from Graham, B. (Burton) and Frank Smyth, A Nation Grew Wings: The Story of the RAAF Beaufort Squadrons in New Guinea, Winterset House Publishers Melbourne VIC, 1946 – Page 105

A9-517 was engaged in low level strafing when it was last seen, and the report provided in the NAA record considers it unlikely that the aircraft was shot down as no anti-aircraft fire was observed by other aircraft engaged in the attack. This report considers it likely that the aircraft struck the sea during a low level turn in failing light.

The crew members of A9-517 were:

Sergeant Ronald Mark Fox (3470) (Photographer)
Flight Sergeant Clive Douglas Grant (417070) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer James Alexander Nash DFM (410368) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Frank Arthur Penaluna (416887) (Observer)
Flying Officer Horace Milward Wade (415201) (Pilot)


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 A9845, 260

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