Pilot Officer Garth Angus NEILL DFM

Service No: 404773
Born: Brisbane QLD, 2 December 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 November 1940
Unit: No. 3 Squadron
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM), 13 October 1942
Died: Air Operations: (No. 3 Squadron Kittyhawk aircraft ET106), Libya, 22 October 1942, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Capt. Matthew Bell Neill and Muriel Elizabeth M. Neill, of East Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Brisbane QLD
Remembered: Column 265, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
Remembered: Panel 98, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

DFM Citation: On 9 September 1942, this NCO, together with five other pilots, intercepted a large formation of Mel09s escorting Stukas which were making for home over enemy lines. Sergeant Neill dived and making a head-on attack destroyed a Stuka. Climbing up again through heavy flak, he got onto the tail of an Me109F and followed it down to about 200 feet and after getting in a few short bursts, sent it crashing to the ground. Again he climbed to join in the general melee and probably destroyed another Me109 before the engagement was broken off. He had two previous encounters with the enemy, on 15 June 1942, when his formation engaged two MeI09Fs, and again on 14 July 1942, when he was attacked by a Me109F when engaged in bombing enemy transport. On both these occasions Sergeant Neil destroyed an enemy aircraft without damage to his own aircraft. Although he had been shot down and had his own aircraft severely damaged in combat and by anti-aircraft fire, this has in no way affected his keenness to seek out an engage enemy aircraft or his aggressiveness in action. Since joining this unit on 29 April 1942, he has carried out 80 sorties totalling 104 operational hours. He has at all times displayed the utmost tenacity and devotion to duty and has always proved himself a valuable asset to the squadron. (London Gazette 13 October 1942)

On 22 October 1942, ET106 flown by Pilot Officer Neill was in a formation of 12 aircraft to provide medium cover for 18 Mitchell bombers engaged on a raid on Landing Ground 104. At approximately 1145 hours, immediately after the bombing, the formation was attacked by enemy aircraft and an aircraft, probably ET106, was seen to go down with black smoke and glycol pouring from it. The aircraft appeared to be under control and other pilots considered a successful crash landing could have been completed. ETl06 failed to return from the mission.


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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/48/43

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