Squadron Leader Owen PRICE MID

Service No: 271702
Born: 19 September 1912, Location unavailable
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 July 1940
Unit: No. 8 Squadron, Kiriwina
Awarded the Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
Died: Air Operations: Air Assault on Rabaul (No. 8 Squadron Beaufort aircraft A9-247), Rabaul PNG, 9 November 1943, Aged 31 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Dr. Thomas Arthur Price and Hester Constance Price; husband of Ethel Cecilia Price, of Toowoomba, Queensland
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 34, Rabaul Memorial PNG
Remembered: Panel 99, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

MID Citation: “On the night of 8/9th November 1943, Squadron Leader Price was the pilot of a Beaufort torpedo aircraft which was one of three aircraft ordered to attack a very formidable force of Japanese cruisers and destroyers located in Simpson Harbour, Rabaul. The ships had been most skilfully placed in the harbour in such a way as to render a torpedo attack a most difficult and hazardous operation. The disposition of the ships and the natural defences of Rabaul were such that only one line of approach was practicable for a successful torpedo attack on the target.
Squadron Leader Price unhesitatingly chose this line of approach although he well knew that it must take him directly into an intense barrage from anti-aircraft batteries and, by pressing home his attack, he succeeded in damaging a large merchant vessel. So overwhelming was the volume of fire from the enemy’s defences that Squadron Leader Price’s aircraft was shot down, and he and his gallant crew are presumed to have been killed on this operation. This example of sheer determination, exceptional courage and devotion to duty, has served as an inspiration to all members of the RAAF and will surely be remembered by all those who were associated with this gallant officer.” (NAA: A9300 Service record file Squadron Leader Price)

A9-247 was one of three No. 8 Squadron Beaufort aircraft tasked to carry out a torpedo attack against enemy shipping in Simpson’s Harbour, Rabaul. A9-247 was last seen over Talili Bay and is believed to have come under heavy attack from anti-aircraft fire after it had delivered its attack.

The crew members of A9-247 were:

Flight Sergeant Geoffrey William Farnham Allen (412875) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Allan John Harrison (405191) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Thomas Charles Hooper (405483) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Squadron Leader Owen Price MID (271702) (Pilot)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 249; A705, 166/33/99

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