453 Squadron

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by John, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. John

    John Active Member

    I am wondering if someone could point me in the right direction for finding information on the 453 Squadron. My cousin, Clarence Athol Rice was a pilot in this Squadron and am wondering if there is a website that I could find any information on him. I had his service record released at NAA but I am not quite sure what the records was telling me


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  3. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Hi John

    Service Record
    Service Royal Australian Air Force
    Service Number 411643
    Date of Birth 24 Feb 1917
    Place of Birth ARMIDALE
    Date of Enlistment 24 May 1941
    Locality on Enlistment Unknown
    Place of Enlistment SYDNEY, NSW
    Next of Kin RICE, CLARENCE
    Date of Discharge 19 Sep 1945
    Rank Flying Officer
    Posting at Discharge 8 OPERATIONAL TRAINING UNIT
    WW2 Honours and Gallantry None for display
    Prisoner of War No

    Pilot Officer 14 May 1944
    Flying Officer 14 Nov 1944

    Did his training in Canada.

    Appears to have done a few months with 64 Squadron

    Tour of Duty with 453 from 12 Jan 1944 to 15 October 1944 before being sent home, and was probably an instructor at the Operational Training Units before being discharged.

    The Operations Record Book for the squadron is available online:


    This will give you details of missions that he went, aircraft flown and a few other details. If there is anything specific you'd like to know or decipher, let us know.

    You've probably seen the basic history:

    453 Squadron RAAF: Australian War Memorial
  4. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης




  5. CTNana

    CTNana Active Member

    This phrase was also on my distant cousin's record. What exactly does it mean, that they do not exist or that they are not to be displayed publicly?
  6. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    It means that, apart from the campaign medals (Burma Star, Africa Star, etc), no other awards (e.g. Military Cross or DFC etc) were given. Campaign medals are assumed to have been given automatically, so are excluded from the listing.
  7. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Entries for Rice start on page 17 of the ORB (link above). This is the first entry mentioning him

    Attached Files:

  8. John

    John Active Member

    Hello Kyt,

    Thank you very much for all the info you have just given me. That 400 odd page book you included, could you tell me what it is called in the NAA. I shall spend the rest of the day going thrue that book. Once again thank you KYT.

  9. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Well done, Kyt. John I was going to suggest you post what you had got from the NAA here for us to decipher but Kyt has saved you the trouble by the looks of it!

    453, I imagine, might be one of Kyt's faves as it flew Buffaloes in the Far East and shortly after your cousin finished his tour, they started attacking V1 and V2 launch sites - Kyt loves Buffaloes and has done some good reading on the fighter-bomber attacks on the launch sites. You certainly came to the right place!
  10. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης


    the file is called the Operations Record Book for 453 Squadron. I'm afraid I can't give you the exact file number at the moment because I forgot to note it down last night, and the NAA search engine is currently down. I will check again later.


    ah, you know me so well. One day I will have to root out a book on the squadron
  11. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    As Kyt has found out, there is one called Defeat to Victory by Bennett and published, it would appear, by the RAAF Museum.
  12. John

    John Active Member

    Hello Kyt,

    Thanks for the name of the report. I now know what to look for at the NAA. I am only use to looking at the WW1 files at the NAA. I should have used my common sense and checked the site myself for 453 Squadron.

    Hello Andy,

    I should have put Clarence Rice Service record when I asked the Question. I will know better next time

  13. John

    John Active Member

    In the Operation report, page 22 it has an alpha letter in front of pilots name. What does the letter stand for ???

  14. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Is that a page listing some flying battle casualties among other things...or am I looking at a different record?
  15. John

    John Active Member

    Hello Andy,

    It is page 22 of the Operation report. This page has dates of Feb 1944 and it shows missions that has been flown. On the left of the page it has pilot name and on far right has the mission that was carried out

  16. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Hi John,

    That single letter denotes the aircraft code. At the top of the page you will see a couple of lines with a letter = number.

    The number e,g. MK191 is the unique aircraft serial number. This number, after being assigned, stayed with the aircraft no matter where, and with whom it served, until the aircraft was destroyed or scrapped.

    The letter for MK191 is given as 'A'. This is the aircraft code given by the squadron to identify it. It was painted on the side of the fuselage. However, 'A' would have been used by several aircraft during a squadron's history, and so was not unique. If an aircraft 'A' was destroyed, transferred or being sent for repair, another maybe assigned the letter.
  17. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης


    'FU' was the Squadron specific code, used by 453 Squadron between 1942 and 1946.
  18. John

    John Active Member

    Hi Kyt,
    Thank you for comming to my rescue again. the spitfire you displayed showed me exactly what you were telling me.
    I am very glad I joined this forum as members like you and Andy are very helpful to new members like me, pointing us in the right direction with our questions

  19. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Dunno if I was much help, John, but I appreciate the sentiment. It's what the forum is all about - sharing the knowledge and resources and promoting the rememberance of anyone who served during the war.

    Of course, you were asking the right questions - air related! I would have been wallowing more than usual if it was an Army topic!
  20. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Am I seeing things or is that a Griffon cylinder head bulge on the little bit of Spit behind Rice?

    Found this interesting as well when looking at the COs of 453 (453 Squadron RAAF: Australian War Memorial ). Kyt, John, is this the same Vigors as wrote this - Amazon.com: LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO CRY: The Inspirational Memoir of an Ace Battle of Britain Fighter Pilot: Tim Vigors: Books ? Looks like it is. Book synopsis:

    It is not often that a remarkable gem of a manuscript is uncovered and published. Geoffrey Wellum's First Light was one example. The memoir of Timothy Ashmead Vigors is another. Born in Hatfield but raised in Eire and educated at Eton and Cranwell, early 1940 found Tim Vigors in France flying Fairey Battle bombers. After the Fall he converted to fighters joining 222 Squadronwith whom he saw frantic and distinguished service over Dunkirk and then during the dangerous days of The Battle of Britain, when he became an ace. Transferred to the Far East in January 1941 as a flight commander with 243, thence to 453 Squadron RAAF, on 10th December he led a flight of Buffaloes to cover the sinking Prince of Wales and Repulse. Dramatically shot down, burnt and attacked on his parachute, he was evacuated to Java, and from there to India. And this is where his hand-written account ends. Throughout, the author describes his experiences in an honest, refreshing way. It is a fascinating and valuable record, one destined to be seen as a classic. Postwar, Tim was no less active primarily in the horse world, in Ireland and England, selling, breeding and consulting; but also in aviation, with his own company Vigors Aviation.

    5817778 Wing Commander Timothy Ashmead Vigors, DFC: Australian War Memorial

    5817778 Wing Commander Timothy Ashmead Vigors, DFC
    Date of birth 1921-03-22
    Other 1934 Private at Eton College Officer Training Corps.
    Other units 1939-01-12 RAF College Cranwell.
    Date promoted 1939-01-12 Cadet.
    Date promoted 1939-09-07 Aircraftman.
    Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1939-09-07 RAF.
    Date promoted 1939-09-08 Leading aircraftman.
    Date of discharge 1939-12-22 Discharged on appointment to a commission.
    Date promoted 1939-12-23 Pilot officer.
    Date and unit at appointment (Officers) 1939-12-23 Permanant commission, General Duties Branch.
    Other units 1940-03-02 No 222 Squadron.
    Other units 1940-06-06 No 266 Squadron.
    Date promoted 1940-12-23 Flying officer.
    Other units 1941-01-07 No 243 Squadron.
    Date promoted 1941-08-16 Acting flight lieutenant.
    Other units 1941-12-02 Commanding Officer No 453 Squadron.
    Date promoted 1941-12-23 Flight lieutenant (war substantive).
    Date promoted 1942-09-01 Acting squadron leader.
    Other units 1942-09-05 Air Headquarters, India.
    Other units 1943-01-16 No 225 Group.
    Date promoted 1943-06-23 Flight lieutenant.
    Date promoted 1943-10-24 Acting wing commander.
    Date promoted 1944-01-24 Squadron leader (war substantive).
    Other units 1944-09-28 Station Headquarters, Yellanhanka, Air Command South East Asia.
    Other units 1945-04-09 Station Biggin Hill, UK.
    Date promoted 1945-04-09 Acting wing commander.
    Other units 1945-06-26 Command Station Castle Camps.
    Other units 1946-01-07 Commanding Officer Station Boxted.
    Other units 1946-01-20 RAF Officers School Cosford.
    Other units 1946-03-27 Aircrew Non-Commissioned Officers School.
    Other 1946-11-08 Placed in retired list.
    Date promoted 1946-11-08 Wing commander.

    Golly, I love the AWM site!
  21. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    That is the same man Andy. His book ends just after he was evacuated from Singapore after being shotdown and seriously injured. He spent most of the rest of the war in India (as shown above) in training and conversion duties.

    He became a race horse owner and breeder after the war.

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