RAF Australians - Wing Commander Donald Teale Saville (DSO) (DFC)

Discussion in 'Biographies' started by spidge, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    Wing Commander Donald Teale Saville (DSO) (DFC)

    Born 1903, Portland N.S.W, Australia.
    Son of Mr and Mrs John Saville of Manly and brother of John Norman and Hilda. Previously reported missing over Germany now known to have been killed.


    D.S.O 27th July 1943 - Awarded while with 218 Sqdn
    D.F.C 18th December 1942 - Awarded while with 104 Sqdn


    Pilot Officer 14th February 1928
    Flying Officer 2nd November 1928
    Flight Lieutenant 27th September 1940
    Squadron Leader 1st July 1941
    A/Wing Commander 4th August 1942
    A/Wing Commander 13th February 1943 *
    Additional Notes & Citation
    Wing Commander 20th March 1943

    Born 1903, Portland N.S.W, Australia.

    No.218 Squadron Wing Commanders
    Wing Commander Donald Teale SAVILLE
    Joined 218sq from No 1657 Conversion Unit on 26th March 1943
    Service No. 74738

    Served with the following Vickers Wellington equipped squadrons based in the U.K. No.12 & No.458 (RAAF) Squadron.
    Posted to No.104 Squadron operating from North Africa and Malta between 1942/43. Carried out the following sorties
    No.12 Sqdn (9) No.458 Sqdn (6) and No.104 Sqdn (32).

    Posted to command No.218 squadron via No.1657 Conversion Unit

    Acting Wing Commander Saville, No.104 Squadron

    Within two weeks of his arrival in Malta, this Malta, this officer completed numerous sorties. By his splendid leadership and untiring efforts, he has contributed materially to the success obtained by the squadron he commands. In November 1942 at night, he took part in an attack on a airfield at Tunisia. In spite of heavy opposition and bad weather, the objective was bombed from low level. The next night he participated in three attacks on Comiso Airfield where a large fire was started. His determination and courageous example has inspired his fellow pilots.
    Wing Commander Saville, DFC

    This officer has completed a very large number of sorties and had displayed outstanding determination to achieve success.
    He is a fearless commander, who invariably chooses to participate in the more difficult sorties, which have to be undertaken.
    Whatever the opposition, Wing Commander Saville endeavours to press home his attacks with accuracy and resolution.
    By his personal example and high qualities of leadership, this officer has contributed materially to the operationality of the squadron.
    Operations with No.218 Squadron

    Date Target A/C Type Serial Code Details
    28th March 1943 St.Nazaire Stirling BF702 HA-C 2nd pilot to S/Ldr Beck
    6th April 1943 Mining Stirling BF505 HA-Z Duty Carried Out. 2nd pilot, Sgt Hoey.
    8th April 1943 Duisburg Stirling BK687 HA-R Attacked 2nd target.
    11th April 1943 Mining Stirling R9244 HA-S Duty Carried Out
    16th April 1943 Mannheim Stirling EF365 HA-U Duty Carried Out. Hit by light flak.
    20th April 1943 Rostock Stirling EF505 HA-Z Bombed Heinkel Works
    12th May 1943 Duisburg Stirling BK688 HA-A Duty Carried Out
    29th May 1943 Wuppertal Stirling BK712 HA-D Duty Carried Out. Group Captain Barnes, 2nd pilot.
    19th June 1943 La Creusot Stirling EH892 HA-U Duty Carried Out. Passanger, P/O White.
    24th July 1943 Hamburg Stirling BF567 HA-P FTR

    From: No.218 Squadron Wing Commanders - Wing Commander Donald Teale SAVILLE DSO, DFC

    Date Lost 25th July 1943
    Target HAMBURG
    Fate - Killed
    Bombload 1 x 2000lb + 4 x 4lb SBC + 6 x 30lb SBC
    Buried Hamburg (Ohlsdorf) Cemetery Crashed Einfeld, 5kms N of Neumunster, Germany
    Grave Coll.grave 4A.B.1-5 Take-Off 22.21hrs
    Age 39
    Crash Time 01.10hrs-01.26hrs
    Married Single
    From Portland, N.S.W. Australia
    Aircraft Short Stirling Mk.III
    S/n & Codes BF.567 HA-P


    Two engines set on fire after initial fighter attack, aircraft attacked 50 miles North of Hamburg, position 5405N - 1000E.
    Body of Wing Commander Saville found at the controls.

    Don Saville DSO, DFC - 'The Mad Australian

    Wing Commander Donald Teale Saville DSO, DFC joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1927. From 1932 until 1939 he flew and tested private aircraft, was a flying instructor and then a Captain-pilot with Australian National Airways. In 1936, at the age of 36 years, he volunteered for the RAF whilst on holiday in England. Because of his age he was posted to the Ferry Pool Service and eventually became its Commanding Officer. In 1941 he dropped rank from Squadron Leader to Flight Lieutenant to join Bomber Command, and in December of that year joined No 458 RAAF Squadron flying Wellington’s as a Flight Commander. In 1942 he was appointed to command another Wellington squadron, No 104, at Kabrit in Egypt. He was awarded the DFC for daring operations whilst flying from Malta against enemy airfields and ports. In March 1943 he took command of No 218 Squadron at Downham Market flying somewhat elderly Short Stirlings and at a time of intolerable losses. In July 1943 he went missing on the first mass bombing raid on Hamburg. He made the supreme sacrifice by holding his burning aircraft steady while four of his crew escaped by parachute.

    He was known affectionately as 'The Mad Aussie' and was reputed to have flown 10,000 flying hours. He was fifteen or so years older than most of his aircrews and was probably the oldest pilot in Bomber Command. At the time of his loss he was in was on his third tour of operations.

    This is the story of a man who carried leadership by example and was renowned as an exceptionally skilled, daring and confident aviator.

    From We Seek and Destroy - A History of 458 RAAF Squadron by Peter Alexander:

    Page 16 - Ops over Europe in Wellingtons
    On 11 December four crews, led by Mather, Johnston, Moore and F/L DT Saville bombed Koln without observed results, owing to the usual visibility. Visibility was such that only from the amount of flak thrown up at them and from the fact that it was the estimated time of arrival at target, were they able to recognise the target area. Saville, of the RAF, who took over a Flight from S/L Mellor, was another Australian and had been a civil pilot in Australia.

    Page 19
    Finally for 1941, on the 27th, ten raids were launched: seven on the marshalling yards at Dussldorf and three on docks at Boulogne in France. The weather, extraordinarily, was excellent in both areas. Saville, who went to Dusseldorf, after dropping some of his bombs, passed over an enemy aerodrome with its runway lights on and a Heinkel 111 landing. Saville came in astern and the front gunner, Sgt Howlett, opened fire on the He 111. It was hit and ran off the runway. Proceeding on hisway Saville and his gunners machine-gunned a train from end to end and completed the night's entertainment by dropping a bomb on a gasometer.

    In January the weather was bitterly cold but slightly less difficult for operations. It was the last month of operations for 458 Squadron at Holme-on Spalding Moor, with Bomber Command and in Britain. 6 January was the first night of ops in the New Year and the German battleships at Brest the objective...Of 458's five attacking aircraft, Saville and Laver dropped their bombs across the docks...

    Page 25:
    S/L Johnston, F/L Leslie and S/L Sargeaunt, as the remaining experienced officers, conducted a ballot to determine which of them should stay behind at Holme-on-Spalding Moor for a period to organise the departure of groundstaff. S/L Mellor had been posted away from the Squadron some months before, together with many 458 groundstaff. He subsequently became a W/C and CO of 150 Squadron. S/L Saville, his successor, was not inlcuded in the ballot as he had Middle East experience which it was deemed desirable for him to use with the Squadron. It was Johnston who drew the rather unwanted slip which determined he should stay.

    Page 28 - 458 relocating to Egypt
    Laver and Bond had been delayed at Gibraltar with engine defects. They were joined there by S/L Saville. After fourteen hours at Malta they too flew to Kilo 26. The three crews had a peculiar experience when they were nearing Egypt. It was light over the Mediterranean but near the Egyptian coast everything went dark. They thought they had flown into a heavy sandstorm but when they landed they found there had been a total eclipse which, apparently, it had been nobody's business to tell them about. F/S "Windy" Gale of Laver's crew described the experience as "amusing". He was heard to remark that, near E Hamman, with landing lights on, they couldn't see the ground from 500 feet up.

    Page 63:
    The detachment of 458 aircrews to 70 Squadron at Abu Sueir and 104, 108 and 148 Squadrons at Kabrit lasted until the end of August 1942. Operations throughout the period had been intense and continuous and had used up many flying hours. S/L Don Saville, one of the Flight Commanders, did not return to 458, becoming CO of another squadron. He was a most experienced pilot as this story of his leaving Moreton-in-the-Marsh illustrates - he was the first to leave for the Middle East. The Station Commander having done some checking up, sent for S/L Sargeaunt and asked if Saville had done the two hours' night-flying training called for by standing instructions.
    "No, sir," said Sargeaunt.
    "Who does he think he is? How many night-flying hours has he got?"
    "Three thousand, sir,"
    "I asked for night hours, not total flying."
    "Yes, sir, 3,000 night - 10,000 total."
    While CO of 104 Squadron, S/L Saville, taking off at last light from Kabrit with a 4,000 lb bomb aboard had an engine cut when too low to jettison, so with it still aboard, he landed in the desert near Fayid. He then walked some way to Fayid and being hot from his exertions, made for the bar and had a quick couple of beers. He then answered the question of where he'd come from, saying he had landed with a 4,000 lb bomb just outside. No one believed him and even said a Wellington wouldn't carry a 4,000-pounder. However they agreed to get a gharry and take him back to the aircraft. They all then had great difficulty in finding the aircraft in the darkness before the exactitude of Saville's story became clear.

    Donald Teale Saville

    Service number: 74738

    Rank: Wing Commander

    Unit: No 218 Squadron, Royal Air Force (Citizens' Air Force Reserve)

    Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    Conflict: 1939-1945

    Date of death: 25 July 1943

    Cause of death: Killed in action

    Cemetery or memorial details: HAMBURG CEMETERY, Germany. Coll. grave 4A. B. 1-5

Share This Page