Squadron Leader Terence O'Brien has died

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by v2, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    Terence O'Brien, author of Chasing After Danger, Out of the Blue, and The Moonlight War has died.

    Acting Squadron Leader TP O'Brien DFC and Bar
    In December 1939 Terence "Pat" O'Brien decided to wait no longer for call-up to RAAF service, flying to the UK where he entered the RAF at Uxbridge as an AC2 Pilot-under-training in the last week of 1939.

    From March 1941 Terence flew Blenheims with No. 53 Squadron over Brest and other dangerous targets. Completing his first tour in the Autumn of 1941, O'Brien started a second with them on Hudsons before taking a reinforcing detachment of Hudsons to the Far East and No. 62 Squadron in late 1941-early 1942.

    In the Dutch East Indies he flew Hudson operations from among other places Palembang P2 in Sumatra, surviving the Endau raid. One of the lucky RAF men to be evacuated from Java in March 1942, Terence was aboard Kota Gede bound for Ceylon with some 2200 other servicemen.

    After a year in various ground posts in India, by late 1943 he was looking for action again and volunteered for duty as an RAF Army Liaison Officer operating on the ground deep in Japanese-held Burma in support of the Chindits and Morris Force until June 1944.

    Later that year he was posted to No. 357 (Special Duties) Squadron to take command of their newly attached Dakota flight, dropping special operations supplies and forces over Burma for the final months of the war, later taking command of the Squadron.

    Terence wrote with force and verve about his RAF flying and ground experiences in his three books, Chasing After Danger (on the 1939-1942 period), Out of the Blue (for 1943 and 1944), and The Moonlight War (1945). His vivid accounts also added lustre to the pages of other authors, like David Vincent (The RAAF Hudson Story) and Shores Cull et al (Bloody Shambles Vol I and Vol II ). In his later years, he was a lively presence on a range of World War II discussion boards where his grace and humour did much to add light to many a discussion.

    Born in Maitland in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, O'Brien remained in the UK post-war, working as a journalist, a teacher, a hotelier, and as a company director. Married during the war, he and his wife Timmie had two sons, Nick and Roland, who survive him.

    Terence, well into his nineties, died on Monday 10 September 2007.


    Distinguished Flying Cross
    Acting Squadron Leader Terence Patrick O'BRIEN (88689), RAFVR, 357 Sqn.
    This officer has completed much operational flying. In the early part of
    his operational career he took part in bombing missions against such
    targets as Brest and St. Nazaire; he also participated in many attacks on
    enemy shipping. For many months he has commanded this squadron.

    During the period, Squadron Leader O'Brien has completed many sorties,
    several of them calling for the highest standard of skill and fortitude.
    The successes obtained are a splendid tribute to his sterling qualities. In
    addition to his work in the air, this officer has rendered yeoman service
    in the training of other members of the squadron.
    London Gazette No 37125 8 Jun 1945 7th Supplement 12 Jun

    Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross
    Acting Squadron Leader Terence Patrick O'BRIEN, DFC (88689), RAFVR, 357
    Sqn.
    London Gazette No 37313 16 Oct 1945 Fourth supplement 19 Oct

    Ave atque vale, TP O'Brien.
     
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