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    Hello Gentlemen.

    My mother will never cease to AMAZE me!

    This evening I learn that my uncle, on my mother's side, received a DFC. :jumping:

    "Oh it was so long ago, and he was so troubled after the war... I never really thought about it... uh, are you really interested?" :speechless:

    His medals have long gone astray, but I have a photo of the award ceremony. I would greatly appreciate any and all comments. Believe me there will be no teaching-mother-to-sucks-eggs here. My RAF knowledge is sadly limited.

    His name, DEREK RONALD BOND, nick-named BONZO BOND. The DFC was awarded (according to dear mom) for keeping his burning plane flying while the crew parachuted out, before getting out himself. (Dear old mom) remembers the incident taking place over Italy. Other details you might pick from the photos.

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    DFC in the LOndon Gazette 17 July 1945, pg 3683:

    One night in April 1945, this officer was detailed for a reconnaissance in the Padua area. A convoy of enemy transport was located. Whilst making his attack on this target his aircraft sustained serious damage and caught fire which spread from the cockpit and back along the fuselage. Lieutenant Bond gave the order to abandon aircraft. Although he had sustained burns to his face, hands and legs, Lieutenant Bond remained at the controls and kept the aircraft steady so that his comrades could leave with a greater measure of safety. The fire was growing in intensity. The cockpit became almost enveloped. Not until he was satisfied that his comrades had left would he leave the controls. As he prepared to leave himself, the aircraft exploded. LIeutenant Bond was thrown out. He had apparently been struck by a heavy piece of debris and rendered unconscious. Nevertheless his parachute opened in some way and he came down safely to the ground. It was here that he was found in a semi-conscious state and taken to hospital a short distance away. In hazardous cicumstances this officer set a magnificent example of courage, coolness and fortitude."

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    Thank you Jeff.

    Just read it to mom. We have tears in our eyes. Apparently he just never fitted in after the war and ended up wrapping himself around a tree while driving home late one evening.

    He did mention that he was well looked after by an Italian family, and generally by the Italians.

    I shall endevour to try to replicate his medal set and mount it, along with this photo and write up.

    Any idea on other details?

    Thanks again.



    Edited by Thomas Symmonds
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    There's a short-run (500 copies) squadron history, "Aegean Pirates", by Dr Stefaan Bouwer and Dr Gerald Thompson, which might have more details.

    There's one copy listed at www.ABE.com for $20 US, which strikes me as a very good price for any SAAF squadron history.

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    • 1 month later...

    Hello all.

    I followed JB's acvice and tracked down a copy of "The Aegean Pirates" and believe me if I say that describing this book as brilliant is an understatement! Bouwer and Thompson have truely done a fantastic job. Thompson says in his acknowledgements, "To write a history of a squadron 60 years after the war turned out to be a momentous task." I say, what they have in this book is a monumental achievement.

    If anyone wants one contact Marc,


    Marc Norman


    Listed in this book are practically nearly all the aircraft (type, name (honestly), serial number, movement dates, crew, loss date, fate) from the Junkers Ju 86, to Fairey Battles, to Blenheim Mk IVs, to the Bisleys, the Baltimores and the Fairchilds used by the squadron; and from this list we are able to find that Lt DR Bond was flying aircraft FW 723, a Baltimore, on 26 / 04 / 1945 when the incident occured that lead to him being awarded the DFC.

    I say "incident" because what is written in the book is different to what JB found in the London Gazette.

    I am quoting directly from the book "The Aegen Pirates", page 147 -

    "On 28 April, Lt DR Bond's aircraft, Baltimore FW723, was lost due to pre-detonation of bombs after release, causing an explosion beneath the aircraft..."

    The heroism and unselfish act of keeping the aircraft flying while sustaining severe burns to his hands, face and legs, in order for his crew to bail out, is not diminished by this discrepency. Unfortunately the book's version does not have the "happy" ending either, and relays that, "his crew, observer Lt GH Richardson, and gunners, Lt SJ Nienaber and W/O II CR Weitz, did not survive." ("The Aegean Pirates", page 147)

    I have found a "museum quality" copy of a DFC, and one day when I win the lottery I hope to replace that with the genuine article, and am in the process of putting together "Uncle Derek's" medal entitlement, which I shall post when complete. In the mean time if anyone has any more info or paraphenalia from 15 Squadron South African Air Force, WW II, please let me know. It seems that I have another collector's quest to follow...

    Thank you for your post so far.



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    Good day All.

    I have managed to get a copy of "Uncle Derek's" official Recommendation for Honours and Awards application, sent in by his commanding officer.

    What is interesting is the hand written comments below ( Remarks by Officer Commanding Wing) -

    Just in case you are struggling to read the hand writting -

    " I recommend this award although this particular incident is based entirely on the pilot's own report. He has however carried out very fine work with the squadron."

    It is interesting because I would have thought that it would be particularly difficult to get awarded higher honours without eyewitnesses ...

    I have copies of other hand written remarks, Of Air Officer Commanding:

    " It is shown by other evidence that Lt Bond acted most couragiously on this occasion. His operational record is a fine one and I fully endorse this recommendation"

    and of The Commander-In-Chief:

    " Immediate award of DFC approved"

    I shall post copies later.

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