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Surname GENTLE   Initials E G   First Name ERIC GEORGE  
Decorations DFC  
Rank Flight Leutenant   Unit RAAF   Service No. Aus.408295  
Age Unknown  Deceased   Previous Squadron  
Comments 23/5/43 - Sgt M. J. RYAN and crew arrive on Station


408295 Eric George Gentle was born in Tasmania in 1919 and enlisted in the RAAF in September 1941. By March 1943 he was a qualified navigator on Halifax and Lancaster aircraft. Gentle flew in England with 103 Squadron RAF and in early April 1943 was detailed for a 348 aircraft raid over Essen, Germany. Over the city, his Lancaster was pinned by searchlights and despite the pilot's evasive action, the plane was hit by flak, destroying both ailerons. Gentle was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his work in bringing the bomber back to base. The citation reads 'This officer has taken part in a large number of operational sorties, including many against the enemy's major targets in Germany. In April 1943 he was navigator of an aircraft detailed for an operation against Essen. In the target area his aircraft was heavily engaged by searchlights and anti-aircraft fire. It was badly damaged, both ailerons being shot away. The pilot with great difficulty gained control, but owing to the necessary violent evasive action, his course and position were lost. Flight Lt. Gentle's outstanding navigational ability was largely instrumental in the safe return of the bomber to base. At all times his efficiency and devotion to duty have been most praiseworthy.' Eric Gentle later transferred to 156 (Pathfinder) Squadron and completed the war as a transport pilot. He continued to serve with the RAAF until at least 1958, with the final rank of Wing Commander.


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Additional Info  
War Graves Link   Grave Photo NO Cemetery Photo NO
Award Date Citation / Reference Squadron
DFC  18/01/1944  Acting Flight Lieutenant Eric George GENTLE (Aus.408295), Royal Australian Air Force, No. 156 Squadron.

GENTLE, Eric George, A/F/L (Aus 408295, Royal Australian Air Force) - No.156 Squadron - Distinguished Flying Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 18 January 1944. Citation from Air Ministry Bulletin 12623.

This officer has taken part in a large number of operational sorties, including many against the enemy’s major targets in Germany. In April 1943, he was navigator of an aircraft detailed for an operation against Essen. In the target area his aircraft was heavily engaged by searchlights and anti-aircraft fire. It ws badly damaged, both ailerons being shot away. The pilot with great difficulty regained control, but owing to the necessary violent evasive action, his course and position was lost. Flight Lieutenant Gentle’s outstanding navigational ability was largely instrumental in the safe return of the bomber to base.

At all times his efficiency and devotion to duty have been most praiseworthy.

Citation details provided by Hugh Halliday. 
156 
Source Date Comments
ORB  2/10/1943  appointed A/F/LT. 
LG 36335  14/01/1944  DFC Notification 
ORB  30/01/1944  F/L GENTLE awarded D.F.C.