Pilot Officer Brian Lawless DUIGAN (43377), No. 70 Squadron.
One night in July, 1941, this officer was captain of an aircraft which made a successful dive-bombing attack on shipping in Benghazi harbour, in the face of intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire.
After dropping his bombs he silenced several of the light batteries with machine-gun fire. On the return journey he caused damage by machine-gun fire to an army encampment.
On another night Pilot Officer Duigan attacked aircraft on Nasrulla aerodrome. On the fourth run over the target he was attacked vigorously from all directions by three enemy fighters. Severe damage was caused to his aircraft but, in spite of this, he manoeuvred it so as to afford his gunners the best possible firing positions, and then gave them cool encouragement over the damaged inter-communication gear.
Despite lack of instruments Pilot Officer Duigan brought the aircraft through the mountains to the sea. Preferring to make for base where much needed spares were stored, he refused to land on a flare-path at Lydda.- Unfortunately he was unaware of his low air speed due to excessive drag, and was compelled to make a forced landing. He has shown great coolness, resource and tenacity of purpose.
Acting Squadron Leader Brian Lawless DUIGAN, D.F.C. (43377). No. 156 Squadron.
DUIGAN, Brian Lawless, S/L, DFC (43377, Royal Air Force) - No.156 Squadron.
Distinguished Service Order - awarded as per London Gazette dated 9 July 1943.
Born in Heathcote, Victoria, Australia, 1915; home in Elliminitt, Victoria.
Educated at Colac High School and Geelong College.
Commissioned in 1940;
awarded DFC in August 1941 for a dive bombing attack on Benghazi;
awarded Bar to DFC, April 1942.
Promoted Squadron Leader, 10 August 1943.
Promoted to Wing Commander, 1 January 1952.
Died at Airlie, Victoria, Australia, 5 April 1972..
No citation to DSO in Gazette.
Following text from Air Ministry Bulletin 10775 dated 9 July 1943.
After completing his first tour of operational duty in 1940, this officer volunteered for duty in the Middle East where he completed numerous outstanding missions. In particular, he played an outstanding part in the capture of Habbaniyah in May 1941.
Since his return to this country he has taken part in many bombing raids.
In April 1943 he participated in the attack on the Italian naval base at Spezia when he bombed the target accurately and effectively in spite of the fact that a hurricane was blowing through the cabin from the jammed escape hatch.
During every one of his sorties, Squadron Leader Duigan has displayed the greatest courage and devotion to duty in the face of heavy ground defences and fighters.
Public Record Office Air 2/8964 has a longer text drafted when he had flown 75 sorties (557 operational hours) of which 12 sorties (83 hours) had been since his previous award.
Citation details provided by Hugh Halliday.