Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross

Operation Thunderclap
GORDON, John Ralph
Flying Officer, No.420 Squadron, J93342

On March 5, 1945, this officer was the navigator of an aircraft detailed to attack Chemnitz. Shortly after setting course from base, most of his navigational aids became unserviceable. Regardless of this, Pilot Officer Gordon navigated the aircraft to the target with skill and determination, arriving at the target on time.

After bombing, the aircraft was attacked from below by an enemy fighter and was damaged to such an extent that it became incontrollable and the captain ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft. But the mid-upper gunner was severely wounded and Pilot Officer Gordon had received a bullet wound in the leg.

With disregard for his own safety, Pilot Officer Gordon extricated the mid-upper gunner and got him out of the aircraft successfully. He then baled out himself. This officer has displayed great presence of mind and gallantry with courage and coolness of a high order. His complete disregard for personal safety for the sake of one of his operational team is a magnificent example of devotion to his duties and those who share them with him. He rose to the occasion and despite physical suffering showed unusual initiative.

His navigational skill and his determination to achieve his object was exemplified particularly on the raid to Chemnitz on March 5th. His record of many operations against some of the enemy's most heavily defended targets is proof of his courage and praiseworthy disregard for danger.

Pilot Officer Gordon's courage, exceptional skill and devotion to duty are worthy of the highest praise, and it is recommended that he be awarded an immediate Distinguished Flying Cross.

Send Comments to Greg Gordon MD, CFI, cybirdoc@gmail.com
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