Halifax Navigator: An oral and extended history of RAAF Flying Officer Basil Spiller's years at warby Gregory Brown
On the 1st of October 1941, with the war in Europe and northern Africa entering its third year and Japan threatening to invade Australia, Basil Spiller, on his eighteenth birthday, joined the RAAF in Brisbane, Australia. In May 1942 he was called up and began observer training. In March 1943 he embarked for Britain where he was trained as a navigator. Basil joined No. 102 Squadron, a heavy bomber squadron, operating from RAF Pocklington in Yorkshire. With four other Australians and two Englishmen he formed a Handley Page Halifax crew of exceptional quality.
During his nineteenth operation, a bombing mission over France, Basil was severely wounded but continued to navigate his plane and his crewmates to safety.
Basil and his crew flew the last of the thirty-five operations required to complete their first Tour of Duty on the 18th of November 1944. When the war ended, he and three of his original crew had also completed eight operations of a second Tour together.
Basil Spiller participated in a total of forty bombing operations over occupied Europe and Germany. He was promoted to Flying Officer and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for courage, devotion to duty and his exceptional skills as a navigator.
This is Basil's story of his years at war.
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