Pilot Officer Paul Dominic Tully of No 452 Squadron RAAF (at Strauss Airfield June 1943) who was one of 3 pilots shot down on the 7th September 1943, along with Squadron Leader Ron MacDonald of No 452 RAAF and Pilot Officer Bill Hinds of No 54 RAF. Fortunately Paul Tully was able to parachute to safety.
Paul recalled that he believed there was a problem with the radar vectoring and the majority of the Spitfires were scrambled too late, some 1 hour or more after the first radar sighting, and this is why they were unable to get to altitude in time (a Spitfire can reach 20,000’ in 7 minutes). Paul recalled that they had been ordered to release their drop tanks and he was looking down and reaching into the cockpit to do this when he saw another aircraft hit and as he was deciding to take evasive action, he too was hit.
Born at Terachy Station in the Quilpie district of Queensland on 14 June 1917, Tully enlisted on 5 January 1941 and served with 452 (Spitfire) Squadron, then based in south east England as part of Fighter Command. He returned with the squadron when it was recalled to Darwin in mid 1942 and participated in the defence of Darwin. Tully was discharged on 19 September 1945, having also seen service on Tarakan.
After the war he returned to the family property at Quilpie and and to honour a promise to his wife, never flew again.
Tully’s older brother John (service number 404189) enlisted about the same time as Paul, served in the RAF on attachment with 1 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit and was lost over the North Sea on 30 July 1942.
Right Photo:- Strauss, NT. c. June 1943. Pilots of No. 452 (Spitfire) Squadron RAAF relax in their recreation tent. Left to right: Sergeant W. M. (Bill) Coombes of NSW; Flight Sergeant (Flt Sgt) Frank Turnbull of NSW; Squadron Leader H. S. MacDonald of Qld, Commander; Wing Commander Clive R. (Killer) Caldwell DFC and Bar (standing); Pilot Officer P. D. Tully of Quilpie, Qld; Flying Officer (FO) Pollard RAF of Lancashire; Flt Sgt P. A. (Paddy) Padula of Cobar, NSW; FO Adams of Qld, and Flight Lieutenant Hale of NSW.
Middle Photo:- Portrait of Pilot Officer (later Flight Lieutenant) Paul Dominic Tully (404998), Spitfire pilot, 452 Squadron RAAF, North West
Links below to Paul Tully’s Flying Helmet and Silk Survival Map