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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. C G C Olive

 

Charles Gordon Chaloner Olive was born in Bardon, Queensland, Australia on 3rd July 1916 and educated at Brisbane Grammar School and Queensland University. He joined the RAAF in late 1935 and qualified for his flying badge in December 1936. Olive sailed for England in January 1937 and transferred to the RAF in February.


After a three month course at 2 FTS Digby, Olive was posted to 65 Squadron at Hornchurch in May 1937. Three years later he was still with 65 and a Flight Commander.

 

 

Above: 65 Squadron

F/Sgt. RR MacPherson, F/O JBH Nicolas, F/O SB Grant, F/Lt. CGC Olive, Capt. Balfour (Air Ministry), S/Ldr. HC Sawyer, F/Lt. GAW Saunders, F/O T Smart, Sgt. JR Kilner

 


Over Dunkirk on 26th May 1940 he probably destroyed a Me109 and next day he got a probable Do17.


Olive chased a Me109 across the Channel on 20th July and shot it down into the sea off Cap Griz Nez.

Taking off at the head of the squadron on 7th August, Olive had not got much height when his oxygen regulator caught fire. Realising that he had insufficient height and very little time Olive went into a vertical climb and baled out. His parachute failed to open properly but after managing to untangle it, Olive saw he was floating towards high tension cables and also realised he was being fired at from the ground by two home guards. He landed safely and after further misadventures on the ground reached Hornchurch.


Olive probably destroyed a Me109 on 12th August, destroyed two more and damaged another on the 13th, probably destroyed another on the 14th, probably destroyed a Ju88 and damaged a Me109 on the 16th, got a probable Me109 on the 24th and a Me110 destroyed on the 26th.

Olive was awarded the DFC (gazetted 24th September 1940).

He destroyed a Me110 on 9th December and claimed a probable Ju88 on 15th February 1941.


In March 1941 Olive went to Tangmere for fighter controller duties. On 20th June he was given the job of forming and then commanding 456 (RAAF) Squadron at Valley, initially with Defiants and later Beaufighters. Olive was posted away in March 1942.


He transferred to the RAAF on 3rd June 1943 and on 20th October he returned to Australia. In 1944 Olive was serving at Air Defence HQ Sydney and in 1945 at Air Defence HQ Morotai.


He was released from the RAAF in March 1946 as a Wing Commander.

Postwar Olive became an executive with Rheem Australia Ltd. and later Boral Ltd., and also completed several paintings based on his wartime experiences. He was honorary aide-de-camp to the Queen in 1961 and stood for the seat of Petrie as a Country Party candidate in 1972. He was appointed MBE in 1967 and CBE in 1978, before retiring in 1981.

Olive died on 20th October 1987.

 


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