frustrated by the time it took to finally record his first victory, (on
26 June) Caldwell's score thereafter mounted rapidly.
In January 1942 he was given
command of 112 Squadron, RAF, whose 'sharkmouth' P-40 Kittyhawks were
already famous, and by May he had been awarded the Distinguished Flying
Cross and Bar, as well as the Polish Cross of Valour in recognition of
his work with that nation's forces.
He was also permitted, by special
dispensation of General Sikorski, to wear the Polish pilot's badge. By
the time he was posted away from the Middle East he had recorded 20.5
confirmed victories and earned the nickname 'Killer', which he disliked.
Returning to Australia in October 1942, Caldwell was given command of No
1 Fighter Wing, whose three squadrons of Spitfire Mk Vs were operating
in defence of Darwin.
He added eight Japanese aircraft to
his tally before relinquishing command of the wing in August 1943 to
become chief flying instructor at 2 OTU. In April 1944 he was given
command of No 80 Fighter Wing, equipped with Mk VIII Spitfires. After
operations from Darwin, the wing moved to Morotai in December. By this
stage, however, the war had moved on, and there was little productive
work for it.
A mounting sense of dissatisfaction
amongst pilots with operations which were seen as pointless led to
Caldwell's involvement in what became known as the 'Morotai Mutiny', in
which eight senior airmen tendered their resignations. This action, and
the disciplinary proceedings which followed, left him embittered about
his service career, and he took his discharge from the RAAF in 1946.
- Australia's highest scoring ace of
the Second World War, Clive Caldwell died in Sydney in August 1994,
The citation for Distinguished Service
Order reads as follows: 'Wing Commander CALDWELL, on completion of his
flying training in January 1941, was posted overseas, served with much
distinction and was credited with the destruction in combat of 20 1/2
enemy planes. He returned to Australia in September 1942, and was
subsequently posted to No.1 Fighter Wing where by his confidence,
coolness, skill and determination in the air, he has set a most
excellent example to all pilots in the wing.
His skill and judgment as a leader are
outstanding. On 2nd March, 1943, he led a formation of six fighters
against a force of enemy fighters and bombers totalling twice that
number, and was responsible personally for destroying two. On 2nd May,
1943, when leading the wing against a large number of enemy raiders, he
again personally shot down and destroyed two enemy aircraft. On 20th
June, 1943, during an attack by enemy raiders, through failure of his
radio, he was obliged to hand over the lead of the wing, as he was
unable to receive directions from Sector control. In spite of this
however, he searched for and found a portion of the raiding force and
succeeded in shooting down one of the enemy.
Wing Commander CALDWELL has flown over
475 active operational flying hours and has carried out over 300
operational sorties. His personal score of enemy aircraft destroyed in
combat has now passed twenty five, five of which are Japanese shot down
since his return to Australia. His courage, determination, skill and his
undoubtedly outstanding ability as a leader are an inspiration to his
wing and worthy of the highest praise.' Text by