LEST WE FORGET

Lieutenant Gordon Vincent OXENHAM

Service No: Not Assigned
Born: Sydney NSW, March 1894
Enlisted in the Army: 22 February 1916
Unit: No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Died: Air Operations (No. 1 Squadron Bristol Fighter aircraft A7236), Palestine, 27 June 1918, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Humphrey and Elizabeth Oxenham. of 10, Bennett St., Neutral Bay, New South Wales, Native of Randwick, New South Wales
Place of Association: Boggabri NSW
Remembered: Panel 60, Jerusalem Memorial, Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel
Remembered: Panel 188, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, Bathurst NSW

Note: There is an uncorrected printing error in the text of the Official History extract shown below onwards from the third last line.

Thereafter such attacks became the rule with every patrol sent to El Kutrani and Kerak; and in that more open region cavalry and infantry parties were wont to scatter as soon as they sighted an aeroplane. During June the Bristol Fighters constantly visited this district, where, after the rush of the harvest was over, road-making and railway gangs maintained the number of the camps. German aeroplanes were rarely seen thereabout, but in the early morning of June 27th two Bristol Fighters unexpectedly sighted two heavily-armed A.E.G. two-seaters making north from EI Kutrani and 4,000 feet above them. The Australians- A. R. Brown (1) and Finlay (observer) (2) and Oxenham and L. H. Smith (3) – at once gave chase. The Germans held northwards for a few miles while the Australians climbed, but eventually turned south again, and Brown at length overhauled one of them and engaged it from below.  At Brown’s second attack this German went down in a straight dive, belching out much smoke, landed hurriedly, and fell on one wing. Meanwhile, well away in the distance, Oxenham was fighting a duel with the other A.E.G.  Brown flew to rejoin, and arrived just as this second German machine also landed. Both its occupants ran into a wady, and the (text error occurs) … Australian machines at Amman. Lieutenants S. A. Nunan (4) seater. While so engaged, Oxenham was fatally hit by a bullet fired from the ground, and his machine (5) crashed.  Later a letter was received from Smith, wounded and a prisoner, describing the disaster.

(1) Captain Alan Runciman Brown DFC; No 1 Squadron (previously Artillery), Draper, of Launceston, TAS; born Launceston, 24 April, 1895, World War II RAAF Service (No: 290871)
(2) Lieutenant Garfield Finlay, DFC; No 1 Squadron (previously Light Horse), Woolclasser; of Glebe, NSW and West Perth WA; born Glebe, 7 September 1893
(3) Lieutenant Lawrence Henry Smith PoW; No 1 Squadron (previously Light Horse) Salesman; of Hurstville NSW; born Cardiff Wales 7 July, 1896
(4) Lieutenant Stanislaus Acton Nunan; No 1 Squadron (previously Engineers) Motor Salesman; of Parkville, Melbourne; born Malvern, Melbourne, 9 July, 1892, Died in Australia (Speedway Accident): 10 December 1921
(5) Bristol Fighter aircraft A7236

Extract from Cutlack, F.M. (Frederic Morley) The Australian Flying Corps in the Western and Eastern Theatres of War 1914-8, Angus and Robertson Ltd Sydney, 1941 – Page 131

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record B2455, OXENHAM GORDON VINCENT
National Archives UK RAF Casualty Card 281736, 215199
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Bibliography:

Lax, M. (Mark) (editor) One Man’s War: Aircraft Mechanic Joe Bull’s Personal diaries 1916-9, Banner Books, Maryborough QLD 4650, 1997
Roberts, E.G.  (Eric Glendower) (250197) Box Kites and Beyond, The Hawthorn Press Melbourne VIC 3000, 1976
Sutherland, L. W. (Leslie) Aces and Kings, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1935
Williams, Sir R. (Richard) (1) These are Facts: the Autobiography of Air Marshal Sir Richard Williams KBE, CB, DSO, Australian War Memorial and Australian Government Publishing Service, 1977 – Chapters 3-9

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