Richard Saunders's story

At the outbreak of the war, Richard Saunders was serving as an acting intelligence officer with the 45th Infantry Battalion (re-raised as a militia unit in 1921). After 3 or 4 months in that position, he decided to join the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS).

Richard started Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) training at Narrandera in New South Wales. After 4 months, he was deemed as unsuitable for further training after landing a plane a 'bit high'. So he returned to the 45th Battalion.

After serving with the 45th Battalion for a number of months, Richard was transferred to 31st Brigade Headquarters, as a sergeant acting as brigade intelligence officer. Several months later, he was posted to the 2nd Division as an intelligence officer.

In September 1942, Richard was sent to New Guinea Force headquarters in Port Moresby. Soon afterwards, he was attached to the 90th American Bomb Group as an air liaison officer.

In May 1943, Richard was posted from the 90th American Bomb Group to the 3rd Attack Group, which was the first bomber unit to be stationed on the northern side of New Guinea, at Dobodura. His unit supported ground attacks, like the one at Shaggy Ridge, as well as launching attacks against Japanese shipping.

Richard was sent to Morotai as part of an air liaison group, in preparation for the capture of the Borneo oilfields at Tarakan, Balikpapan and Brunei. He was posted to the 307th Bomb Group of the American Air Force and helped in those operations, as well as operations against the Philippines.

When the war ended, Richard was posted to Kupang in Timor, where he worked as an intelligence officer investigating Japanese war crimes. He discharged in April 1946 as a captain with No 1 Australian Air Liaison Group.

Last updated: 8 October 2021

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2021), Richard Saunders's story, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 24 January 2022,
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