Missing War, Sacrifice and the Search for Justice

Missing War, Sacrifice and the Search for Justice by Ian W Shaw
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Squadron Leader Daryl Sproule, DFC was a hero. The young and dashing Hobart lawyer was a RAAF 77 Sqn fighter pilot, a survivor of the carnage in the skies over Singapore, a champion sportsman and the touchstone in the life of his single mother. When his aircraft was shot down over New Britain in August 1943, his wingmen saw him land it close to a beach, wade ashore and disappear into the jungle.

In Hobart, Irene Sproule was informed that her son was “Missing.” Two years later, Daryl was still missing, his fate unknown. It would take another two years for the full, deplorable story to be unravelled and the consequences of a wartime atrocity to be played out to a conclusion. In those years, a mother and a brother would have their lives changed brutally, and forever.

RAAF 77 Squadron -  Squadron Leader Daryl Sproule DFC was awarded the Commendation for Gallantry for actions following his capture by the Imperial Japanese Navy and until his execution as a result of an escape attempt around the middle of August 1943. Squadron leader Sproule was shot down by Japanese anti-aircraft fire on 2 August 1943. Swimming from his downed Kittyhawk, he reached the beach near Lindenhafen, in the Gasmata area of New Britain (near New Guinea). Around the middle of August 1943, he was captured, and the following day attempted to escape. During the escape attempt, he was shot and subsequently executed for this escape attempt.

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