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Alfred Bertram (Paddy) Boyle (1914–1988)

by Mark Lax

This article was published:

Alfred Boyle, 1941

Alfred Boyle, 1941

photo supplied by Jamie Morien

Alfred Bertram (Paddy) Boyle (1914-1988), air force officer and reformatory supervisor, was born on 10 August 1914 at Springsure, Queensland, son of Robert Bertram Boyle, mailman and later farmer, and his wife Elizabeth Anna, née Frazer, both Queensland born. Educated at Westwood State School and at Rockhampton High School and Technical College, he gained the junior commercial certificate in 1932. He worked as a book-keeper, jackeroo and miner before enlisting in the Royal Australian Air Force on 8 November 1940.

`Paddy’, as he was known, trained as a pilot in Australia and Canada, graduating with his wings in August 1941. He arrived in Britain next month. Serving with the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command, he undertook his first operational tour in 1942-43 with No.35 and No.51 squadrons, RAF, and No.460 Squadron, RAAF. He flew Whitley, Wellington, Halifax and Lancaster bombers and was involved in perilous night operations over enemy territory. In February 1943 during an attack on St Nazaire, France, Boyle’s aircraft was hit by falling incendiary bombs that ignited the fuselage. He completed the attack before dealing with the fire. For this action he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Commissioned on 14 March 1943, Boyle instructed aircrew at No.27 Operational Training Unit until June 1944, when he was posted to No.467 Squadron, RAAF. He won a Bar to his DFC for pressing home an attack on Stettin, Germany (Szczecin, Poland), at low level in August. Having completed fifty-one operational sorties by November, he ended the war as a temporary flight lieutenant (substantive September 1948) flying transport aircraft with No.511 Squadron, RAF, on shuttle runs from Britain to India and the Azores.

On 29 March 1945 at the parish church, Penn Fields, Wolverhampton, Boyle married Annie Woolley Hartill, a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service. Back in Australia in 1946, he served as an air traffic control officer in Canberra until mid-1947, when he resumed flying duties. In 1950 he joined No.11 Squadron, a maritime reconnaissance unit equipped with Lincoln and later Neptune aircraft. Early in 1952 he piloted a Lincoln to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands to pick up a seriously injured airman. On the hazardous return flight to Perth, the aircraft’s radios and two of its four engines failed but Boyle landed safely. For his leadership, initiative and flying skill he was awarded the Air Force Cross.

Boyle was promoted to squadron leader on 1 January 1953. After holding a number of staff appointments from 1954, he transferred to the Retired List on 11 August 1957. He worked as a senior officer at Riverbank, a Perth reform institution for boys, where he touched the lives of many young men before finally retiring in 1979. Five ft 10 ins (178 cm) tall and of medium build, with blue eyes and black hair, he was described by his superiors in the RAAF as `a well balanced, dependable officer’ and by his family as `modest and compassionate’. He died on 29 May 1988 in Royal Perth Hospital and was cremated; his wife and their two daughters survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • P. Firkins, Strike and Return (2000)
  • West Australian, 2 June 1988, p 20
  • series A9300, item Boyle A B (National Archives of Australia)
  • private information.

Citation details

Mark Lax, 'Boyle, Alfred Bertram (Paddy) (1914–1988)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2007, accessed online 14 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17, (Melbourne University Press), 2007

View the front pages for Volume 17

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Alfred Boyle, 1941

Alfred Boyle, 1941

photo supplied by Jamie Morien