The contribution made by Fleet Air Arm Telegraphist Air Gunners (TAGs) in the Pacific War was one of great fortitude, resourcefulness, and conspicuous bravery. Many were lost through enemy action and 69 became Prisoners of War.
TAGs were awarded numerous Distinguished Service Medals and Mentions in Despatches for their actions and there is an exceptional story behind every one, such as Len Barrick, who received a Conspicuous Gallantry medal for guiding his blinded pilot to a safe landing on HMS Victorious in a Fulmar of 884 Squadron and went on to receive the Distinguished Service Medal for bombing operations at Sakishima.
Another TAG, ‘Dickie’ Richardson serving with 849 Squadron in HMS Victorious took part in the decisive bombing raids on the Japanese oil refineries in southern Sumatra and Palembang stemming the supply of fuel for the Japanese war effort, a crucial factor in bringing about the end of the war in the Pacific. During one of these raids on 29 January 1945, Dickie’s plane was badly hit after dropping their bombs.