We regret to advise of the passing of Lieutenant Commander Leslie Albert (“Annie”) OAKLEY DFC RAN (Rtd) in Canberra on Friday 14 August 2020 at the age of 98 years. The funeral was a private family occasion in Sydney.

LCDR Oakley, who was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross during his RAAF WWII service, was one of a number of ex-WWII aircrew who joined the RAN in ’47/48 and later joined the 21st Carrier Air Group in the UK before returning onshore as part of 817 Squadron in 1951. Most of those aircrew went on to serve in the Korean War in 805, 808 or 817 Naval Air Squadrons.

Well-known RAN pilot and Korean War veteran, LCDR Fred Lane, has the following story about LCDR Oakley’s Korean service: “Annie” Oakley was John Roland’s usual Number Three to Shorty’s Number Four in 817 in Korea. One day Annie changed a briefing mid-air by hand signal to John to go into long line astern for a railway bridge target. John, who was the most accurate bomb dropper in the CAG, correctly interpreted this as line astern, one bridge length pylon to pylon, so that both aircraft’s bombs exploded together on their respective pylon. This they did and for the first time in Sydney CAG’s history dropped an entire span in one pass. (Unfortunately, John had to fly through Annie’s bomb shrapnel and one large piece lodged in an elevator hinge, rock solid jamming the elevator. By deft power, aileron and rudder control John, escorted by Annie, flew to Kimpo and landed safely).

John Da Costa