Sold with the recipient's original R.A.A.F. Flying Log Books (2), privately bound into one volume, the whole covering the period 1940 to 1967, with a number of post-career entries for the periods 1945-49 with A.N.A. and 1965-67 in a private capacity, and including the official message announcing the award of his D.S.O., with related Postagram from "Bomber" Harris (dated 21.12.1943); D.S.O. Warrant (dated 7.1.1944); Buckingham Palace investiture letter (dated 25.2.1944); Certificate for Path Finder Force Badge (dated 18.11.1943); several wartime photographs and his handwritten career summary.
D.S.O. London Gazette 7.1.1944. Recommendation states 'Squadron Leader O'Neill has made 34 ARI.5513 operations with this Squadron, twenty of which were as a P.F.F. marker. He took part in the first raid using the first system on Lutterade in December 1942 and was operating continuously during the heavy Ruhr attacks. He had great success as a marker and achieved a very high reputation in the Squadron. On many of his marking sorties he had technical difficulties to overcome but his determination and ability ensured that the sorties were successful where a less able Pilot would have failed and left a serious gap in the marking. Throughout his service with his Squadron, Squadron Leader O'Neill made a deep impression on all his comrades with the confidence and courage he always showed. He is strongly recommended for the immediate award of the D.S.O.'
D.F.C. London Gazette 21.11.1941.
Squadron Leader Eugene Hugh "Mick" O'Neill, D.S.O., D.F.C., was born in Hobart, Tasmania in September 1913 and educated at St.Patrick's College, Ballarat. Employed as a Radiologist pre-War, a reserved occupation, he enlisted the help of a decorated Great War A.F.C. Pilot, Jim Disney (afterwards Sir James, Mayor of Melbourne), to gain entry into the R.A.A.F. on the outbreak of hostilities. The latter provided him with a reference for having worked as a Car Salesman at Disney Motors, which paperwork satisfied the authorities that he was no longer of reserved occupation. One of the first 50 volunteer entrants to the R.A.A.F., he commenced Pilot Training at Somers, Victoria and at Narromine, New South Wales. Next despatched to Canada as part of the first Australian Contingent of the Empire Air Training Scheme, he finally arrived in U.K., 'Wings' up, in December 1940.
After attending an O.T.U., he joined No. 57 Squadron at Feltwell for the commencement of his first tour of operations in April 1941. Initially serving as 2nd Pilot, he participated in raids on Brest, Emden, Hamburg (thrice) and Mannheim, but towards the end of May 1941 he was commissioned and became 1st Pilot. In a raid on Kiel on 24 June, his Wellington was forced down to a low altitude by enemy ground fire and the Rear-Gunner badly wounded. O'Neill handed over to his 2nd Pilot and made his way to his wounded crew member to administer first aid ('He survived but with a very badly damaged leg'). On his very next sortie, to Bremen on the night of 27 June, his Wellington was heavily engaged by a Ju. 88 Nightfighter on the way out. With the wings and tailplane badly damaged, and the elevator partially jammed, he was compelled to return to base. In late July, following many more sorties to such targets as Cologne, Duisberg, Essen and Munster, O'Neill was assigned to an attack on the Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen at Brest. Despite the most intense anti-aircraft fire 'he displayed great airmanship and was a great support to his Leader'. By the middle of September, he had completed his first tour of 33 operations, his latter targets including return trips to Cologne, Duisberg, Hamburg and Mannheim, in addition to such specialist strikes as the Chemical Works at Huls. He was awarded a well merited D.F.C.
Posted out to No. 13 Blind Approach Training Unit at Honington, the gallant O'Neill put in a request for a return to operations less than a year later, a request that soon found him reporting to No. 109 Squadron at Wyton. By December 1942 he had completed his training on the Squadron's OBOE Mosquitos and on the 20th of the month he set forth on his first operation for the Path Finder Force. In early March 1943, following 30 sorties to such targets as Bochum (thrice), Cologne (twice), Dortmund (twice), Duisberg (thrice), Dusseldorf (four times), Essen (ten times), Mulheim, St. Nazaire and Wupertal, he was awarded his Path Finder's Badge. Completing his final sortie in June 1943, O'Neill was asked to form an OBOE Training Flight, which work kept him occupied until his recall to Australia in March 1944. He had, meanwhile, been advanced to Acting Squadron Leader and awarded the D.S.O. Towards the end of 1944, with the Allied war effort entering its final phase, an acute shortage of Pilots for Civil Airlines resulted in O'Neill being transferred to Australian National Airways as a Dakota Pilot, which duties he fulfilled until May 1949. He later became a Hotelier back in Tasmania.