- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Flight Lieutenant
- H.M.A.S. "Sydney" (D 48), Royal Australian Navy
- Awarded on:
- June 6th, 1941
"The Secretary, Department of the Navy, has forwarded to my Department a recommendation for the award of a decoration to Flight Lieutenant Thomas McBride Price.
Flight Lieutenant Price has served continuously in H.M.A.S. “Sydney” since 17.7.38. At the bombardment of Bardia on 21.5.40 price piloted a Seagull aircraft from H.M.A.S. “Sydney”. With Lieutenant Commander Bacon of that ship as observer, this officer was engaged in spotting duties in co-operation with the naval forces attacking the Italian position. When at the height of 9,000 feet the seagull was suddenly attacked by a formation of three Italian fighters which dived from cloud above and to the rear. The first indication of the attack was the sound of machine gun fire. Flight Lieutenant Price immediately tried to bring his front and rear guns to bear on the enemy, but the second burst of fire served the aileron control wires and the Seagull went into a steep dive. Price managed to regain control at approximately 2,000 feet and, the aircraft having been badly hit, decided to attempt a forced landing at El Sollum, a few miles along the coast and about 10 mile inside the Egyptian border. The country at El Sollum proved to be unsuitable for a forced landing and Flight Lieutenant Price was left with the alternative of alighting on the sea or making for an advance base of the Royal Air Force at Mersa Matruh, 100 miles farther to the eastward. He decided on this second course in spite of the damaged condition of the aircraft which made the journey difficult and hazardous. The tailplane struts of the machine had been almost shot away, the after part of the hull and fin badly riddled and the main spar of the lower mainplane had been damaged in addition to the severed aileron control wires. The flight, however, was made successfully. Flight Lieutenant Price instructed his crew to tighten their safety belts and prepare for a crash landing. This he carried out on arrival at Mersa Matruh without any injury to personnel, though the port landing wheel collapsed and the aircraft skidded along on one wing when landing. It was due to the pilot’s skill that there were no casualties and that the engine and other valuable parts of the plane were salvaged. Captain Collins of the H.M.A.S. “Sydney” in his report commented highly on the skilful manner in which Flight Lieutenant Price brought his badly damaged machine back to British territory.
Subsequently Price rendered valuable services wilst engaged in spotting duties during a daylight bombardment of Searpante and in the initial stages of the operations connected with the establishment of an advance base at Suda Bay.
I desire to inform you that the Air Board has recommended and I have approved of the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Flight Lieutenant Thomas McBride Price."