Australia Service Medal; (unnamed), Korea Medal, 1st issue (011475 J. W. Slater.) U.N. Korea unnamed as issued.
together with South Korea and United States of America ‘unit citation’ ribands, and new cloth RAAF wings,
D.F.C. L.G. 29/9/1953:
‘In recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Korea’
Citation states: ‘Pilot Officer Slater has completed one hundred and thirty one missions during his tour of seven months with No. 77 Squadron in Korea and during this tour he has proved himself a capable and courageous section leader, having led many successful attacks against heavily defended targets.
On 31st December 1952 he led a section of Meteor aircraft in an attack against rail traffic parked along a main supply route. In the face of intense anti-aircraft fire repeated attacks were made until his ammunition was expended. Large fires and secondary explosions were seen as his section withdrew from the target.
Throughout this and many other attacks Pilot Officer Slater’s personal courage, aggressiveness and determination have been an inspiration to other pilots of the squadron, and the cheerful manner in which he has performed all the duties allotted to him have made him a very popular squadron member.
His rating as a fighter pilot is “Above the Average”.’
John William Slater was born on 14 June 1926 in Toowoomba, Queensland and first enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force on 14 July 1944 as an Aircraftsman Class II. Promoted to Leading Aircraftman on 27 January 1945, he was discharged at his own request on 24 August 1945. Re-enlisting on 23 February 1948 as a Trainee Pilot, he joined 30 Squadron at Schofields on 26 August 1949 and was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 26 February 1951. Joining 77 (Interceptor/Fighter) Squadron, equipped with Gloster Meteors, on 28 August 1952, he served with them, as a newly promoted Pilot Officer, in Korea from 17 September 1952 until 8 March 1953. Completing 132 operational sorties of which 77 were ‘strikes and attacks’, his operations included Combat Air Patrol, Rocket and Napalm Strikes, Scramble to Intercept, Bomber Escort and Armed Recce.
The squadron’s casualty rate in Korea was twenty-five percent killed or captured. Forty-one pilots died, thirty-five from the RAAF and six on exchange from the Royal Air Force. A further seven pilots became prisoners of war. Aircraft losses totalled almost sixty, including over forty Meteors, mostly to ground fire. The squadron flew 18,872 sorties, including 3,872 in Mustangs and 15,000 in Meteors. It was credited with shooting down five MiG-15s and destroying 3,700 buildings, 1,408 vehicles, ninety-eight railway engines and carriages, and sixteen bridges.
Slater was promoted Flying Officer on 1 September 1953 and for his service in Korea was awarded the D.F.C., the Government House file citing ‘Outstanding courage during many successful attacks against enemy whilst with 77 Squadron.’ He was presented with his award at Government House, Canberra by Her Majesty The Queen on 15 February 1954.
He resigned from the Permanent Royal Australian Air Force on 18 May 1954 and enrolled in the Royal Australian Air Force Reserve. On 5 September 1955 he was appointed to a direct commission in the General Duties (Pilot) branch of the Royal Air Force in the rank of Flying Officer.
Sold together with copied research including good quality photographs of the recipient in Korea and No. 77 Squadron records including combat reports from operations involving the recipient. The recipient’s full service record is available from the Australian National Archives.
slight test scrape at 6 o’clock to the edge of the Korea