THIELE Keith Frederick
NZ404966 Squadron Leader, Royal New Zealand Air force

CITATION
Distinguished Service Order
Gazetted 11 May 1943, Supplement 36015, p2154
This officer has, at all times, displayed outstanding keenness and determination during operations,  The majority of his soties have been attacks on
well defended and distant targets which have all been highly successful.  On one occasion during an attack on Berlin, his rear gunner lost
consciousness from lack of oxygen, but Flight Lieutenant Thiele proceeded with the mission although two of his crew were fully occupied with the
unconscious man.  Later he returned to this country at a very low altitude in an attempt to succour the gunner.  While on a flight to Nuremberg in March
1943, the port engine caught fire early on the outward journey.  The flames were extinguished however, and the whole flight accomplished with
success.  His outstanding courage and devotion to duty and confidence have earned the admiration of all.

Distinguished Flying Cross
Gazetted 7 August 1942, Supplement 35661, p3497
This officer has shown great skill and pressed home his attacks regardless of the opposition. A fine leader and a courageous flight commander, this
officer has set a most praiseworthy example.  Amongst the many targets he has attacked are Berlin, Wilhemshaven, Brest, Essen, Cologne, and
Emden.

Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross
Gazetted 25 May 1943, Supplement  36030, p2362
One night in May 1943, this officer captained an aircraft to attack Duisburg.  When nearing the target area, the aircraft was subjected to anti-aircraft fire and severely damaged when a shell burst underneath the fuselage.  Despite this, Squadron Leader Thiele flew on to the target.  Whilst making his bombing run the aircraft was illuminated by searchlights, but this captain maintained a straight course in order to ensure accurate bombing.  Just as the bomb aimer had completed his work, the aircraft was repeatedly hit by fragments of bursting shells.  One burst destroyed one of the engines; while shortly afterwards the second engine was disabled.  The windscreens on the starboard side of the pilot’s and bomb aimer’s cabins were shattered.  Although he was dazed from the blow of a shell splinter which struck him on the side of the head, Squadron Leader Thiele skilfully extricated the damaged bomber from a perilous situation and endeavoured to fly it to base.  Shortly after crossing the English coast he was unable to maintain height, but displayed superb airmanship he struggled on and succeeded in effecting a crash-landing at an airfield.  In most hazardous circumstances Squadron Leader Thiele displayed courage, skill and determination of a high order

Second Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross
Gazetted 8 May 1945, Supplement 37070, p2415
This officer’s operational record is outstanding.  As pilot of a bomber aircraft he completed two tours of duty which he took part in very many attacks on enemy targets.  Since joining his present squadron, Flight Lieutenant Thiele has taken part in a large number of sorties, involving a wide range of enemy targets. He has personally been responsible for the destruction of numerous locomotives, barges and mechanical vehicles.  In air fighting he has shot down two enemy aircraft.  This officer has displayed the highest qualities of skill, together with great bravery and determination.  His example has inspired all.

AWARDS
Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Flying Cross & 2 Bars
1939-45 Star
Air Crew Europe Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
New Zealand War Service Medal

NOTES
Born 25 February 1921 Christchurch, New Zealand
Died 5 January 2016 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Prisoner of War 10 February 1945 to 31 March 1945

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