b. 28/06/1917 Nongoma, South Africa. d. 13/07/1943 near Brest, France.
Born on 28 June 1917 in Nongoma, Natal Province, South Africa, the grandson of Admiral A T D. Nettleton, he was educated at Western Province Preparotary school (WPPS) in Cape Town, His parents were John Hennah Nettleton and Ethel Maud Nettleton nee Barker. Nettleton then served as a Naval cadet on the General Botha training ship and then for 18 months in the South African Merchant Marine. He took up civil engineering, working in various parts of South Africa. Commissioned in the RAF in December 1938, he then served with Nos. 207, 98 and 185 Squadrons before joining 44 Squadron flying the Handley Page Hampden. He took part in a daylight attack on Brest on 24 July 1941 and in a series of other bombing raids and was mentioned in dispatches in September 1940. Nettleton was promoted Flying Officer in July 1940, Flight Lieutenant in February 1941 and was a Squadron Leader by July 1941. No. 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron was based at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire at this time and had taken delivery of Lancasters in late 1941.
In 1942 a daylight bombing mission was planned by RAF Bomber Command against the MAN diesel engine factory at Augsburg in Bavaria, responsible for the production of half of Germany’s Uboat engines. It was to be the longest lowlevel penetration so far made during World War II, and it was the first daylight mission flown by the Command’s new Avro Lancaster.
Thus on 17 April 1942 Squadron Leader Nettleton was the leader of one formation of six Avro Lancaster bombers on a daylight attack on a diesel engine factory at Augsburg, near Munich Germany flying Lancaster Mk I, R5508, coded "KM-B" .
A second flight of six Lancasters from No 97 Squadron based at RAF Woodhall Spa, close to Waddington, did not link up with the six from 44 squadron as planned, although they had ample time to do so before the aircraft left England by Selsey Bill, West Sussex.
When they had just crossed the French coast at low level near Dieppe, German fighters of JG 2, returning after intercepting a planned diversionary raid which had been organised to assist the bombers, attacked the 44 Squadron aircraft a short way inland and four Lancasters were shot down. Nettleton continued towards the target in and his two remaining aircraft attacked the factory, bombing it amidst heavy anti aircraft fire.
Nettleton survived the incident, his damaged Lancaster limping back to the UK, finally landing near Blackpool.
Nettleton died on 13 July 1943, during a raid on Turin in Italy, when shot down in the Bay of Biscay..
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: BODY NEVER RECOVERED.
Nettleton Primary School, Harare
St Clements Danes Church, Aldwych