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Fl/Lt. James Wesley Houston DFM. 51221 Royal Air Force

Born: 2nd July 1919 in Smithboro, County Monaghan, Ireland. Died January 17th 2001 Age 81.

Shot down over Pretzien, Germany on the 22nd January 1944 in Lancaster III JB488 OL-G. 3 crew killed, 4 taken PoW.

As a World War 2 prisoner of war in Germany’s Stalag Luft 3 Paddy Houston assisted in the famous mass break-out by Allied airforce officers in 1944. (‘Great Escape’).

Mr. Houston who lived most of his life in Launceston, Tasmania was a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF 83 Bomber Command Squadron. A pathfinder with the RAF 5 Group he was shot down over Germany in 1944 after completing 67 operational sorties.

Whilst in Stalag Luft 3 he helped by dispersing the soil excavated from the tunnels. Some 80 officers escaped - most recaptured with 50 of them murdered by the Gestapo.

Mr. Houston migrated to Australia from his native County Monaghan, Ireland in 1953. He had heard about the attractions of Tasmania from his Australian crew members. He began his local work at a Beauty Point apple shed but learned the skills of a PMG technician. Following that he worked at Telstra until he retired in 1979.

His interest included wood sculpture and gardening. He lived in Launceston for 46 years before moving to Hobart due to ill health and to be with his family. Mr. Houston wife died in 2000 after 59 years of marriage.

Survived by his son Trevor and daughter Vivienne and their families. Funeral was held at the C.T. Finney Centre, Kings Meadows on the 24th January 2001.

With thanks to Caroline Hutton (relative of F/O. Wallace Kenneth Hutton)

KTY - 27.06.2017

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