Flying Officer John CALLAHAN

Service No: 400694
Born: Colac VIC, 14 November 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 13 October 1940
Unit: No. 296 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Hurn
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 296 Squadron Whitley aircraft BD453), Hurn, 4 September 1942, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Christchurch Cemetery, Hampshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William and Mary Ann Callahan of Gerangamete, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Gerangamete VIC
Remembered: Panel 119, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 4 September 1942, Whitley BD543 crashed at Hurn when on a non-operational training flight. All on board were killed. The Commanding Officer of No. 296 Squadron stated: “the evidence available tended to indicate that the port engine failed in the air and the Pilot was making an attempt to regain the vicinity of the aerodrome with a view to landing on the runway in use at the time. The aircraft stalled to the left and crashed.”

The crew members of BD543 were:

Flying Officer John Callahan (400694) (Pilot)
Sergeant Alfred Dougherty (571189) (RAF) (Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Kenneth Graham Lavery (J/15318) (RCAF) (Wireless Operator)
Flight Sergeant Richard John Mayes (1377330) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Pilot Officer William Richard Stephens (122317) (RAFVR) (Observer)
Captain Herbert Ray Taylor (93828) (British Army) (Supernumerary) Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Lieutenant Arthur Edward Godstone Twelvetrees (176206) (British Army) (Supernumerary) Hampshire Regiment


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/25/199

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