Sergeant John Percival IRWIN

Service No: 426104
Born: Gladstone QLD, 29 April 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 23 May 1942
Unit: No. 57 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station East Kirkby
Died: Air Operations: (No. 57 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB419), Germany, 20 January 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Gilbert Mitchell Percy Lamington Irwin and Lucy Pearl Irwin, of Gladstone, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Gladstone QLD
Remembered: Panel 124, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1646 hours on the night of 20 January 1944 Lancaster JB419 took off from East Kirkby detailed to bomb Berlin. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft crashed in the target area with six crew members killed and one taken prisoner.

The crew members of JB419 were:

Flight Sergeant Norman Cottrell (1425970) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Reginald Sidney William Cowdrey (1317812) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant John Percival Irwin (426104) (Rear Gunner)
Pilot Officer John Campbell MacGillivray (J/19277) (RCAF) (Pilot)
Sergeant Dennis Raymond Mills (1625986) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant J S Whittle (1395286) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber) PoW
Sergeant Francis Wilson (995612) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

A later report by a Missing Research and Enquiry team stated “A four engine bomber appeared in the area between Kienberg and Bornicke and south east of Berlin between 2300/2400 hours. The aircraft was flying very low and might have been attempting a belly landing. It hit the ground about 600 yards west of Kienberg, burst into flame on impact and continued to burn for about an hour with ammunition going off. There were no bombs on board.”


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, 166/19/41

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