KIRKBY George Henry 406332

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant George Henry KIRKBY

Service No: 406332
Born: Kalgoorlie WA, 22 October 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 11 November 1940
Unit: No. 104 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 104 Squadron Wellington aircraft Z8572), Landing Ground 106, Egypt, 26 June 1942, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Alfred George and May Florence Kirkby, of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Kalgoorlie WA
Remembered: Column 265, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
Remembered: Panel 125, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Wellington Z8572 of 104 Squadron was detailed to carry out two missions on the night of 25/26th June 1942. The first was from Landing Ground 25 which was successfully carried out. On the second mission the aircraft having been refuelled and bombed up at a disused Landing Ground No 106, was ready to take off at 0115 hours on 26 June 1942, when an enemy air raid commenced. Z8572 was destroyed by a violent explosion and burst into flames. Four crew struggled out of the aircraft, but two were killed – Flight Sergeant Kirby and Pilot Officer Smith-Windsor.

The crew members of Z8572 were:

Sergeant J H Jones (649219) (RAF) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant J B Jule (1059940) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant George Henry Kirkby (406332) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) Killed
Sergeant F M Sharplin (41366) (RNZAF) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Grenville Smith-Windsor (J/6132) (RCAF) (Observer) Killed
Pilot Officer R C Tait (391421) (RNZAF) (Second Pilot)

Both Flight Sergeant Kirby and Pilot Officer Smith-Windsor were buried at Landing Ground 106. Post war searches however failed to find the location of their graves and they are recorded as having no known grave.

References:

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 Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/133/150