Pilot Officer Owen Scott MacPHILLAMY MID

Service No: 423850
Born: Sydney NSW, 28 October 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 18 July 1942
Unit: No. 578 Squadron (RAF), RAF Burn, Yorkshire
Awarded the Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 578 Squadron Halifax aircraft LM393), Belgium, 13 August 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Chievres Communal Cemetery, Chievres, Hainaut, Belgium
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Angus Owen and Isma MacPhillamy, of Rockley, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Bathurst NSW
Remembered: Panel 126, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

The force assembled for the first raid on Russelsheim on 12th-13th August was composed of 287 Halifaxes and Lancasters drawn from five separate groups, the Australian contribution being 17 Lancasters from No. 463, 17 from No. 467 and 22 aircraft with RAAF captains spread among the other squadrons. There was little cloud and the main bomber stream arrived to find that ground markers had been laid on time by the pathfinders and were both plentiful and well grouped. Moderate heavy ground defences could not spoil the rhythm of attack and German fighters appeared in force only towards the end of the operation, being particularly persistent in their attacks as the gaggle of bombers streamed homewards. Despite these favourable bombing conditions only a dispersed attack developed, although some heavy explosions were reported and many fires seen.

Australian crews gave very conflicting reports at their debriefing. Some thought that bombing was concentrated, others believed it was scattered; many stated that fires were of no great magnitude, but some said that they covered the whole area. Subsequent photographs showed that there was damage only in the south-west area of the huge works and was confined mainly to storage, loading and dispatch sections; residential property to the south-east of the factory had suffered considerably and there was evidence of fires in the surrounding woods. The bomb-load expended had been some 510 tons of high explosive and 450 tons of incendiary bombs, so that as a whole the raid could not be described as having achieved great success. For this moderate result Bomber Command lost 20 aircraft including one from No. 467 and 3 piloted by Australians of Nos. 50, 102 and 622 Squadrons.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 183

On the night of 12/13th August 1944, Halifax LM 393 took off from RAF Burn at 2149 hours, detailed to bomb Russelsheim, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft was shot down by a night fighter, and crashed at Chapelle-et-Ois (Hainaut), 8 kms west north west of Ath. Four of the crew were killed, one became a Prisoner of War and two evaded capture.

The crew members of LM393 were:

Sergeant N R Beamish (179537) (RAF) (Air Bomber) Evaded capture
Flight Sergeant Lancelot Ross Bodey (434213) (Wireless Air Gunner) Evaded capture: Discharged from the RAAF: 25 June 1945
Pilot Officer Owen Scott MacPhillamy MID (423850) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer John Wensley Humble (170143) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Francis Benjamin Newman (1589826) (RAF) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Sergeant Leonard Stafford (2221029) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant George Ernest Ward (1865789) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)

The aircraft lost identified in Herington’s extract were No. 467 squadron Lancaster aircraft PD 230 (Flying Officer Rodney James Mellowship (417870) (Pilot)), No. 50 Squadron Lancaster NE135 (Flying Officer Douglas Leslie Haynes (422517) (Pilot)), No. 102 Squadron Halifax MZ647 (Flight Lieutenant Philip Edward Young (422825) (Pilot)) and No. 622 Squadron Lancaster PD230 (Flying Officer John Harold Busby (418798) (Pilot))

In addition, RAAF members were lost in No. 514 Squadron Lancaster LM215 (Pilot Officer Henry Frederick Roome (434016) (Second Pilot)) and No. 635 Squadron Lancaster ND694 (Warrant Officer Alwyn Terence Till (410756) (Air Bomber)).


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 A9300, MacPHILLAMEY O S

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