Pilot Officer Maurice McHUGH

Service No: 410858
Born: St Kilda VIC, 9 July 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 27 February 1942
Unit: No. 620 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Fairford
Died: Air Operations: (No. 620 Squadron Stirling aircraft LK548), Netherlands, 20 September 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Groesbeck Canadian War Cemetery, Netherlands
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Augustus and Annie May McHugh, of South Preston, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 126, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1451 hours on 20 September 1944, Stirling LK548 took off from Fairford detailed to operate in conjunction with the British Army in the field in northern Holland. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off, and it failed to return to base. A Missing Research and Enquiry team later reported: “the aircraft crashed at Vorstenbosch, 1.5kms east of Uden.” Four of the crew members were killed and three evaded capture.

The crew members of LK548 were:

Flight Sergeant Eric Arthur Bradshaw (1577432) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant D P Evans (2205525) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) Baled out, Evaded capture
Flight Sergeant N Gascoyne (1139605) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber) Baled out, Evaded capture
Flight Sergeant J G Hume (1561634) (RAFVR) (Navigator) Baled out, Evaded capture
Pilot Officer Maurice McHugh (410858) (Pilot)
Sergeant Thomas Vickers (1890250) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Lance Corporal John Waring (T/14238064) (British Army) Royal Army Service Corps

In a report Flight Sergeant Hume stated: “I was the first to bale out at approximately 1,000 feet. My chute opened and I saw the aircraft strike the ground at a 45 degree angle. I saw two other chutes in the air, and Dutch eye witnesses said only three chutes were seen. McHugh refused a chute which was offered to him.” Flight Sergeant Evans in his report stated: “I was the Flight Engineer on Lancaster LK548 on an operational flight to Arnhem. On the appropriate drop zone intense ack-ack was encountered at a height of about 1,500 feet. The starboard aileron was set alight, but Pilot Officer McHugh kept a straight course and did his utmost to drop the supplies in the correct area and was successful. During the whole time there was intense flak. After dropping the supplies, the Captain put the aircraft into a climb turning back at the same time. The aileron was still burning, and as soon as the aircraft had turned around, the petrol tank immediately forward of the aileron received a direct hit, and the whole wing tip burst into flames. I advised McHugh as to the condition of the aircraft, and he gave the abandon order. I put on a chute and took off my helmet. By now the whole starboard wing was alight, also the centre section, and the Captain was struggling hard to maintain height which was impossible. I was the second to leave the aircraft, and as I jumped I heard several explosions. The Nav was first out and I followed, then the Air Bomber. I was knocked unconscious by the opening of the chute, and did not see the aircraft crash. I landed about 3 miles north of Uden and met the other two. I believe the other three were in the aircraft when it crashed.”


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, 166/26/594

Book Now Book Now