McMULLAN John Francis 406660

LEST WE FORGET

Squadron Leader John Francis McMULLAN

Service No: 406660
Born: Cottesloe WA, 22 June 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 3 March 1941
Unit: No. 466 Squadron, RAF Driffield, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 466 Squadron Halifax aircraft LW116), France, 22 June 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Terlincthun British War Cemetery, Wimille, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Joseph and Annie McMullan, of East Fremantle, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

The first Australian daylight attack, against Siracourt on 22nd June when 15 Halifaxes of No. 466 led No. 4 Group, was by comparison very disappointing. Fighter cover brought the bombers unmolested to the target and the master bomber first gave instructions for crews to bomb
visually, but as early results were poor he then ordered the remainder to aim at target indicator bombs laid by Squadron Leader William Walter Blessing DSO DFC (404648) and other pathfinders of No. 105 Squadron who had accompanied the force. Despite this extra aid the bombing continued to be scattered. Wing Commander Connolly (1) had found both his H2S and Gee equipment unserviceable and was forced to bomb a near-by airfield, while two other crews of No. 466 attacked alternative targets. They were surprised at the strength of the gun defences, five RAAF Halifaxes being hit during bombing and another while passing over Boulogne; Squadron Leader McMullan and his crew were shot down and killed.

(1) Wing Commander Hamilton Wellesley Connolly DFC & Bar (402492) was discharged from the RAAF on 9 August 1945.

Herington, J. (John) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 175-6

Halifax LW116 took off from RAF Driffield at 1323 hours on 22 June 1944 to carry out a daylight mission to bomb a flying bomb site at Siracourt, France. Fifteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and of these LW116 failed to return. The Squadron Operations Record Book records that the aircraft was hit by flak and some of the crew (at least two) were seen to bale out. The aircraft was seen to hit the ground and explode. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed at approx 3pm on 22/6/44 near Houvin-Houvigneul, which is 37 miles south west of Lille, France.

The crew members of LW116 were:

Flying Officer Nelson Ellis Bowman (414753) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant C M Dawson (1895949) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner) PoW
Warrant Officer Thomas Harrison (413117) (Navigator)
Warrant Officer Clarence Archibald Jones (417200) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant G E Kent (1121765) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Squadron Leader John Francis McMullan (406660) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Meredith Burford Parker (422680) (Second Pilot)
Warrant Officer Herbert William Sedgwick (425074) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

In a later report Sergeant Dawson stated “Aircraft hit by anti-aircraft fire when flying at 16,000 feet. Port inner caught fire then whole wing. Intercom working. Captain ordered bale out. Only self, Bowman and Kent acknowledged. Kent and I baled out through the rear. Saw Bowman in his turret before we left. We were then at 15,000ft in a shallow dive. Kent and I interrogated in same camp. The Germans told us all rest of crew were dead. Kent told me he had seen Sedgwick lying back in the aircraft apparently dead or unconscious. Parker was also seen struggling with the front hatch.”

W R Chorley records that Squadron Leader McMullan at age 22 was ‘amongst the youngest Australian Flight Commanders on bomber operations in the entire war’.

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Chorley, W R. Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War – Volume 5 Aircraft and Aircrew Losses 1944, Midland Counties Publications, 1997
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, 166/26/489

Bibliography:

Gaston, Bruce DFC (406646), Harry Horner DFC OAM (406595), Raymond Storer (406666) (Editors), Aircrew for the Duration: of and by members of RAAF EATS Courses 10, 11, 12 & 13, Gaston Horner and Storer, Nedlands WA, 1990