Warrant Officer John Joseph McNALLY

Service No: 412647
Born: Wellington NSW, 12 March 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 July 1941
Unit: No. 170 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Hemswell
Died: Air Operations: (No. 170 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ME320), Germany, 5 March 1945, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Francis and Josephine Ellen McNally, of Tilpa, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Wellington NSW
Remembered: Panel 126, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Wellington Cenotaph, Wellington NSW

Lancaster ME320 took off from RAF Hemswell at 1700 hours on the night of 5/6th March
1945, detailed to bomb Chemnitz, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. ME320 was hit by No. 192 Squadron (RAF) Halifax aircraft NR180 and crashed out of control and all its crew members were killed. Warrant Officer McNally’s body was recovered while the other six crew members have no known grave. It is possible that Warrant Officer McNally may have been shot or executed.

The crew members of ME320 were:

Flying Officer Wilbert Alexander Brydon (J/40347) (RCAF) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Cecil Alexander Ebbs (1901246) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Warrant Officer John Joseph McNally (412647) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant John Percival Plant (3010599) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Lieutenant Edward Ross Thornton (116637) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant Donald Wager (1899394) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flying Officer Wilfred Earl Weber (J/40810) (RCAF) (Navigator)

A report by Flight Lieutenant Irvine (Pilot) on the crash landing in Poland of Halifax NR180 of No. 192 Squadron (RAF) on the night of 4/5 March 1945 stated: “We were briefed to be over the target Chemnitz at 0247 hours but arrived at 2149 hours. The target was well ablaze by that time. Our bombs were dropped, and at that moment the Rear Gunner spotted a JU88 on the port quarter. A few seconds later the Rear Gunner gave me a corkscrew to port. This I did on instruments. At the bottom of the dive to port and just after the climb to starboard, I instinctively looked up to the belly and tail of what I think was another Halifax (sic) directly above me and about 30 feet away. There was no time to avoid a collision and the nose of my aircraft struck the tail turret of the other aircraft. The impact took about five feet of the nose of my aircraft off. The other aircraft did not appear to be seriously damaged.”

Warrant Officer Jack Anderson Martin (423147) (Wireless Air Gunner) (Discharged: 23 February 1946) was taken Prisoner or War as the result of the loss of Halifax NR180. The remainder of the crew were British or Canadian and evaded capture or became Prisoners of War.


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, 166/26/841
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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