Sergeant John McNEILL

Service No: 400259
Born: Ballarat VIC, 15 August 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 21 July 1940
Unit: No. 8 Squadron, operating from Palembang
Died: Air Operations: (No. 8 Squadron Hudson aircraft A16-95), Palembang, 18 January 1942, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Mr. and Mrs. W. J. McNeill, of Newton, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 99, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the 18th Flying Officer Daryl Maxwell Sproule (250641), one of four Buffalo pilots from No. 21/453 Squadron who had escorted 6 (RAF) Blenheims to attack road and rail traffic in the Gemas area, shot down an enemy fighter. Later in the same day 2 more aircraft from No. 21/453 accompanied 3 of No. 8 Squadron’s Hudsons to seek out an enemy ship reported off the coast near the mouth of the Muar River. The ship could not be found but a strong force of Zeros was encountered. Sergeant Norman Richard Chapman (401102) was shot down. One of the Hudsons, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Bell (1), was chased for about 20 miles among the surrounding hills until Sergeant Henry Wreford Parsons (407802), another Buffalo pilot, succeeded in diverting and possibly shooting down one of the two pursuing Zeros before rejoining the Hudson and escorting it safely back to Sembawang. The other 2 Hudsons had turned seaward with at least 5 Zeros in pursuit. The rudder control of one Hudson (A16-95), piloted by Flight Lieutenant Arnold, was damaged by enemy fire. Flight Lieutenant Kleinig (2), the pilot of the other, flew his aircraft as escort to Arnold’s which crossed the north of Sumatra before it could be turned about. In late afternoon, as both Hudsons were closing on Palembang, Arnold’s aircraft went into a spin, crashed on a low hill at the edge of the aerodrome and burst into flames.

(1) Squadron Russell Edwin Bell DFC (O372) was discharged from the RAAF on 18 August 1951.
(2) Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Gordon Kleinig (280511) was discharged from the RAAF on 4 September 1945.

Extract from Gillison, D.N. (Douglas Napier) (254475) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – Page 337

The crew members of A16-95 were:

Flight Lieutenant Robert George Arnold (475) (Pilot)
Flying Officer John McGerchie Hood (408041) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant John McNeill (400259) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant George Frederick Perry (406462) (Wireless Air Gunner)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
Nationals Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/141/236


Hall, E.R. (Eldred Rayner) (O3341) Glory in Chaos, Sembawang Association West Coburg VIC, 1989
Vincent, D. (David) The RAAF Hudson Story Book 1, D. Vincent Highbury SA 5089, 1989
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992

Book Now Book Now