Flight Sergeant Laurence Dominic MORAN

Service No: 437436
Born: Mile End SA, 12 February 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 30 January 1943
Unit: No. 21 Operational Training Unit (RAF), RAF Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 21 Operational Training Unit Wellington aircraft NC649), Gloucestershire, 30 October 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, Oxfordshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Michael Lawrence and Margaret Gertrude Moran, of Mile End, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Thebarton SA
Remembered: Panel 127, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

On the 30th October 1944, Wellington NC649 took off from RAF Moreton-in-Marsh, for a night cross-country training exercise. At 2335 hours while in the process of letting down through cloud the aircraft is believed to have stalled for and it crashed out of control and burst into flames at Donnington Farm near Stow-0n-the-Wold, Gloucestershire. All on board were killed.

The crew members of NC649 were:

Sergeant John Stanley Allan (1524157) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Pilot Officer William Peter Cobbaw Finlayson (164363) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Flight Sergeant Laurence Dominic Moran (437436) (Pilot)
Sergeant William Henry Plunkett (1594267) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Dennis Pratt (1598625) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Robert Morton Sinclair (1565049) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Denis George Talbot (1852473) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)

A Court of Inquiry concluded that: “NC649 took off at 1900 hours on the 30th October. Flight Sergeant Moran was a Pilot under training flying with a crew of six also under training. The cross-country route was Base – St David’s St Mary’s, -Tiverton- Bristol- Priors Hardwick- Odstone- Base. At 2328 hours the aircraft received a QDM (magnetic heading to base) and it was expected that radio communication would soon be established but after the QDM nothing was heard.

At about 2330 hours the aircraft was heard circling near an Royal Observation Corps Post Y3 Stow on the Wold. It appeared to circle twice before crashing about half a mile from the post, and it hit the ground about 250 feet above the airfield. The cloud at base was 800 feet with patches of cloud at 500 feet. The cause of the accident was obscure, but it was considered that the accident was due to the aircraft striking high ground while endeavouring to locate the aerodrome under a low cloud base. It was considered possible that the Pilot was not flying on instruments but was looking out.”


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 A705, 166/28/432

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