Flight Sergeant John Henry MURPHY

Service No: 425337
Born: Irvinebank QLD, 3 July 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 1 February 1942
Unit: No. 166 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Kirmington
Died: Air Operations: (No. 166 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LM385), Lincolnshire, 16 December 1943, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Patrick Francis and Susan Eileen Murphy, of Tolga, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Tolga QLD
Remembered: Panel 127, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1626 hours on the night of 16/17 December Lancaster LM385 took off from Kirmington detailed to bomb Berlin. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft crashed at 2359 hours on 16 December half a mile due north of Caistor, Lincolnshire, and all the crew members were killed.

The crew members of LM385 were:

Sergeant Ward William James Allen (R/179370) (RCAF) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Bruce Wismer Haney (R/158965) (RCAF) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Henry George Alfred Hine (1394419) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Henry Edwin Miles (1237269) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Stanley Frederick Miller (1503799) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant John Henry Murphy (425337) (Wireless Operator Air)
Sergeant Terence Rudden (1676327) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

A flying accident investigation into the accident reported: “The pilot had identified himself on radio and was given ‘prepare to land. No acknowledgement was received. Flying Control continued to call until 2357 hours. At 2350 hours a telephone message from Caistor reported that a plane had crashed. The aircraft caught fire and was extensively burnt. Cloud base was 700 feet above MSL Visibility 1-2 miles. Height of ground at crash site 370 feet. The propellers were not feathered and the undercarriage was in the up position. The aircraft had disintegrated and burnt after a collision with a tree. The aircraft had crashed into high ground when attempting to locate the aerodrome through low cloud at night. The cloud base was dangerously low particularly with the ground up to 450 feet within 5 miles of the aerodrome.”


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, 166/28/209

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