Sergeant Reginald Henry MURPHY

Service No: 404705
Born: Brisbane QLD, 19 May 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 November 1940
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Station Breighton, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Wellington aircraft Z1254), Germany, 7 May 1942, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Francis William and Josephine Murphy, of Clayfield, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Brisbane QLD
Remembered: Panel 108, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 6-7 May 1942
Target: Stuttgart
Total Force: Dispatched – 77, Attacking – 54
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 10, Attacking – 10
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 93
Total Aircraft Lost: 4
RAAF Aircraft Lost: 2

On May 6-7, navigation to the target was vastly improved, and eight Australian crews claimed to bomb the town itself through thick haze. Most of the bombs actually fell in open country, though some damage was done to the Bosch works and railway lines around the city.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 329-330

Squadron Leader Gilbert and crew were detailed to operate against Stuttgart, Germany on the night of 6/7th May 1942. Z1254 took off from RAF Breighton at 2131 hours on 6th May but failed to return to base after the mission.

The crew members of Z1254 were:

Sergeant Christopher Norman Dixon (1169818) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator)
Flight Sergeant Kenneth Andrew Fogg (R/56267) (RCAF) (Air Gunner)
Squadron Leader Colin Leslie Gilbert (39458) (RAF) (Pilot)
Sergeant James Gordon Lake (404421) (Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 5 December 1945
Sergeant Reginald Henry Murphy (404705) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant John Robert Shearer (400335) (Observer)

In a later statement by Sergeant Lake he reported “the aircraft was caught in searchlights and shortly after set on fire by flak. The aircraft was enveloped in flames in a matter of seconds. Nothing was heard from the Captain and Lake baled out at approximately 11,000 feet and landed in a village about 1.30am and was captured by police after daylight. No others had baled out and shortly after he left the aircraft there was an explosion. The aircraft was hit near Karlsruhe.”

No. 460 Squadron lost Wellington Z1413 (Flying Officer William Joseph Kennedy (402362) (Pilot)) on 7 May 1942.


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 A705,163/146/128


Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985

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