Warrant Officer Richard Benjamin O’NEILL

Service No: 401533
Born: Sydney NSW, 27 September 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 February 1916
Unit: No. 221 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Luqa, Malta
Died: Air Operations: (No. 221 Squadron Wellington aircraft JA363), Italy, 31 December 1943, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Salerno War Cemetery, Italy
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John and Persia O’Neill, of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 128, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 2245 hours on 30 December 1943 Wellington JA363 took off from Luqa detailed to provide escort cover for a convoy. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. The wreckage of JA363 was discovered and the wreckage of another aircraft was found nearby and it was suggested that there had been a collision, but this was not confirmed by any evidence. All the crew members of JA363 had been killed. Information about the other aircraft is not on the available records.

The crew members of JA363 were:

Sergeant Leslie Charles Cornwell (1331434) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant John Edward Fake (1427346) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Henry Wilkinson Hewitt (1531619) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer Richard Benjamin O’Neill (401533) (Pilot)
Sergeant Raymond Stripe (1389828) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Colin Wilson (413301) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)


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, 166/31/136