O’REILLY Francis Michael 406730

LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Francis Michael O’REILLY

Service No: 406730
Born: Collie WA, 15 January 1817
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 March 1941
Unit: No. 2 Squadron, Hughes, NT
Died: Air Operations (No. 2 Squadron Hudson aircraft A16-209), Timor, 21 August 1942, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Patrick Joseph and Agnes Mary O’Reilly, of Mosman Park, Western Australia
Roll of Honour: Mosman Park WA
Remembered: Panel 98, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

On 21st August five Hudsons of No. 2 set out to support the hard-pressed troops (Sparrow Force) on Timor by attacking Maubisse. Bombs were dropped on the town and the Hudsons then reconnoitred the roads in the area. Two Zeros attacked and set on fire a Hudson captained by Flying Officer Sydney George Wadey (407086), who was able to bale out before the machine crashed into the side of a hill. This Zero then made seven unsuccessful attacks on the Hudsons which all remained in close formation except for one captained by Flying Officer Neil Thomson Badger (407161), who flew towards thin cloud, pursued by the second Zero. Badger evaded the Zero by flying low along the valleys until he reached the sea. There the Zero attacked again but was shot down into the sea at 50-yards range. Wadey, badly burnt, was found by natives who carried him in a chair to men of Sparrow Force; later he was returned safely to Darwin.

Extract from Gillison, D.N. (Douglas Napier) (254475) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – Pages 643-4

The crew members of A16-209 were:

Sergeant William Ross Edeson (406716) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Stanley Winter Faull (401779) (Observer)
Sergeant Walter Herbert Gould (414224) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Francis Michael O’Reilly (406730) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Sydney George Wadey (407068) (Pilot) Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 22 November 1945

References:

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
National Archives of Australia On-line Record A705, 163/148/276

Bibliography:

Bennett, J. (John William) Highest Traditions: the history of No. 2 Squadron RAAF, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995
Gaston, Bruce DFC (406646), Harry Horner DFC OAM (406595), Raymond Storer (406666) (Editors), Aircrew for the Duration: of and by members of RAAF EATS Courses 10, 11, 12 & 13, Gaston Horner and Storer, Nedlands WA, 1990
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992