Flight Sergeant Francis Raymond SWEENEY

Service No: 427959
Born: Subiaco WA, 18 February 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 11 October 1942
Unit: No. 40 Squadron (RAF), Foggia Main, Italy
Died: Air Operations (No. 40 Squadron Wellington aircraft LP120), Romania, 3 June 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John Francis and Ellen Sweeney, of Subiaco, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 16, Column 2, Malta Memorial, Malta
Remembered: Panel 131, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Wellington LP120 of 40 Squadron RAF, Central Mediterranean Force, took off at 2141 hours on the night of 2nd June 1944 from Foggia, Italy, to attack Giurgiu, Romania. The aircraft failed to return to base after the mission. Four crew members were killed and one survived.

The crew members of LP120 were:

Flight Sergeant Francis Rodney Hughes (415462) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Alexander Smart Millar (1369929) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Walter Eric Samler (1393566) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant K Shaw (1481552) (RAFVR) (Navigator) Survived
Flight Sergeant Francis Raymond Sweeney (427959) (Air Gunner)

Flight Sergeant Shaw later reported “the aircraft crashed approximately 15 miles south of Pirot in Yugoslavia. The aircraft was at 13,000 feet when the pilot requested a course to base and when turning there was an explosion and both engines failed. The order to bale out was given and that he and both Sergeant Millar and Flight Sergeant Sweeney left the aircraft. At the time both Samler and Hughes were still in the aircraft. Hughes was uninjured and the aircraft was under control. The aircraft was over rough country 40 miles west of Sofia. Shaw saw 2 parachutes on the ground next morning and assumed they belonged to both Sweeney and Millar.”

The other four members of the crew have no known grave and their names are commemorated on the Malta Memorial.


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, 166/38/548

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