Tag Archives: Murray Alexander McDonald

Australian War Memorial – information update

Aus WM2

I am pleased to relay to all of you that I received an email from Chris,
Assistant Curator, Military Heraldry & Technology at the Australian War Memorial this morning informing me that, to the best of his and his teams knowledge all items held in the collection which encompasses uniforms, badges, medals  etc and items of military technology has had it’s information updated to correctly/ accurately  reflect the name of the Squadron.

I am really pleased to have received this information as it represents an ongoing effort by the AWM to update their records after an initial request made by myself slightly over a year ago. My first contact was replied to very quickly, but obviously a task of this kind takes time and coordination and obviously has to fit within other projects and activities that the curatorial staff are involved with.

As I said in my original post about this work, whilst a small detail of correction, it’s a significant one , I am sure , for the families and relatives of the 32 Australian airmen that died with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

Many thanks to all of the Australian War Memorial staff who have helped make this happen.

Visit the Australian War Memorial here.

Request for Information. Joseph Henry Godfrey – Rear Gunner 1941

Joseph Henry Godfrey cpd and cont

Sgt. Joseph Henry Godfrey, Rear Gunner with Alfred Raphael and John Parnham. © Stuart Godfrey

Stuart has contacted me regarding his Grandfather Joseph Henry Godfrey, who flew with Alfred Raphael and John Parnham between August 1941 and March 1942 as a Rear Gunner. Apart from the photographs that Stuart has kindly passed on for this post, he knows very little about Joseph’s time with the Squadron, so as always in these situations, it would be fantastic if we might hear either from an interested party regarding these 2 crews, or even better, perhaps a relative of one of the boys that flew with Joseph.

26.8.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Cologne
Wellington Mk.Ic L7848

P/O Alfred Sydney Raphael RAFVR 68155 – Pilot
Sgt. Harry Machin RAFVR 1166970 – 2nd Pilot
Sgt. Robert Gerald Craig RCAF R.69832 – Observer
Sgt. Murray Alexander McDonald RAAF AUS.400352 – Wireless Operator
Sgt. Campbell Ewen Justin Aitchison RNZAF NZ402974 – Front Gunner
Sgt. Joseph Henry Godfrey RAF 1378233 – Rear Gunner

Raphael’s crew completed a bombing attack on the target area. Results unobserved.

28.8.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Dunkirk & Ostend
Wellington Mk.Ic R1409
P/O Raphael, Sgt Machin, Sgt Craig, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Achinson, Sgt Godfrey
P/O Raphael’s crew bombed the Ostend dock entrance and started large fires.

2.9.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Frankfurt
Wellington Mk.Ic Z8834
P/O Raphael, Sgt Manchin, Sgt Craig, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey
P/O Raphael’s crew bombed the primary target and started a large fire that resulted in further small explosions.

13.9.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Brest
Wellington Mk.Ic T2805
P/O Raphael, Sgt Machin, Sgt Craig, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey

15.9.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Hamburg
Wellington Mk.Ic T2805
P/O Raphael, Sgt Machin, Sgt Craig, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey

17.9.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Karlsruhe
Wellington Mk.Ic  Z8834
P/O Raphael, Sgt Machin, Sgt Craig, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey

20.9.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Berlin & Ostend
Wellington Mk. T2805
P/O Raphael, Sgt Machin, Sgt Craig, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey

Not long after the 74 aircraft sent on this Operation had taken off, the crews were recalled – a number of crews failed to receive these instructions and proceeded to the target. Worsening weather and in particular fog over a number of the airfields, resulted in 12 aircraft either crashing, or being left to crash after their crews left them, owing to very poor visibility.

Alfred Raphael and his crew were one of these aircraft. The aircraft landed heavily at approximately 04.00hrs in a large field at Grove Farm, near Upper Street, Horning, nine miles North East of Norwich. Sgt Craig, RCAF, was badly injured in the landing attempt and was admitted to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, where he died the following day.

Frustratingly, there is little further detail about this incident. I have noted in a previous post that the records from this period -perhaps bizarrely seem to omit crews from an Op list if they failed to return – there is no reference to the Raphael crew in the Form 541 regarding this Op to Berlin and it is only through cross referencing Robert Craig’s information in the Roll of Honour and the most fleeting reference to an aircraft coming down at Horning that we can begin to piece together the rather scant details of that night. A little like the landing crash that Bruce Crawford’s crew suffered in 1945, the scale and degree of injury of the crew is impossible to access, other than the explicit information relating to the injury and subsequent death the Observer, Robert Craig.

Suffice to say, there was a pause in the crews activities until the 15th of October.

15.10.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Cologne & Boulogne
Wellington Mk.Ic Z1068
Sgt Parnham, Sgt Sivess, Sgt McGibbon, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey

20.10.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Bremen
Wellington Mk.Ic R1457
Sgt Parnham, Sgt Harrison-Smith, Sgt McGibbon, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitcheson, Sgt Godfrey

21.10.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Boulogne
Wellington Mk.Ic Z1068
Sgt Parnham, Sgt Colville, Sgt McGibbon, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey .

The Parnham crew were briefed to join a small group of aircraft attacking targets at Boulogne, being the only aircraft from the Squadron to take part in this raid.

Their bomb load consisted of 500lb GP, 250lb GP and containers of incendiaries.
 The route forecast predicted considerable cloud cover and probable haze in the target area. 
They were airborne at 18.45hrs for the short flight to the French coast.
 An attack was attempted with incendiaries on the cloud-shrouded target, but results were not observed. The crew then went on to an enemy occupied aerodrome where their HE bombs were dropped. A strike on a hangar was considered probable.
 Little AA fire was encountered.
 Moderate searchlight activity was evident.
 No enemy aircraft were seen.
 The aircraft returned to base and landed at 22.20hrs.

22.10.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Mannheim
Wellington Mk.Ic X9951
Sgt Parnham, Sgt Harrison-Smith, Sgt McGibbon, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey

1.11.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Kiel
Wellington Mk.Ic V1091
Sgt Parnham, Sgt Harrison-Smith, Sgt McGibbon, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey

4.11.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Essen
Wellington Mk.Ic Z1068
Sgt Parnham, Sgt Harrison-Smith, Sgt McGibbon, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey

7.11.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Berlin
Wellington Mk.Ic  Z1068
Sgt Parnham, Sgt Harrison-Smith, Sgt McGibbon, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitcheson, Sgt Godfrey

Two aircraft, Z1091 and Z1068 were forced to return to base early: Z1091 through engine trouble, and Z1068 as a result of the navigator becoming ill.

26.11.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Emden & Ostend
Wellington Mk.Ic  R1086
Sgt Parnham, Sgt Acree, Sgt McGibbon, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey

Crew Photo signed cpd and cont

On the 12th of December Sgt. John Lukies Brown joined the Parnham crew as 2nd Pilot. Thus this photograph must have been taken on or after this date. The Parnham crew – back row, left to right: Sgt. John Lukies Brown (2nd Pilot), Sgt Campbell Ewen Justin Aitchison Aitcheson (Front Gunner), Sgt. Murray Alexander McDonald (Wireless Operator) , Sgt. Joseph Henry Godfrey (Rear Gunner). Front row, left to right: Sgt. Robert McGIbbon (Observer), Sgt John Frederick Massey Parnham (Pilot). © Stuart Godfrey

12.12.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Brest
Wellington Mk. X9975
Sgt Parnham, Sgt Brown, Sgt McGibbon, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey

17.12.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Le Havre & Brest
Wellington Mk. Z1068
Sgt Parnham, Sgt Brown, Sgt McGibbon, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey

27.11.41 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets At Düsseldorf
Wellington Mk. Z1068
Sgt Parnham, Sgt Brown, Sgt McGibson, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey

Astonishingly, for the months of January and February 1942, only 4 Ops were flown by 75(NZ) Squadron RAF. In January, 2 Ops, comprising 5 and a single aircraft respectively. In February, 2 Ops, comprising 3 and a single aircraft respectively.

8.3.42. Attack Against Targets At Essen
Wellington Mk.III X3282
Sgt Parnham, Sgt Brown, Sgt McGibbon, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey

9.3.42 Attack Against Targets At Essen
Wellington Mk.III X3282
Sgt Parnham, Sgt Brown, Sgt McGibbon, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Aitchison, Sgt Godfrey

12.3.42 Attack Against Targets At Kiel
Eight Mk.III Wellingtom Bombers took off between 7.30pm and 8.25pm from Feltwell, to join a total force of 68 Wellingtons on an attack on the Deutsche Werke U-boat yard in Kiel.

Five aircraft were lost, 3 from 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

The circumstances surrounding the loss of Wellington Mk.III, X3282 are unknown but the aircraft was brought down near Schleswig, 40 miles North West of the target area. All six crew members died. Five of the bodies were initially buried in the Garrison Cemetery, Schleswig. The six deceased were later reinterred in the Kiel War Cemetery.

Sgt. John Frederick Massey Parnham RAFVR 1254725. Pilot. Age 21.
Buried Kiel War Cemetery Germany.

Sgt. John Lukies Brown RNZAF NZ402534. Pilot. Age 22.
Buried Kiel War Cemetery, Kiel Germany.

Sgt. Robert McGibbon RAFVR 998735. Observer. Age 26.
Buried Kiel War Cemetery Germany.

Sgt. Campbell Ewen Justin Aitchison , RNZAF NZ402974. Front Gunner. Age 22.
Buried Kiel War Cemetry, Germany.

Sgt Murray Alexander McDonald RAAF AUS.400352. Wireless Operator. Age 23.
Buried Kiel War Cemetery Germany.

Sgt. Joseph Henry Godfrey RAFVR 1378233. Rear Gunner. Age 29.
Buried Kiel War Cemetery, Germany.

Crew Photo flying jackets cont and cpd

A second photograph of the Parnham crew, this time wearing their flying jackets, all lost on the night of 12th March 1942. The Parnham crew – back row, left to right: Sgt. John Lukies Brown (2nd Pilot), Sgt Campbell Ewen Justin Aitchison Aitcheson (Front Gunner), Sgt. Murray Alexander McDonald (Wireless Operator) , Sgt. Joseph Henry Godfrey (Rear Gunner). Front row, left to right: Sgt. Robert McGIbbon (Observer), Sgt John Frederick Massey Parnham (Pilot). © Stuart Godfrey

 

 

 

 

Update to the Australian War Memorial Honour Roll

Australian War Memorial

Many thanks to Meredith and her staff in the Honours Rolls section of the Australian War Memorial for updating the records of the 32 Australian airmen who flew with and lost their lives with 75(NZ) Squadron. I am pleased to say that the Australian War Memorial Honour Roll now correctly records their Squadron as 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

After initially contacting the AWM with my request that the records be corrected, the staff replied to me and very quickly corrected the information. I am sure that we all send our thanks to the individuals who were involved in this activity. Whilst perhaps to some, a small matter of detail, to many of us, including , I am sure the families of these 32 brave boys, it is a very important one nevertheless.

Visit the Australian War Memorial website here.