15th August 2009 13:52
W.O. John Patrick Whelan 403883 RAAF.
Could members of the forum provide me with the details concerning the loss of the above WOp/Air Gnr who as part of crew of Halifax MZ636 of 78 Squadron were to attack target at Juvisy in France but was hit by flak and crashed in vicinity of village of Pleasis-Pate, near Bretigny-sur-Orge (Saine et Oise) between 2400hrs and 0100hrs on night of 7/8th June 1944. Crew details and anything else that can be added to the information I have given already would be appreciated. The only copy of crew details is very blurred and virtually impossible to determine the contents there of. Many thanks for your help.
15th August 2009 14:06
7/8 June 1944
Halifax III MZ636:EY-T
Took off 2259 Breighton to bomb rail communications. Crashed in the vicinity of Bretigny-sur-Orge (Essonne) some 6 kilometres north-east of Arpajon. All are buried in Bretigny-sur-Orge Communal Cemetery.
47708 F/Lt (Pilot) George Arthur MARROWS RAF +
578649 Sgt (Flt. Eng.) Sidney Thomas TANSER RAF +
152776 F/O (Nav.) Donald John BRYANT RAFVR +
1451202 F/Sgt (Air Bomber) Ronald SCOTT RAFVR +
AUS403883 W/O (W.Op./Air Gnr.) John Patrick WHELAN RAAF +
1863241 Sgt (Air Gnr.) John Harold SHEEHAN RAFVR +
1131680 Sgt (Air Gnr.) Frederick William HOLROYD RAFVR +
Note: The twenty airmen buried in this cemetery all died in the service of Bomber Command.
Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War Vol.5 1944.
Earl Shilton:Midland Counties Pubs.,1997.
See also: NAA: A705 166/43/705 (61pp).
Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 15th August 2009 at 14:35.
Reason: minor correction
15th August 2009 14:14
Again much appreciated. His casualty file is open on NA Aus site, which is where I got the information I gave. I again will in due course get his personnel file opened as well. Thanks for your help.
23rd August 2009 02:16
Just to clarify the use of letters "AUS" in front of the service numbers of RAAF members was only for RAF administrative purposes so as to identify the nationality of the members. IIRC Canadians received an "R" in front of theirs.
Last edited by dean; 23rd August 2009 at 08:37.
23rd August 2009 02:51
I use the prefix, 'AUS', for precisely the same reason! (See: NAA: A705 163/1/322 - might be worthwhile getting it digitised)
I'll let our Canadian friends explain the intricacies of their service numbering system.
We must chat sometime.
Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 23rd August 2009 at 03:46.
Reason: minor correction
23rd August 2009 11:30
Originally Posted by dean
Quite not, as I've often found in ORBs a prefix 'CAN' in front of the R.C.A.F. airmen, especially in R.A.F. units.
As Col said, better to let our Canadian friends explains, but R was in front of the service number of Canadian NCO, while C or J was in front of Canadian officers. As in the R.A.F., an airman got a new service number when he was given a commission, contrary to the custom in the R.A.A.F. and R.N.Z.A.F.
23rd August 2009 12:34
23rd August 2009 12:51
23rd August 2009 13:53
Hope this helps:
John Patrick Whelan was born on 02 April 1921 and enlisted into the RAAF on 04 Mar 1941. He was selected as a W Op/AG and left Australia for Canada on 20 May 1941 arriving on 13 Jun 1941. Having been trained he left Canada for UK on 08 Jan 1942 and arrived on 20 Jan 1942. He joined 78 Squadron from RAF Holme on Spalding Moor on 09 Mar 1944.
It would appear that he was a 'spare bod' as he arrived as a singleton posting and was not part of a complete crew joining from an HCU. He flew his first operation with 78 Squadron on 22 Mar 44 with FO Murray's crew to Frankfurt. His 2nd op was with Canadian FSgt Christianson's crew on 09 Apr 44 to Lille and he flew his 3rd op with them on the 10 Apr 44 to Tergnier. His 4th op was flown as part of FSgt Pritchard's crew to Boulogne on 19 May 44 and by this time Whelan had been promoted to Warrant Officer. He also flew his 5th op with Pritchard on 22 May 44 to Orleans but this was aborted not over enemy territory due to the port inner fuel pump becoming unservicable.
On the 24 May 44 FLt Marrows and crew (less WOp) are posted into the Squadron from 41 Base. John Whelan flies his 6th and final op with them on 07 Jun 44 to Juvisy, from which they fail to return.
Last edited by 78SqnHistory; 23rd August 2009 at 21:57.
Reason: Spelling mistakes
23rd August 2009 14:42
Can you confirm F/O MURRAY was William John MURRAY, later F/L, KIA with his crew 14/15 June 1944 and buried in Bersée, France ? The list of operations is interesting, as his second op was also "local" for me, target being Lille-Délivrance marshalling yard. Thanks for posting this info.