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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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RAAF Crest
12.04.1945 No. 454 Squadron Baltimore V FW740 P/O. Evans

Operation: Armed Reconnaissance

Date: 12th April 1945 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 454 Squadron RAAF

Type: Baltimore V

Serial: FW740

Code: O

Base: Cesenatico, Italy

Location: Porto Nona, Medicina

Pilot: P/O. Colin Ware Evans AUS/421797 RAAF Age 27. Killed

Nav: W/O. John Harris O'Keefe AUS/427723 RAAF Age 29. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Errol Johnston AUS/412316 RAAF Age 28. Killed

Air/Gnr: W/O. Edwin George Murphy AUS/425721 RAAF Age 23. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 23:00 hrs from Cesenatico to recce roads - hit and brought down by anti-aircraft fire at Porto Nona, Medicina at 23:30 hrs.

Later that day on a similar operation Baltimore V FW716 Q Flown by 31 year old, F/O, James William Alexander Duffy AUS/428431 RAAF shot down in the same area - all four killed. Fl/Sgt. ‘Taffy’ Griffiths flying Baltimore V FW793 G made a hash of his landing, overshooting the runway with the aircraft turning over. All the crew escaped serious injury.

Above as described. Below original grave markers (courtesy AWM)

Burial details:

P/O. Colin Ware Evans. Argenta Gap War Cemetery I.F.14. Born on the 23rd July 1917 at Bronte, the son of Charles and Sarah Anne Evans and husband of Violet Merle Evans, of Edgecliff, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "His Endless Courage And Devotion To Duty Ever Remembered".

W/O. John Harris O'Keefe. Argenta Gap War Cemetery I.F.13. Born on the 30th August 1915 at Boulder, the son of John and Rosalie O'Keefe and husband of Coral O'Keefe (née Dick), of Boulder, Western Australia. Grave inscription reads: "We Will Ever Remember".

F/O. Errol Johnston. Argenta Gap War Cemetery I.F.16. Born on the 31st August 1916 at Neutral Bay, New South Wales Australia. Son of Adam John Johnston and Cecilia Ann Johnston of Curlewis Street, Bondi, Sydney, New South Wales. Grave inscription reads: "His Duty. . Fearlessly And Nobly Done. Ever Remembered".

W/O. Edwin George Murphy. Argenta Gap War Cemetery I.F.15. Born on the 23rd May 1921 at Bundaberg, the son of Hubert and Evelyn Murphy and husband of Dora Calder Murphy, of Bardon, Queensland, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "Rest In Peace".

For further details our thanks to the following sources shown below.

KTY 29.07.2019

Paul McGuiness details on crew 10.01.2021

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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