14/15.01.1945 No. 692 Squadron Mosquito B.XVI MM150 PE-E F/O. John P. Morgan
Operation: Berlin, Germany.
Date: 14/15th January 1945 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: No. 692 Squadron (PFF)
Type: Mosquito B.XVI
Location: In woodland near Snelsmore Farm, Chieveley, Berkshire.
Base: RAF Graveley
Pilot: F/O. John Perenera Morgan NZ/413881 RNZAF Age 24. Killed
Navigator: Sgt. John Alexander McKenzie Sturrock 1800054 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Fourteen aircraft detailed for operations. Mosquito MM150 took-off from Graveley at 21:09 hours, loaded with a single 4,000lb ‘cookie’.
The operation was led by Sq/Ldr. William Craig Brodie 49225, DSO, DFM (pilot) and Fl/Lt. Kenneth Robert Triggs 128032 DFC 3 bars, MiD (navigator) in Mosquito Mk.XVI, serial number MM182.
One aircraft cancelled owing to a burst tyre on take-off, one aircraft missing. Of the remainder, nine aircraft bombed Berlin and three bombed secondary targets owing to technical trouble. Only four aircraft dropped their cookies during the first wave on the big city. One aircraft bombed Bonn and another Cologne due to technical failures. Over Berlin the sky was clear and excellent results were observed both on marking the target and bombing. Opposition from the enemy was slight, a few searchlights with slight heavy flak, although a few fighter flares were observed.
During the second wave, again one aircraft failed to reach the target and bombed Euskirchen using Gee. It was clear weather over the target, moderate results were observed, marking being scattered. Although the operation was classed as a success it was however marred by the fact that two of the squadrons aircraft did not return! One being reported as crashed in this country, with the pilots body being found nearby. In F/O. Morgan, the dead pilot, the Squadron lost an excellent Captain. There is no news of his navigator Sgt. Sturrock, whose opened parachute has been discovered.
The second Mosquito lost by the Squadron was MM128 flown by 24 year old F/O. George Chaundy DFM 161264 RAFVR and 29 year old Fl/Sgt. George Ayre AUS/433081 RAAF. The reason for the loss is unclear, but sadly both crew members perished. Their graves can be found in Antwerpen, in the Schoonselhof Cemetery. F/O. Chaundy had served in the Middle East with No.148 Sqd, details of his DFM having appeared in the London Gazette on the 23rd March 1943.
Extract from the No.15 Operational Training Unit ORB. Summary; 14.01.1945
This aircraft was flying from its base at Graveley in bad weather and short of fuel. The crew, F/O. Morgan (pilot) and Sgt. Sturrock (navigator) abandoned the aircraft near Greenham Common, Berkshire. The aircraft continued on to crash at Snelsmore Farm, Chieveley, Berkshire. Sadly the New Zealand pilot was killed when he struck the tail fin of the aircraft whilst baling-out, his body was subsequently found nearby to his wrecked machine. The navigator landed safely. Police informed Hampstead Norris airfield regarding the crash, however Greenham Common airfield had taken all necessary action. Both stations mounted guard over the wreck.
Further extracts from No.692 Squadron ORB.
15.01.1945 News received that F/O. Morgan NZ/413881 Pilot was killed when his aircraft crashed. His navigator’s parachute harness was found 12 miles south of Newbury.
17.01.1945 News was received late in the day that the body of 1800054 Sgt. Sturrock has been found some 3 to 4 miles away from his harness. The death of both members of crew in such tragic circumstances is deeply regretted.
19.01.1945 Fl/Lt. A.R. Galbraith and F/O. C. Wild represented the Squadron at the funeral of F/O. Morgan at RAF Regional Cemetery, Cambridge.
27.01.1945 Fl/Lt. G.E. Bradbury DFC. represented the Squadron at the private funeral of Sgt. Sturrock.
F/O. John Perenera Morgan. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 15719. Born on the 05th September 1920 at Wellington. Worked as a process worker for Mason and Porter Engineers prior to service. Enlisted at Levin on the 06th July 1941. Trained with No. 4 Elementary Flying Trining School and No. 3 Flying Trining School and awarded his pilots badge on the 08th November 1941 then promoted to sergeant on the 20th December 1941. Embarked for England on the 20th January 1942. Commissioned on the 31st August 194Involved in a landing accident following undercarriage failure on the 13/14th September 1944, no injuries.Joined 692 squadron on the 23rd September 1944. Son of John Jefferey Morgan and of Rose Ellen Morgan (née Tinnerley), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand, husband of Silva Morgan, of Mount Eden, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 678 flying hours flown and on his 29th operational sortie. (See below for further detailed information)
Sgt. John Alexander McKenzie Sturrock. New Southgate Cemetery. Section A.C. Grave 963. Son of Alexander Lawson McKenzie Sturrock and Ellen May Sturrock, of Wood Green, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription: 'I'll Walk Alone Nor Gremlins Can Pursue On Wings Of Song Out Into The Blue'.
Special additional information on P/O. David Giffin Doole by Sonia Edwards researching all who lost their lives from the Bay Of Plenty area of New Zealand.
John Perenara MORGAN (1920-1945) was the son of John Jeffery MORGAN and Rose Ellen (néeTinnerley) of Christchurch.
He was born in Wellington, 5 September 1920. His whakapapa shows connections with Ngati Ira at Opekerau, Waioeka, Opotiki [His aunts were at Terere Marae where his cousin, Jimmy PIRIHI M.M. KIA 5 Jan 1943, is remembered.] Peri MORGAN and his wife Delia Mazella Silva MORGAN, née PARKER lived at Mt Eden in Auckland.
Peri MORGAN (aka Peri TOKENA of Ngati Ngahere, Whakatohea descent) attended Wesley College as a boarder. He was employed as a process worker at Mason & Porter Ltd engineers, in Auckland when the war broke out, and volunteered to join the Air Force. Morgan joined the RNZAF Levin Initial Training Wing as an Airman Pilot under training, 6 July 1941. He went to 4 Elementary Flying School 17 August 1941, and the following month advanced to 3 Flying Training School. His Pilots Badge came into effect from 8 November 1941, and he was promoted to Sergeant in December 1941.
Flying Officer NZ413881 John Perenara Morgan was then attached to the Royal Air Force, embarking for the United Kingdom 20 January 1942. He arrived at 3 Personnel Reception Centre 10 March 1942, to be allocated to further training. In April, Peri joined 3 Pilots Advanced Flying Unit doing beam approach training, before attending the Flying Instructors School. 19 August 1942 found him working as a flying Instructor at 14 Pilots Advanced Flying Unit in Oxford.
Flying Officer NZ413881 JP Morgan was commissioned 31 August 1943. He went to 1655 Mosquito Training Unit 20 August 1944. He was uninjured after a crash landing (with under carriage failure) 13/14/ September 1944.
Morgan joined 692 RAF Squadron, flying mosquitoes 23 September 1944, and flew 29 operations with Bomber Command. On the night of Sunday 14/ Monday 15 January 1945, 83 Mosquitoes set off for a raid on Berlin. 9 were lost from 8 Pathfinder Group.
Mosquito B.XVI MM150 took off from Graveley Huntingdonshire, about 2109, and experienced radio difficulties when returning in poor weather over Berkshire, as fuel ran low. It was abandoned at 0240, to crash 4 miles north of Newbury. The pilot, thought to have been knocked out on striking part of the mosquito when baling out, died when his parachute failed to deploy. His navigator also died, apparently falling out of his harness or accidentally releasing the parachute before reaching the ground: the opened chute later being found about 12 miles south of Newbury. All nine aircraft lost on the raid crashed in either England or Belgium, most falling victim to the extremely bad weather.
John Perenara MORGAN Flying Officer NZ413881, was killed on air operations ,15 January 1945 aged 24. He had flown 678 hours and was on his 29th operation. He is buried at Cambridge City Cemetery (grave 15719) Cambridgeshire, England. Peri TOKENA is also commemorated at Terere Marae Opotiki, where his whanau remember him. He is named on the Memorial at Omarumutu Marae, and on the Hall of Memories at Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Sources: Image and whakapapa ex Teriaki Amoamo from Bernice TAINUI née MORGAN of Christchurch.Through IRI KOUKA and his daughter Heni TAWHARA , and her mother Motoi Tokena with connections through Matuku Priscilla Johnson.
Researched for relatives of the crew Sources: Sonia Edwards, PRO, Kew. Air 29/587 and Air 27/2216, the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:.