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. W.C. Brodie, DSO, DFM (pilot) and F/L K.R. Triggs DFC (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.
15.01.1945News 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.
17.01.1945News 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.
19.01.1945Fl/Lt. A.R. Galbraith and F/O. C. Wild represented the Squadron at the funeral of F/O. Morgan at RAF Regional Cemetery, Cambridge.
27.01.1945Fl/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. 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.
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.
Researched for relatives of the crew Sources: PRO, Kew. Air 29/587 and Air 27/2216, others as shown below.