29/30.04.1940 No. 102 Squadron Whitley V N1421 DY-C F/O. K.H.P. Murphy
Operation: Oslo-Fornebu Airfield
Date: 29/30th April 1940 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 102 Squadron
Type: Whitley V
Base: RAF Kinloss, Moray Firth, Scotland
Location: Sylling, Norway
Pilot: F/O. Kenneth Hugh Pelly Murphy 39327 RAF PoW No: 207 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
Obs: Sgt. C. Wagner 566223 RAFVR PoW No: 13098 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. J.F. Graham 580904 RAFVR PoW No: 13112 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Cp. D. Magee 548828 RAFVR PoW No: 13065 Camp Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang
Air/Gnr: LAC. John Ellwood 533022 RAF Age 21. Killed
On June 10th 2018 a memorial will be unveiled for LAC John Ellwood will take place at the crash site. Constructed with a piece of the Whitley Wing with kind permission from the British Ministry of Defence. Relatives of LAC Ellwood will be attending as well as some of those of the pilot F/O. Kenneth Murphy. Invitations are open to anyone wishing to attend. We hope that someone will forward a photo of the occasion for this page.
REASON FOR LOSS:
6 Whitleys from 102 Squadron took part on the only Bomber Command operation of this night. Taking of at around 20:00hrs from RAF Kinloss. During the outbound flight the weather was described as poor, having closed in on the Norwegian coast the conditions were much improved with visibility up to 15 miles. But a moonless night, flares were released over the target where the bomber stream released some 40 x 250b GP bombs. The air gunners fired an estimated 2,000 rounds at the searchlight batteries.
The last radio communication from the crew was received when they were about 130 miles off the Norwegian coast. It seems that the aircraft was hit by flak from the I Flak regiment 611 and came down off the Sylling-Hønefoss road in the hills. Eye witnesses at the time recall that they could see the Whitley over the town when suddenly the noise stopped and there was a flash of light, shortly afterward a loud explosion followed by several others later - presumably from the bomb load exploding.
The pilot, F/O. Murphy remained in the RAF after the war, receiving an MBE on the 28th December 1945. Promoted to Wing Commander on the 1st July 1955 - retired from the RAF on the 07th December 1963.
The only casualty from the crew was buried in the local churchyard, together with the crew of a Sunderland I L2167 DA-H from 210 Squadron (Coastal Command) Amazingly the rear gunner, Sgt. Ogwyn Francis George 619031 RAF is reported to have blown out of the aircraft, without a parachute whilst at 3,000 ft, surviving by landing in deep snow. Taken PoW - No: 1219 Camp: Stalag Teschen.
LAC. John Ellwood. Sylling Churchyard. Grave 1. Son of William Arnold Ellwood and Catherine Ellwood, of Warcop, Westmorland, England. Grave inscription reads: "What We Know Not Now We Shall Know Hereafter. "Thy Will Be Done".
With thanks to John on the ‘Aviation Forum’ for crash site photographs. For further details our thanks to the following sources shown below.