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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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102 Squadron Crest
29/30.04.1940 102 Squadron Whitley V N1421 DY:C Fg Off. K.H.P. Murphy

Operation: Oslo-Fornebu Airfield

Date: 29th/30th April 1940 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit No: 102 Squadron

Type: Whitley V

Serial: N1421

Code: DY:C

Base: RAF Kinloss, Moray Firth, Scotland

Location: Sylling, Norway

Pilot: Fg Off. Kenneth Hugh Pelly Murphy 39327 RAF PoW No: 207 * (1)

Obs: Sgt. Cyril Wagner 566223 RAFVR PoW No: 13098 ** (2)

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. John Frederick Graham 580904 RAFVR PoW No: 13112 * (2)

WOp/Air Gnr: Cp. David Magee 548828 RAFVR PoW No: 13065 *** (2)

Air Gnr: LAC. John Ellwood 533022 RAF Age 21. Killed

* Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland. (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser, Bavaria)

** Stalag Luft 6, Heydekrug, Memelland (now Šilutė in Lithuania)

*** Stalag Luft 1 Barth-Vogelsang, today situated in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

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 Fg Off. Kenneth Murphy. Invitations are open to anyone wishing to attend. We hope that someone will forward a photo of the occasion for this page.


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. 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.

N1421 was hit by flak (I./Flak Regiment 611) over the target and set on fire. It exploded just before crashing at Sylling (Sylling-Hønefoss road), 27 km west of Oslo at 01:05 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1939 - 12 July 1941) The Early Years Part 1 - Theo Boiten)

(1) Fg Off. Murphy was promoted to Flt Lt. whist a PoW. He remained in the RAF after the war, receiving an MBE on the 28th December 1945. Promoted to Wg Cdr. on the 1st July 1955 and retired from the RAF on the 7th December 1963.

(2) Sgt Warner, Sgt Graham and Cpl Magee were promoted to Warrant Officer (WO) whilst PoW’s.

Burial details:

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. Grave inscription: "WHAT WE KNOW NOT NOW WE SHALL KNOW HEREAFTER. "THY WILL BE DONE". Son of William Arnold Ellwood and Catherine Ellwood, of Warcop, Westmorland, England.

With thanks to John on the ‘Aviation Forum’ for crash site photographs. Thanks to John Jones for the update to the names of the crew (Jun 2022). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (Jun 2022).

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

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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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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