Flight Sergeant Allan Stewart Johnston (409125) served in the Royal Australian Air Force. He died aged 22 years old in a plane crash over Co. Galway, Ireland.
Born in 1921, he was the son of William Arras Johnston and Alexandrina Johnston of Colac, Victoria, Australia. Allan is one of many Australian and New Zealander service personnel buried in Northern Ireland.
Flight Sergeant Johnston was the pilot of Handley Page Halifax EB134 on 7th November 1943. The plane took off from RAF Rufforth, Yorkshire on a non-operational, night training flight with No. 1663 Heavy Conversion Unit of the Royal Air Force.
After completing the training flight, the crew was to head to RAF Marston Moor, North Yorkshire. They acknowledged the order but the plane never arrived at the Royal Air Force base.
Crash of Halifax EB134
At 2243hrs, a lookout at Flat Head, Co. Cork heard the sound of the Halifax’s engines. Several other lookout points noted the plane on a northbound trajectory.
Around 2350hrs, the plane crashed near Lavally, Bernaderg about 6 miles north of Tuam, Co. Galway. The reasons for the crash remain a mystery. Authorities recovered all 7 bodies of the aircrew from the wreckage. They returned them from neutral Ireland to Northern Ireland.
Remembering the Halifax Crew
|Last Name||First Name(s)||Rank||Role||Information|
|Johnston||Allan Stewart||Flight Sergeant||Pilot||RAAF 409125|
|Sansome||George Hilton||Flight Sergeant||Air Bomber||RAAF 423386|
|Gallagher||Anthony Joseph||Flight Sergeant||Wireless Operator/Air Gunner||RAAF 410595|
|Gardner||Norman William||Warrant Officer||Air Gunner||RCAF R/65741|
|Camp||Edgar William||Sergeant||Flight Engineer||RAF 1605423|
|Wildman||Leslie Harold||Sergeant||Wireless Operator/Air Gunner||RAF 1158064|
|Clark||Robert Mair||Sergeant||Navigator||RAF 1051117|
Allan Stewart Johnston’s grave is in Section 2, Grave 30 of Irvinestown Church of Ireland, Irvinestown, Co. Fermanagh. His name is on Panel 124 of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Australia. His headstone in Fermanagh bears the inscription:
A beautiful life given in service for others.
At 1400hrs on 5th August 2007, the Old Tuam Society and Lavally Community held a ceremony to unveil a memorial to the crew of Halifax EB134. Throughout 2006-2007, Tuam historian Anne Tierney researched the plane and its crew. The memorial stands in a garden of remembrance at Ryehill, Tuam, Co. Galway. Families of the airmen attended along with Her Excellency Anne Plunkett – Australian Ambassador to Ireland. Also in attendance were John Banim of the Canadian Embassy and Brian Mahoney of the British Embassy.