John Joseph Walsh

Australian airman Flight Sergeant John Joseph Walsh was the only fatality in the crash of Vickers Wellington LB247 on 5th November 1943 in Co. Londonderry.

Flight Sergeant

John Joseph Walsh

422770

Flight Sergeant John Joseph Walsh died in a tragic accident on a training flight with No. 7 Operational Training Unit based at RAF Limavady on 5th November 1943.

Flight Sergeant John Joseph Walsh (422770) served in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War Two. He flew with No. 7 Operational Training Unit, Royal Air Force at the time of his death aged only 20 years old.

The young ANZAC Flight Sergeant was the son of John Joseph Walsh and Mary Madeline Walsh of Enfield, New South Wales, Australia.

On 5th November 1943, Vickers Wellington LB247 took off from RAF Limavady, Co. Londonderry on a non-operational day time training exercise. A Royal Air Force instructor demonstrated to a crew of pupils how to carry out torpedo attacks on ships in Lough Foyle.

Funeral Procession in Limavady

Australian War Memorial Photo: SUK11592A. Mourners at the funeral of Flight Sergeant John Joseph Walsh (422770) follow his coffin on board a military truck to St Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Limavady, Co. Londonderry. Photo taken on 9th November 1943.

At around 1600hrs, Vickers Wellington LB247 crashed 1 mile east of Limavady. Flight Sergeant Walsh was the only fatality. All other crew members escaped with injuries.

The crew of Wellington LB247

Last NameFirst Name(s)RankRoleInformation
McFaddenWFlying OfficerInstructorRoyal Australian Air Force 404360. Survived.
DicksonWTKFlying OfficerPilotRoyal Canadian Air Force. Survived.
JennieOHPilot Officer2nd PilotRoyal Canadian Air Force. Survived.
McInnesLFFlying OfficerNavigatorRoyal Australian Air Force 414296. Survived.
WilliamsHFlight SergeantWireless Air GunnerRoyal Australian Air Force. Survived.
SmytheEFlight SergeantWireless Air GunnerRoyal Australian Air Force. Survived.
WalshJJFlight SergeantWireless Air GunnerRoyal Australian Air Force 422770. Killed.

An inquiry found the instructor inexperienced and blamed “adverse frontal conditions”. These conditions limited the visibility of high ground as the pilot circled the area. The pilot under tutelage was not held responsible in any way.

Guard of Honour for John Joseph Walsh

Australian War Memorial Photo: SUK11592C. A guard of honour forms at the funeral of Flight Sergeant John Joseph Walsh (422770) at St Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Limavady, Co. Londonderry. Photo taken on 9th November 1943.

John Joseph Walsh’s grave is in Grave 5 of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Limavady, Co. Londonderry. His headstone bears the inscription:

Supreme sacrifice.

His name is on Panel 132 of the Commemorative Area of the Australian War Memorial, Treloar Crescent, Canberra, Australia.

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