John Russell Keane

Australian Flying Officer John Russell Keane was flying with No. 5 Operational Training Unit from RAF Long Kesh, Co. Down when he died in November 1943.

Flying Officer

John Russell Keane

409839

Having trained as a pilot in Australia, Flying Officer John Russell Keane was attached to the Royal Air Force in World War Two and was flying a training exercise at the time of his death in Co. Antrim.

Flying Officer John Russell Keane (409839) served in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War Two. He was attached to RAF No. 5 Operational Training Unit at the time of his death in November 1943. John was the son of Gerald Thomas Keane and Freda Grace Keane of East Brunswick, Victoria, Australia. He died on 29th November 1943 aged 26 years old.

Keane was the pilot on board Lockheed Hudson AM694. The crew took off from RAF Long Kesh, near Lisburn, Co. Down at 1520hrs on 29th November 1943. The non-operational flight was a bombing exercise over Lough Neagh. At 1609hrs, the Australian crew completed their task but proceded towards Templepatrick, carrying out a series of steep turns over Loughermore Estate near Dunadry, Co. Antrim. They were due to return to base and this section of the flight was unauthorised.

During one of these turns, the pilot throttled back both engines and the plane lost height rapidly. The engines stalled and the port wing struck the ground. The Hudson burst into flames and all those on board died in the impact.

Back Row: 1. Flight Sergeant Sydney Ross Hore, 2. Michael Lancelot Huppatz, 3. Leading Aircraftman Donald Edward Hefford, 4. Flight Lieutenant James Hodges, 5. Warrant Officer Clifford Anthony Ingham, 6. Flying Officer Ross Walter Geue, 7. Pilot Officer Stanley Ernest James, 8. Warrant Officer John Morton Kemp, 9. Flight Sergeant Wilfred Harper, 10. Pilot Officer Arthur Leonard Gibbons. Middle Row: 1. Pilot Officer Leslie Ronald Giles, 2. Flying Officer John Russell Keane, 3. Flying Officer Leslie Clive Greaves, 4. Flying Officer Mervyn Charles Heal, 5. Flight Lieutenant Roy Campbell Kennedy, 6. Flight Lieutenant Peter Bowen Jackson, 7. Flight Lieutenant Kevin Elliott Harrison, 8. Flight Lieutenant Peter James Harnetty, 9. Flying Officer Harry Girven, 10. Warrant Officer Frank Henry James Grey, 11. Flying Officer Robert Mackay Hilliard. Front Row: 1. Leading Aircraftman Ian Eric Johnston, 2. Flying Officer Eric Hurrell, 3. Flying Officer Reginald Douglas Green, 4. Flight Lieutenant Ross Vigors Hanns, 5. Corporal Walter Richard John Rice, 6. Warrant Officer John Kendrick Jones, 7. Warrant Officer Keith Leonard James Killen, 8. Flight Lieutenant Eric Anthony Gogler, 9. Flying Officer Frank Knowles Harker.

Remembering the crew of Hudson AM694

Last NameFirst Name(s)RankRoleInformation
KeaneJohn RussellFlying OfficerPilotRAAF 409839.
ConnellFrancis AloysiusFlying OfficerNavigatorRAAF 421168.
MullinsWilliam MurrayFlight SergeantWireless Operator/Air GunnerRAAF 418542.
McCallumNorman Francis DougaldFlight SergeantWireless Operator/Air GunnerRAAF 418001.
John Russell Keane RAAF

Australian War Memorial Photo: SUK11633. The grave of Flying Officer John Russell Keane (409839) at Eglantine Church of Ireland, Lisburn, Co. Down. Photo taken on 3rd December 1943.

John Russell Keane’s grave is in Section E, Grave 39 of Eglantine Church of Ireland, Lisburn, Co. Antrim. His name is on Panel 125 of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Australia. His headstone in Co. Antrim bears the inscription:

His duty nobly done. Loved by all.

ANZAC airmen Francis Aloysius Connell, William Murray Mullins, and Norman Francis Dougald McCallum also died in the same aviation accident.

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