The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (413918) Flying Officer John Richard Welch, No. 207 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2016.2.117
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 26 April 2016
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on (413918) Flying Officer John Richard Welch, No. 207 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.

Speech transcript

413918 Flying Officer John Richard Welch, No. 207 Squadron, Royal Air Force
KIA 28 August 1943
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 26 April 2016

Today we pay tribute to John Richard Welch, who was killed during the Second World War.

Born in Wallsend, New South Wales, on 20 November 1913, John Welch was the son of John Frederick Welch and Elizabeth Helen Welch. He was working as a commercial traveller when the Second World War broke out, and enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in September 1941.

Welch began training as a pilot and embarked for overseas service in August 1942. As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, he was one of almost 27,500 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers who joined squadrons based in Britain throughout the course of the war.

After arriving in Britain, Welch undertook further specialist training before being posted in August 1943 to No. 207 Squadron, Royal Air Force. As part of the RAF Bomber Command, the squadron was equipped with the four-engine Avro Lancaster heavy bomber.

Welch had been with the squadron only a matter of weeks when on the night of 27 August the Lancaster in which he was pilot was shot down during a raid near Nuremberg, Germany. Welch and all six of his crewmates were killed. They were fellow Australians Flying Officer Hugh John McCulloch, Flight Sergeant Keeble Charles French, and Flight Sergeant Geoffrey Augustine Lynch, and British airmen Sergeant Leslie Thomas Reynolds, Sergeant James Seddon, and Sergeant Arthur Herbert Whetton.

John Welch was 29 years old. His body was recovered and he was buried alongside his crewmates at the British and Commonwealth War Cemetery at Durnbach, south of Munich.

Welch’s name is listed here on the Roll of Honour on my left, among some 40,000 other Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember John Richard Welch, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (413918) Flying Officer John Richard Welch, No. 207 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War. (video)