Murphy, John Henry (Flight Sergeant, b.1918 - d.1943)

Place Europe: United Kingdom, Scotland, South Ayrshire, Ayr
Accession Number AWM2016.577.1
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement Extent: 1 cm; Wallet/s: 1
Object type Letter
Maker Moynihan, Agnes
Murphy, John Henry
Place made Australia: Queensland, North Queensland, Atherton Tableland, Atherton
Date made 1942; 1984
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copying Provisions Copying is permitted for the purposes of research and study, subject to physical condition

Collection relating to the Second World War service of 425337 Flight Sergeant John Henry Murphy, No. 166 Squadron, Royal Air Force. Flight Sergeant Murphy enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force on 1 February 1942. After completing his training he was assigned to No. 166 Squadron, Royal Air Force (RAF). On the night of 16th December 1943 RAF Bomber Command mounted a raid on Berlin. After completing the raid and returning to England Murphy's crew met dense fog, very low cloud and extremely poor visibility. Their Lancaster crashed into a mountain and all crew were lost.

The collection consists of a twelve page handwritten letter, from Flight Sergeant Murphy to his former school teacher Agnes Moynihan at Atherton State School, North Queensland. The letter is written in either 1942 or 1943, and describes Murphy's leave in Scotland, sightseeing in England, and his recent assignment to a bomber crew.

Also included is a letter written by Ivy Moynihan. Ivy was also a teacher at Atherton State School, and the sister of Agnes Moynihan. Ivy Moynihan chose Murphy's letter to include in an Atherton State School time capsule, as she felt it provided an example of the 'regard and affection a pupil has for his teacher'. The time capsule was opened by the school in 2015 and both letters returned to Natascha Kucurs, the great niece of Agnes.