The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (39452) Flight Lieutenant John William Allsop, No. 10 Squadron (RAF), Second World War

Accession Number AWM2019.1.1.246
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 3 September 2019
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

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 RIchard Cruise, the story for this day was on (39452) Flight Lieutenant John William Allsop, No. 10 Squadron (RAF), Second World War

Speech transcript

39452 Flight Lieutenant John William Allsop, No. 10 Squadron (RAF)
Lost at sea 2 October 1939

Today we remember and pay tribute to Flight Sergeant John William Allsop.

John Allsop was born on 7 January 1914 in the Melbourne suburb of Burnley, the son of Charles and Agnes Allsop.
He grew up in Melbourne, attending Essendon State School and then Essendon High School before going on to Melbourne University, and working for a period as a car spare parts salesman.

He was an active sportsman, playing lacrosse, Australian Rules football, gold, swimming, tennis, and badminton, as well as being involved in dancing and card games.

On 20 January 1936, less than a fortnight after his 22nd birthday, Allsop enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force.
He was appointed to a training squadron at No. 1 Flight Training School at Point Cook. After graduating from Point Cook, he was transferred to the Royal Air Force on short-term commission, leaving for England on 5 January 1937.

In England he was attached to No. 10 Squadron, which was located at RAF Station Dishforth in North Yorkshire, and was part of the newly created No. 4 Group of Bomber Command.

On 11 December 1938, Allsop married his sweetheart Eva Hayler, who had joined him in England.

On 3 September 1939, Prime Minister Robert Menzies announced that Australia was at war with Germany:
Fellow Australians, it is my melancholy duty to inform you officially, that in consequence of a persistence by Germany in her invasion of Poland, Great Britain has declared war upon her and that, as a result, Australia is also at war.
Australia raised a volunteer force, the Second Australian Imperial Force, and the Australian Government sent RAAF aircrews and a number of Royal Australian Navy ships to fight for Britain.

Some of the early missions involving the Royal Air Force were leaflet drops over Germany. While attitudes to the propaganda raids were negative, the Air Council believed in their value for reconnaissance and training.

On the night of 1/2 October, three Armstrong Whitworth Whitley aircraft –British twin-engined, medium bombers ¬– from 10 Squadron were the first British aircraft of the war to fly over Berlin. Weather conditions were severe. One aircraft was over the German capital when its oxygen supply momentarily failed; two of the crew collapsed and part of the mechanism of the rear turret froze so that the air gunner could not open his door. The pilot managed to carry on while the navigator went back to assist the unconscious crew members.

The aircraft piloted by Flight Lieutenant John Allsop was cruising off the coast of Scotland when it disappeared into the North Sea.

Despite extensive air and sea searches, no trace of the aircraft or its crew was ever located. Today, all five are commemorated on the Runnymede memorial to airman with no known resting place: Pilot Officer Alan Gordon Salmon; Aircraftman 1st Class John Rogerson Bell; Aircraftman 1st Class Alfred Francis Hill; Leading Aircraftman Fred Ellison; and Flight Lieutenant John William Allsop, who was 25 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among almost 40,000 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 Flight Sergeant John William Allsop, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Duncan Beard
Editor, Military History Section

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