The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (402522) Flight Sergeant John McAulay Morrison, No. 75 Squadron , RAAF, Second World War.

Accession Number AWM2021.1.1.135
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 15 May 2021
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 Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

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 (402522) Flight Sergeant John McAulay Morrison, No. 75 Squadron , RAAF, Second World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

402522 Flight Sergeant John McAulay Morrison, No. 75 Squadron , RAAF

Accidental 28 June 1942

Today we remember and pay tribute to Flight Sergeant John McAulay Morrison.

John Morrison was born on the 1st of February 1918 in Lismore, New South Wales, the son of Daniel and Margaret Morrison.

Known as Jack, he grew up in Grafton in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, where he attended Grafton High School before going on to work as an estate manager.

Jack had five brothers ¬– all of whom would go on to serve during the Second World War. The Morrison brothers were involved in sporting activities including football and tennis, and were active members of the Yamba Surf Club.

In April 1940, 22-year-old Jack Morrison applied to be an aircrew member with the Royal Australian Air Force. Not long afterwards, on 22 May, he married Merle Eileen Emery. A daughter, Margaret, would later be born to the couple.
The newly wed Morrison was called up four months later, and on the 16th of September 1940 enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force.

He entered training as a pilot, and on 4 June 1941 he embarked from Sydney, bound for service overseas. Arriving in the United Kingdom in August, he was attached to the Royal Air Force. After further training, in late September he joined No. 57 Operational Training Unit, based at Hawarden Airport in Wales, where he trained as a fighter pilot, flying Spitfires.

In early April 1942, Morrison was transferred to No. 452 Squadron, based at RAF Andreas, on the Isle of Man – the first Australian squadron formed in Britain during the Second World War. While it was in Europe, No. 452 Squadron also had British and Commonwealth personnel, and a number of Polish pilots also flew with the squadron. In June the squadron withdrew from operations in Britain to return to Australia.

By then, Morrison had been featured in newspapers, with reports that his Spitfire had been involved in a fight with three Messerschmitts. After parts of his rudder has been shot away, one report stated that “young Morrison hung on for 50 miles in his chase after the ‘Messers’ leading machine, and finally had the satisfaction of sending machine and pilot crashing into the sea in a mass of flames.”

Morrison arrived in Melbourne in early June 1942, and by the end of the month had been transferred to No. 75 Squadron, a fighter unit which flew P-40 Kittyhawks.
No. 75 Squadron had been formed in March 1942 to counter the threat to Allied positions in New Guinea. By the time that Morrison joined, the squadron had been in action over Port Moresby or Lae almost every day during late March and April, usually outnumbered by Japanese aircraft.

Having returned to Australia in May, the squadron was first located at Townsville and later moved to Kingaroy in Queensland. In late July the unit returned to New Guinea, where it would take part in the battle of Milne Bay. Morrison, however, would not live to see the battle.
On 28 June 1942, he was killed when the P-40E Kittyhawk which he was flying failed to recover from a spin and crashed.

He was 24 years old, survived by his wife and baby daughter.

Today his remains lie in Grafton Cemetery.
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 McAulay Morrison, 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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