Sergeant John "Jack" Murphy RAFVR was
born on the 24th of January 1924, the son of John
Joseph and Katherine and brother of Cornelius of Derby. He
had a stepsister, Kathleen whose own stepsister, Norah was
to become Jacks much loved "big sister". Jack and
Norah were so close that he named her as his next-of-kin. He
attended St.Josephís Roman Catholic School in Derby where
his father was a teacher, before being awarded a scholarship
to Bemrose Grammar School in 1935.
In a letter to Norah Bancroft dated the 25th
of February 1944 from the Royal Canadian Air Force Chaplain
attached to 433 Squadron wrote:
By the time you receive this, you will have
been officially notified that your brother 1890850
Sgt.John Joseph Murphy is missing from Air
Operations on the night of February the 19th
As Squadron Chaplain may I extend to you my
deepest sympathy in the trying and anxious days
through which you are passing.
I have been with the Squadron since its
formation and got to know the boys fairly well.
This was the fifth major operation that your
brother undertook with this squadron. I was down to
see them off and had a chat with each crew. They
were all quite happy and cheerful and said they
would see me later.
I trust and pray that we shall, and that you
will soon have good news concerning him.
May god give you grace and strength to bear up
bravely through the long and dreary days of waiting
until definite word is received.
If I can be of any help to you in any way,
please do not hesitate to write.
W.J.Province, S/L, Chaplain
On October 19th 1944, Norah received a
letter from the pilotís mother, Mrs Charles McKay thanking
her for her letter saying that she hadnít given up hope
and even though it was now eight months, "no news is
Mrs McKay mentions that Bob McKay really thought
highly of "Murph" and that he spoke with affection
of the fun they and the rest of the crew had.
As with all the other relations of the crew, they
all clung on to the hope that they would be alive. Ten
months later, on the 9th of December 1944 Norah
finally received a letter from the Air Ministry Casualty
Branch stating that she must conclude that he has lost his
life and death has now been presumed for official purposes.
No trace was ever found of the Halifax and the crew
rest in The Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery
On the 16th of July 1949, Jackís name
was included on a war memorial, which was unveiled at
Bemrose School honouring the former pupils.
courtesy of Peter Galley, special thanks to Richard Koval, research by Linda Ibrom.