Flying Officer John Francis BUSH

Service No: 423625
Born: Wagga Wagga NSW, 15 February 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 18 July 1942
Unit: No. 630 Squadron (RAF), RAF East Kirkby, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 630 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ME796), France, 19 July 1944, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Villers-Le-Sec Churchyard, Marne, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John Laxion Bush and Edith Harriet Bush; husband of Betty Bush, of Cremorne, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Cremorne NSW
Remembered: Panel 119, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Victory Memorial Gardens Cenotaph, Wagga Wagga NSW

Revigny, already the objective of two abortive raids by other groups on 12th-13th and 14th-15th July, was nominated as a target for No. 5 Group on 18th-19th July. This was an ill-fated attack as no fewer than 24 of the force of 110 bombers failed to return to base. It was a case of the elaborate nightly RAF tactical deception plan misfiring for once. The enemy ignored the raid against Scholven-Buer, being deceived into thinking it was a diversionary sweep. The Luftwaffe’s strength in Belgium was sent westward into France and ran headlong into the force attacking Revigny. Fighter attacks began over the target and the fighters then hung determinedly around the skirts of the retiring bombers until they crossed the coast. Few crews saw obvious signs of success because long-delay fuses were again used, but later evidence showed that after the attack only one through line remained open. One RAAF pilot criticised the chosen route, which crossed an active searchlight belt in the Pas de Calais. After seeing four Lancasters shot down over the target within two minutes he swung out of the stream and skirted this searchlight belt and reported that other aircraft which had kept to track were shot down. Australian losses were particularly severe. Aircraft piloted by Flying Officer Beverley Hudson Gifford (415220) and Flying Officer James Robert Worthington (406417) of No. 463, Flying Officer Thomas Edward William Davis (420173) and Flying Officer David Beharrie (418334) of No. 467, Flying Officer William David Appleyard (415716) of No. 49, Flying Officer Frank Francis Molinas (425454) of No. 619 and Flying Officer Peter Buck Dennett (418927), Flying Officer Gordon Edward Maxwell (425331) and Flying Officer Bruce William Brittain (414756) (Flight Sergeant Gordon Edwin Beckhouse (424354) (Wireless Air Gunner)) of No. 630 were all shot down.

Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 Pages 236-7

On the night of the 18/19th July 1944, Lancaster ME796 took off from RAF East Kirkby, detailed to destroy a railway junction at Revigny, France. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. While orbiting and awaiting instructions to bomb the aircraft was set on fire by a night fighter and almost immediately hit by anti-aircraft fire. The aircraft crashed about 0130 hours at Villers-le-Sec (Marne) 40 kms south east of Chalons-sur-Marne, France.

The crew members of ME796 were:

Flying Officer John Francis Bush (423625) (Navigator)
Sergeant A E De Bruin (1880577) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner) Evaded Capture
Sergeant William Edward Griffiths (1399035) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Flight Sergeant Stanley Arthur Hawken (418663) (Wireless Air Gunner) Evaded Capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 16 October 1945
Sergeant James Napier Howie (945986) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant W Leary (1670235) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner) Evaded Capture
Flying Officer Gordon Edward Maxwell (425331) (Pilot)

Flight Sergeant Hawken later reported “while over the target area the aircraft was attacked by an enemy fighter and the abandon order was given by Flying Officer Maxwell. I left the aircraft by the rear escape hatch at a height of 7000 feet followed by the Mid Upper. The aircraft was under control but in a shallow dive with the two inboard engines and the starboard wing on fire. Made no contact with any other member of the crew.”


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9300, BUSH J F
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Book Now Book Now