John was born on the 5th February 1922 in Roma, Queensland and he enlisted on the 18th July 1942. He joined 457 Squadron and flew Spitfires and Wirraways.
John was killed in an accident on the 6th October 1944. An edited version of his aircraft’s records is as follows:
Accident 1620 hrs on the 06th October 1944. After taking off from Sattler Strip and while attempting a climbing roll at low level without sufficient speed, which caused the aircraft’s nose to drop, the aircraft then, out of the roll, went into a spiral dive and crashed into the ground from approximately 400-500 ft. The airframe impacted and burst into flames close to Bamboo Creek, a Squadron bivouac area approximately 15 miles north east of Marakai Homestead. Flight Sergeant John Murdoch Campbell (pilot) and Sergeant Francis Robinson Broadbent, Service No. 15432 (PR Fitter IIA) were both killed.
The photos are of a Wirraway similar to John’s, which was numbered A20-643; a Wirraway ready for action (457 Squadron used Wirraways as Squadron workhorses and for pilot training) and the preliminary report of the accident.
He lies with the other boys in the Adelaide River War Cemetery in the Northern territory. Grave D.C.2. The photo shows the cemetery, and some of the old Spitfire pilots searching for some of their mates. John was the son of Harry Murdoch Campbell and Winifred Jean Campbell of Wyambeh, Queensland. His headstone reads: Lovingly remembered. He was only 22.
David Hamilton, Ron Rigg and Phil Listemann
Updated by Vince Conant
The Spitfire Association