Service number 69497
Born: November 13th 1921
Died: March 22nd 1945
Michael was born in Hyderabad, India, which is now in the Sindh province of Pakistan. He was the eldest of the three sons of George William O'Brien, and Enid Mary Perry who married in Arnside, Kendal in 1919. His father was a Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion of the Border Regiment, stationed in Waziristan. His mother’s father was Company Secretary to Hindpool Saw Mills of Barrow-in-Furness and had invented a pontoon raft in 1916. [GB104041 104}.
Michael and his mother returned from India by boat and arrived in Plymouth 6 April 1922 and his father, then a Captain in the regiment, returned later. Michael’s brothers were born in Bowness-on-Windermere in 1925 and Grange-over-Sands in 1934.
Michael went to Westminster and was awarded a scholarship to Christ Church in 1940 but did not Matriculate.
On August 12th 1940, he enlisted in the RAF VR and was commissioned in the General Duties Branch in the following June. He was posted to No. 14 Service Flying Training School RAF at Twinwood Farm, Bedfordshire on the 26th June. On July 5th he went to No 2 School of Air Navigation at RAF Cranage, Cheshire. Five weeks later, he went to No 9 Service Flying Training School at Hullavington, Wiltshire.
On March 30th 1943, he was posted to No. 2 Advanced Flying Unit at Brize Norton. On July 21st he moved to No. 3 Glider Training School RAF (Stoke Orchard, Gloucestershire) and after four months to No. 1 Glider Training School RAF (RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire)
On February 18th 1943, he was based at HQ No. 51 Group RAF (Moorfield House, Leeds) and at the end of June had moved to HQ Flight Training Centre RAF at Shinfield Park, Reading, Berkshire. Late in October, he was a pilot flying Mosquitoes with 139 Squadron RAF based at Wyton, Cambridgeshire.
At the end of January 1944 he was posted to 192 Squadron RAF at Foulsham, Norfolk. He was awarded the D.F.C. whilst based at Foulsham. In August he became an instructor with 1692 Bomber Support Training Unit at Great Massingham, Norfolk
On February 5th 1945 he went back to flying with 23 Squadron RAF at Little Snoring, Norfolk.
On March 22nd he was B Flight commander and was airborne at 19:35 hrs from Little Snoring for Intruder operations (bomber support) in the Handorf and Münster area in Mosquito RS577 (YP-T). His navigator was F/Lt Philip Allan Disney
Initially the cause of loss and the crash-site were not established. The plane had crashed on the German airfield Münster-Handorf near Münster, which was their target. Both were buried in the Waldfriedhof Lauheide at Handorf.
They were re-interred at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany, Plot 18.E.17]
Photograph and additional information wit thanks to Egbert Theune.
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