Paying homage to Allan Sticky Murphy

Allan “Sticky” Murphy was Wing Commander of 23 Squadron.

Alan Michael ‘Sticky’ Murphy DSO and Bar, DFC, Croix de Guerre.
‘Sticky’. (Courtesy of Tommy Cushing)

Sticky Murphy was a pilot flying Lysander in 1941. He flew that particular mission in December 1941 and was hit in the neck.

He managed to get back to his base in England.

This is an excerpt of Peter Smith’s manuscript…


The loss of Sticky Murphy on December the 2nd 1944 would stay with the aircrew, and all whose lives he had touched for the rest of their lives.
Whenever they thought of all those lost, their friends that didn’t return, Sticky would be first in their memories.
His love of life and his love for his airmen would be passed down to their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren-a better friend and comrade no man had.

His accomplishments were at least those of the 23 Squadrons founder Col Strange, and perhaps what he accomplished with the moonlit Squadrons even more.

He would join, and be joined, by so many of his contemporaries- notably ‘Pic’ Pickard whom had also commanded 161 Squadron after Sticky. Outside the RAF Pickard was well known as Squadron Leader Dickson, the skipper of Wellington, F for Freddie, in the popular Crown Film Unit 1941 production ‘Target for Tonight’. He was also the commander of the legendary Amiens Prison Raid (Operation Jericho) when a British formation of 15 Mosquito twin-engine bombers escorted by eight Typhoon fighters bombed the prison and Gestapo headquarters at Amiens in Northern France.

Sticky’s wife, Jean, would marry again and finally find lasting happiness with her daughter Gail.
Gail would grow up with two loving parents-but knowing that her father was Sticky, and be reminded of it throughout her lifetime by stories that would reach her, of Sticky, his love for his men, and his fearless acts of derring-do’ relayed by his fellow aircrew and their children.

5 thoughts on “Paying homage to Allan Sticky Murphy

  1. My name is Captain Leo Tabone, South African Airways – Alan Murphy’s grandson Marcus Hanekom is a good friend of mine and we are sometimes rostered to fly together as a crew, he is a very capable and professional pilot and ‘Sticky’ Murphy would be very proud of his grandson following in his footsteps – one night at 40 000 feet over the Atlantic Marcus told me about his grandfather, his exploits which I really enjoyed – He has his grandfather’s logbook, medals and memorabilia proudly displayed in his study today, a tribute to a great and brave airman.

    1. He is very lucky to have in his possession those mementos of his grandfather. Please tell him hello from Pierre who has been writing a blog about 23 Squadron since 2010.

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