Comments are always most welcome…

Even on a post published in 2011.

Sticky Murphy

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.



Imagine by clicking here.

Total darkness, even lower, over hostile countries, in late 1944, in winter.

Imagine George Stewart and Paul Beaudet.

Paul Beaudet and George Stewart 1

Imagine Eugene Gagnon and R.C. Harris.

No. 23 Squadron Aircrew 1945 R. Harris

Imagine Theo Griffiths and Eric Maude.

10-11-1943 Naples Theo

Imagine Tommy Smith and Arthur Cockayne.


Imagine what it was like.

Now imagine you are practising bailing out of a Mosquito like Sticky Murphy and Jock Read…

Jock Read and Sticky Murphy

Or having a Chrismas dinner with 23 Squadron…

Xmas Overseas 1943

Just imagine what you are missing if you have not read all the posts on this blog about 23 Squadron.

Want more?

Post no. 126

This is post no. 126.

If you are interested in 23 Squadron a little known Mosquito Squadron in the RAF during World War II, then you should read this blog from the start.


One post a day will take you more than four months. Of course you don’t have to read everything.

But then you will miss a lot of great stories…

Paul Beaudet and George Stewart 1

Just use the search engine and type in a name of someone you know who could have been related to that squadron. That how people find about their relatives.

Diane Carlucci was the first one to do so.

Paul Beaudet DFC

Paul Beaudet


Members of the Gosling family also found it.

23 Squadron end of the war 3

Robert Harris is one of the latest to have done so. His father was Eugène Gagnon’s navigator.

No. 23 Squadron Aircrew 1945 R. Harris

R. C. Harris

He can now share with all of us what stories his father told him about 23 Squadron.

I don’t have any relatives related to 23 Squadron. In fact I never knew that squadron existed in the first place.

I owe it all to this man. He wanted me to help him find more about his hero when he was young.

Marcel Bergeron at the crash scene

Marcel Bergeron

Marcel Bergeron, who is now 85 years old, is seen here in front of Eugène Gagnon’s Republic Seabee.

Eugène died on October 21, 1947. Very little was known about Eugène during WWII. So I started looking in 2010 and wrote about it here on this blog.

Everything is on this blog! 


But this blog is not just only about Eugène Gagnon a little know French-Canadian Mosquito pilot, it’s about all those whose relatives are sharing what they know about 23 Squadron and thus will keep this squadron operational forever.

photo 23 Squadron Crest

Priority One

I have been digressing enough on my other blogs.

The one about RCAF No. 403 Squadron mostly

More than 100 articles.

I know I will be posting more.

But I’ve got to set my priorities.

So Priority One will be writing a chapter in Peter Smith’s manuscript about 23 Squadron.

I can’t let him down.

He gave so much to pay homage to these fine young men who gave so much.

Collection Tom Cushing via Peter Smith

Men like Sticky Murphy, George Stewart, Paul Beaudet, Arthur Cockayne, Tommy Smith, Phil Russell… and Gene Gagnon.

Collection Jacques Gagnon

Semper Aggressus

Why Sticky?

Peter says this in his manuscript…

Although it is not known exactly when, but more likely to be while Murphy was with the RAF, he was christened with the name that would stay with him forever “Sticky”.

Sticky got his name because he would never let go of anything; he was a “stickler” for seeing something through. If he got a bee in his bonnet he would pursue it to the last… until whatever had bothered him had reached a conclusion.

Now Peter knows who was Sticky’s navigator.

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.