Murray Rufus GOLDNEY

GOLDNEY, Murray Rufus

Service Number: 417634
Enlisted: 20 June 1942
Last Rank: Flight Sergeant
Last Unit: No. 547 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Balaklava, South Australia , 22 April 1920
Home Town: Balaklava, Wakefield, South Australia
Schooling: Balaklava Primary School and Roseworthy College
Occupation: Student
Died: Flying Battle, Bay of Biscay, Bay of Biscay, Atlantic Ocean, 12 April 1944, aged 23 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Runnymede (Air Forces) Memorial, Surrey, England, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Balaklava District WW2 Roll of Honour, Balaklava WW1 & WW2 Honour Roll, Balaklava WW1 & WW2 Memorial, Runnymede Air Forces Memorial
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World War 2 Service

20 Jun 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), 417634, Adelaide, South Australia
20 Jun 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, 417634
12 Apr 1944: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, 417634, No. 547 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45
Date unknown: Involvement

Biography of Murray Goldney

Murray was the eldest son of Rufus and Louisa Goldney of Ridgeway Farm, Balaklava, South Australia. He was born at Balaklava and attended the Balaklava Primary and High Schools, excelling academically and playing lots of sport.

Murray gained a scholarship to Roseworthy Agricultural College which he attended from 1937 – 1940 and he earned a Diploma of Agriculture. He was a good football, cricket and tennis player. He then won a scholarship to Hawkesbury Agricultural College for a year and gained a Diploma of Dairying. He joined the Royal Australian Airforce Reserve in December 1941. He quite possibly would have managed a cheese factory had he survived the war. He worked for Farmers Union in Adelaide while waiting for his Air Force call up.

Murray met his future wife, Nance Panton, at a dance attended by Roseworthy College students in Gawler. They were engaged in February 1942 then married on December 5th, 1942 at Holy Trinity Church, North Tce Adelaide.

Nan had joined the Air Force when she was 20. As a WAAF she did a 'rookie' course at Geelong Grammar and then went to work at Parafield aerodrome. She lived at Parafield for a while, then with her sister Peg at West Croydon until she married Murray when she was aged 21. After they were married they went to live at Pt Pirie for a few months.

Murray did some further training at Mt Breckan at Victor Harbor as an observer, then he was posted overseas as a navigator in April 1943. Nan was pregnant when their first child when Murray left. She went to live with her mother and grandmother in West Croyden.

We can trace Murray’s route to the UK via North America from the postcards he sent back. In San Francisco Murray happened to meet ‘Mac’ i.e. Henry Macintosh (Nan’s sister Peg’s husband), they just happened to be there on the same day, Mac was in the Navy. Murray then went up to Canada before moving on to the UK. Nan said the ‘Yanks” really looked after them. She got some letters from Murray but they could not say where they were going and all the letters were censored.

Murray was posted to Coastal Command in England, navigating in Liberator aircraft. He was posted to Thorney Island Royal Air Force Station, in West Sussex, England, from 25 October 1943 until 14 January 1944. He flew in Vickers Wellington aircraft, on anti-shipping and anti-submarine patrols over the Bay of Biscay, France and the Atlantic Ocean.

Nan and Murray's son, Robert Goldney, was born in Adelaide on 2 December 1943. Murray was aware of his son's birth.

As part of the RAF 547 Squadron, Murray was posted to St Eval Royal Air Force Station, Cornwall from 14 January 1944. He was Flight Sergeant in an aircraft which did not return from a mission over the Bay of Biscay, France, patrolling for U-boats (German submarines) on 12 April 1944. It was presumed that his plane crashed into the sea and all on board died. Nan was informed that Murray was missing by telegram.

The small 500 year old church at St Eval which was beside the Air Force Base is now an Air Force Memorial Church. Murray’s name is on the list of those who were lost from St Eval. There is also a beautiful Air Force Memorial at Runnymede near London.

Murray’s medals are the 1939/45 Star, Atlantic Star, Defence Medal, and War Medal 1939/45.

Murray's father, Rufus Goldney, was the local MP at Balaklava. He ensured his son and other soldiers were remembered with memorials in the main street of Balaklava, the Methodist Church and the Town Hall. The Baptismal Font of the Methodist Church was purchased in his honor and a Murray Goldney Memorial Sports Shield was used at Balaklava High School from 1958 - 1981. The Balaklava Cemetery also contains a memorial to Murray in his parents plot.

After the war was over, Nan met a returned Airforce Officer, William (Bill) O'Callaghan. Bill won Nan over by taking her and young Rob on outings to the Christmas Pageant and zoo. They married in 1949 and had two more children. They remained in touch with Goldney family, and Rob spent many school holidays with his grandparents at Balaklava when he was growing up.

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