WWII veteran mourned

Talitha WolfeAlbany Advertiser

Murray Maxton will be remembered as a hero.

The decorated World War II veteran died on Thursday, aged 97.

William Campbell Murray Maxton grew up on a farm in Kalgan and served in the Royal Australian Air Force 460 squadron.

In 1944 he served alongside his late brother Eric.

The pair are the only brothers to have flown in action together in the same aircraft during WWII, after joining the RAAF reserves in Albany in their early 20s.

In a 2000 interview for the UNSW Canberra Australian at War Film Archive, Mr Maxton told of how he met his brother in London.

“I knew (Eric) was up at Dumfries in Scotland but I didn’t know that he was in London. Or what squad he was going to,” he said.

“Anyway, I’m in London and I go into this little spot ... I walk into this little place and there’s the brother there.”

In a chance event the brothers were then assigned to the same crew, Murray as pilot, Eric as the wireless operator. Their commander did not realise the pair were brothers until weeks later.

“They didn’t know until we finished ... we had a talk to the squadron commander ... and he (said), ‘I don’t know what we’re going to do with you two boys because you’ve been flying so long together now ... we can’t split you up now. You seem to get on pretty well together. If you don’t tell your mother I’ll let you fly together’,” Mr Maxton said.

“I was pretty concerned about it ... I thought, what if he (Eric) goes with another crew and he gets shot down, how will I feel? It’s best for us both to go together and then we won’t be worrying about one another.

“Every time I took to the air, Eric was with me. Give him some hair-raising experiences — especially up the islands. But I mean we got home all right.”

The brothers flew Lancaster bombers and completed 30 missions before they told their family they were flying together.

The Maxtons were hailed as national treasures and awarded France’s highest decoration, the Legion of Honour, during Anzac centenary commemorations in November 2014.

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