Flight Sergeant Angus Murdock McPhail, the son of David McPhail and Annie Kate McPhail (nee Ebeling), was born at Maclagan in Queensland on 3rd February 1925. He was educated at the Maclagan State School during the years 1937 until 1939. He then attended the Toowoomba Grammar School in 1940 and 1941 where he passed the University of Queensland Junior Public Examination. Whilst a student at the Grammar School he served in the cadet unit and also served two months in the Air Training Corps. He applied for aircrew training in the Royal Australian Air Force on 1st February 1943. At the time of his application he was unmarried, employed as a Clerk (Assistant Accountant) at the Toowoomba Foundry, and residing c/- Mrs William Waugh at 11 Queen Street in Toowoomba. He was enlisted in the Reserve of the Royal Australian Air Force at No. 3 Recruiting Centre in Brisbane on 26th March 1943.
At the age of 18 years and 1 month, Flight Sergeant Angus McPhail was enlisted into the Citizen Air Force of the R.A.A.F. at No. 3 Recruiting Centre in Brisbane on 26th March 1943 after giving the undertaking that he would serve for the duration of the war and an additional twelve months. His physical description was that he was 5 feet 8 inches in height and weighed 144 pounds. He had a medium complexion, hazel eyes and dark brown hair. He stated that he was of the Presbyterian religion. He gave his next of kin as his father Mr David McPhail, “Glentroom”, Maclagan via Jondaryan, Queensland. He also nominated his sister, Mrs M. McKay residing at Starling Street, Warners Bay in New South Wales as a person to be advised in the event of his injury or death.
Flight Sergeant Angus McPhail was allocated the service number of 435175 and he joined No. 39 Course at No. 2 Initial Training School at Lindfield in New South Wales on 27th March 1943. He proceeded to No. 3 Wireless & Air Gunnery School at Maryborough in Queensland on 27th May 1943. After completing training at Maryborough he then joined No. 39 Air Gunner Course at No. 1 Bombing & Gunnery School at Evans Head in New South Wales on 15th November 1943. He qualified for the Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Qualification Badge and was promoted to the rank of Temporary Sergeant on 9th December 1943.
Flight Sergeant Angus McPhail joined No. 2 Embarkation Depot at Bradfield Park in Sydney on 9th December 1942 to prepare for movement overseas on attachment to the Royal Air Force. He embarked by sea transport from Sydney in New South Wales on 27th January 1944 and he disembarked from the ship in England on 12th March 1944. He joined No. 11 Personnel Despatch and Reception Centre at Bournemouth in England on 14th March 1944. He was promoted to the rank of Temporary Flight Sergeant on 9th June 1944. He joined No. 6 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit at Royal Air Force Station Staverton on 11th July 1944 where he would have received advanced training. He joined No. 27 Operational Training Unit at Royal Air Force Station Lichfield on 19th September 1944. No 27 Operational Training Unit conducted training for night bombing using Vickers Wellington aircraft.
Flight Sergeant Angus McPhail was an Air Gunner and a member of the crew of a No. 27 Operational Training Unit Wellington Bomber HZ533 of Royal Air Force Station that crashed at Church Broughton, Derbyshire, England, on 18th December 1944 whilst on a non-operational flight. The aircraft had been doing overshoots when it crashed into a sewerage farm at Church Broughton, Derbyshire. The aircraft crash resulted in Flight Sergeant McPhail and two of the crew being killed and another crewmember slightly injured. At the time of his death Angus McPhail was 19 years of age. He was buried in the Chester (Blacon) Cemetery in the United Kingdom at 1400 hours on 22nd December 1944. His headstone in the Chester Cemetery contains the family inscription “His Duty Nobly Done – Ever Remembered”.
Sergeant Angus McPhail, for his service during World War 2 qualified for the Defence Medal, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal. His name is commemorated on Panel No. 126 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Mothers’ Memorial, the Grammar School WW2 Honour Board and the Toowoomba Soldiers’ Memorial Hall WW2 Honour Board.
The following report was published in the local newspaper:
Mr D. McPhail and family, of Maclagan, have been advised of the death of his son and their brother, Flight Sergeant Angus Murdock McPhail. Flight Sergeant McPhail was serving with the R.A.A.F. and was killed in an aircraft accident in England. He was 19 years of age and was an Old Boy of the Toowoomba Grammar School. At the time of his enlistment he was employed on the sales staff of the Toowoomba Foundry Pty. Ltd.
His brother, a twin, Leading Aircraftman Malcolm McPhail, a flight Mechanic, served overseas in the R.A.A.F. A sister, Mrs N. McKay, resided at Starling Street, Warners Bay in New South Wales. After Angus McPhail’s death his father asked that a bicycle he owned in England be given to an Olive Moor, residing at “Churchston”, 241 Porter Road, Derby, England. His sister, Mrs Pearl Ebleing of 38 Fitzpatrick Street in Toowoomba, later 489 Bridge Street in Toowoomba, made enquiries as to his medal entitlement on 15th April 1981. His brother, Mr M.J. McPhail of 7A David Street in Toowoomba, made enquiries as to his medal entitlement on 11th April 1988.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a student on 31st January 1940 and left the school on 5th December 1941.