This one came from a house clearance picker in North Texas and a really stellar and poignant group. This was an Immediate DFC for coolness and gallantry in action by an American in the RCAF and a rising star in Bomber Command who was killed on his second trip while joining a Pathfinder squadron.

Info from the Aircrew association Honours & Awards section.

MURRELL, P/O Sidney Leon (J16203) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.425 Squadron - Award effective 7 May 1943 as per London Gazette dated 13 May 1943 and AFRO 1035/43 dated 4 June 1943.
Born 1917; home in Gainsville, Texas; enlisted in Windsor, Ontario, 1 February 1941.
Trained at No.3 ITS (graduated 27 July 1941), No.11 EFTS (graduated 20 September 1941) and No.8 SFTS (graduated 18 November 1941). Commissioned 1942.
Killed in action 22 June 1943 (Halifax JD124). Medal presented to next-of-kin, 13 June 1944.

In January 1943 this officer, as captain of aircraft, was detailed for a daylight attack on a target in northwest Germany. Cloud cover was scanty, but with determination he succeeded in attacking an alternative target. On the return journey his aircraft was attacked by two Messerschmitt 109s. In the ensuing engagement, which lasted twenty minutes, the hostile aircraft made twelve separate attacks but Pilot Officer Murrell, by skilful manoeuvring, enabled his gunners to frustrate the attackers. By his keenness, determination and fine fighting spirit this officer has set an inspiring example to all.

NOTE: Public Record Office Air 2/8950 has original recommendation by W/C J.W. St.Pierre, drafted on 20 March 1943 when he had flown 21 sorties (119 hours 40 minutes). This lists his sorties to that date and gives a slightly more detailed account of the incident described.

* denotes flying as a second pilot
** denotes daylight operation

5 Oct 42 Aachen (6.30)*
13 Oct 42 Kiel (6.00)*
15 Oct 42 Cologne (6.00)
9 Nov 42 Hamburg (6.45)
16 Nov 42 GARDENING (4.25)
22 Nov 42 Stuttgart (8.40)
25 Nov 42 GARDENING (5.55)
6 Dec 42 GARDENING (4.50)
9 Dec 42 Turin (6.50)
16 Dec 42 GARDENING (5.20)
20 Dec 42 Duisburg (4.50)
21 Jan 43 GARDENING (4.45)
23 Jan 43 Essen (4.55)**
30 Jan 43 Oldenburg (6.25)**
4 Feb 43 Lorient (6.00)
7 Feb 43 Sea Search (5.50)**
11 Feb 43 GARDENING (4.05)
24 Feb 43 Wilhelmshaven (5.20)
3 Mar 43 Hamburg (6.15)
5 Mar 43 Essen (5.10)
12 Mar 43 Essen (4.50)

On the 30th January 1943, Pilot Officer Murrell (USA, RCAF) was captain of a Wellington bomber detailed for a daylight attack on Oldenburg. On the way to the target, about 30 miles from the enemy coast, cloud cover was scanty. However, Pilot Officer Murrell could see well built up clouds over the land, and as he had received no general recall signal, he decided to continue and to attempt an attack on the target. He did not reach his objective, but he did bomb a built-up area in enemy territory.

On the return journey, where no cloud cover existed, Pilot Officer Murrell was set upon by two ME.109Fs, which in the ensuing 20 minute running fight, made twelve separate attacks. By skilful maneuvering, Pilot Officer Murrell enabled both his beam and rear gunners to bring fire to bear on the attackers so that only on the final attack did they come to close range and score any hits.

Pilot Officer Murrell is an extremely enthusiastic bomber pilot and is an asset to the squadron. I recommend that he be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (Non-Immediate).

The Officer Commanding, Station Dishforth, supported this on the same day (20 March 1943), writing:

The keenness and determination showed by this officer on all occasions is such that he is an inspiration to all crews of the squadron. For the particular service mentioned above, I heartily endorse the recommendation of the Squadron Commander.

Air Vice-Marshal G.E. Brooks, Air Officer Commanding, No.6 Group, added, on 29 March 1943:

This pilot has developed a fine offensive spirit and merits the award recommended.
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