Family pay tribute to war hero
Kaye Moran and great-nephew Jeremy Doney. Picture: The West Australian/Ian Munro

Over the past few years Jim Moran's relatives have been unravelling his tragic but captivating 69-year-old war story.

Warrant Officer Moran and six comrades were killed in World War II during a mission to attack the German city of Leipzig.

The 24-year-old was the pilot of LV781 Halifax III HD-H when it was shot down above the Netherlands on February 20, 1944.

The news that the former farmer was missing filtered back to the Great Southern town of Wagin, leaving his parents and nine siblings devastated.

WO Moran's body was never found but six months after he died, a fisherman came across his wallet while trawling off the northern Netherlands coast.

The man held on to the wallet for more than 60 years but it was eventually returned to the Moran family in 2011. The wallet gave a sense of closure for WO Moran's two surviving siblings, Terry and Kaye Moran, while giving them an insight into their elder brother.

Ms Moran was just 11 when her brother was killed but has fond memories of time spent on the farm with him.

"There were a lot of us and we were a very happy family, which makes all the difference," she said. A plaque will be erected at the base of a tree in Kings Park today to honour WO Moran's memory.

It is one of 11 new plaques that will be dedicated to men who died on active service and are buried overseas or have no known grave.

WO Moran's nephew Gerry Doney began researching his relative after his late mother gave him one of his spare dog tags a few years ago.

The family hope the Federal Government will help them find out whether WO Moran is one of the "unknown airmen" buried in the Harlingen general cemetery in the Netherlands.

"Kaye had two brothers and two brother-in-laws who fought in WWII, so the family has a big involvement in the theatre of war," Mr Doney said.

Among the 11 men being recognised with a plaque today is Richard Kennedy - the great uncle of former ABC political journalist Peter Kennedy.

Company Quartermaster Sergeant Kennedy was killed in France in 1918, just five months before the end of World War I.

He survived a wounding earlier in the war during the battle of Fromelles but was killed in Morlancourt, aged 41, after returning to the front.

Before the war, CQS Kennedy played 136 games for Perth Football Club and was vice-captain of the first premiership team in 1907.

The West Australian

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