Flying Officer William David APPLEYARD

Service No: 415716
Born: Claremont WA, 24 February 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 January 1942
Unit: No. 49 Squadron (RAF), RAF Fiskerton, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 49 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ND684), France, 19 July 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Granges-Sur-Aube Churchyard, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Albert John and Jessie Margaret Appleyard, of Claremont, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Claremont WA
Remembered: Panel 118, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Revigny, already the objective of two abortive raids by other groups on 12th-13th and 14th-15th July, was nominated as a target for No. 5 Group on 18th-19th July. This was an ill-fated attack as no fewer than 24 of the force of 110 bombers failed to return to base. It was a case of the elaborate nightly RAF tactical deception plan misfiring for once.  The enemy ignored the raid against Scholven-Buer, being deceived into thinking it was a diversionary sweep. The Luftwaffe’s strength in Belgium was sent westward into France and ran headlong into the force attacking Revigny. Fighter attacks began over the target and the fighters then hung determinedly around the skirts of the retiring bombers until they crossed the coast.  Few crews saw obvious signs of success because long-delay fuses were again used, but later evidence showed that after the attack only one through line remained open.  One RAAF pilot criticised the chosen route, which crossed an active searchlight belt in the Pas de Calais. After seeing four Lancasters shot down over the target within two minutes he swung out of the stream and skirted this searchlight belt and reported that other aircraft which had kept to track were shot down.  Australian losses were particularly severe. Aircraft piloted by Flying Officer Beverley Hudson Gifford (415220) and Flying Officer James Robert Worthington (406417) of No. 463, Flying Officer Thomas Edward William Davis (420173) and Flying Officer David Beharrie (418334) of No. 467, Flying Officer William David Appleyard (415716) of No. 49, Flying Officer Frank Francis Molinas (425454) of No. 619 and Flying Officer Peter Buck Dennett (418927), Flying Officer Gordon Edward Maxwell (425331) and Flying Officer Bruce William Brittain (414756) (Flight Sergeant Gordon Edwin Beckhouse (424354) (Wireless Air Gunner)) of No. 630 were all shot down.

Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 Pages 236-7

Lancaster ND684 took off from RAF Fiskerton at 2249 hours on the night of 18/19th July 1944 to destroy a railway junction at Revigny, France. When the aircraft was outbound, it was shot down by a night fighter and crashed at Granges-sur-Aube (Marne), 3 kms east south east of Anglure, France and all seven crew members were killed.

The crew members of ND 684 were:

Flying Officer William David Appleyard (415716) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Dennis William Blumfield (1393228) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant George Walter Jameson (1230638) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Pilot Officer Everett Morley Matheson (J/88476) (RCAF) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Geoffrey John Perry (1312857) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Howard Ernest Turner (188991) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Robert Frederick Henry Viollet (1226876) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/4/144

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