Flight Lieutenant William Noel BELFORD

Service No: 413945
Born: Taree NSW, 5 November 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 10 October 1941
Unit: No. 626 Squadron (RAF), RAF Wickenby, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 626 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LM380), Germany, 27 January 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Rheinberg War Cemetery, Kamp Lintfort, Nordrhein-Westfal, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Francis Thomas Belford and Gladys Frances Belford, of Taree, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 118, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Taree World War 2 and Post War Memorials, Taree NSW

On the night of 27/28th January 1944, Lancaster LM380 took off from RAF Wickenby at 1728 hours, detailed to bomb Berlin. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. Homebound, the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter, and crashed at Katzenelnbogen, 8 kms south west of Galnstatten, Germany. Six of the crew were killed and one became a Prisoner of War.

The crew members of LM380 were:

Flight Lieutenant William Noel Belford (413945) (Pilot)
Sergeant Harry Hill (1810334) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Robert Gould (427116) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant A J P Lee (1320246) (RAFVR) (Navigator) PoW
Sergeant John Cottis Lee (1528812) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Hugh Harrison Mewburn (1001891) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Thomas Stanley Trinder (1384704) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)

On 6 January 1944 Flight Lieutenant Belford and all these crew members had ditched Lancaster MH577 160 kms off the Yorkshire coast after the aircraft had been airborne over 10 hours and had run out of fuel. All were rescued without injury.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Chorley, W .R. Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War – Volume 5 Aircraft and Aircrew Losses 1944, Midland Counties Publications, 1997
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, 163/91/155
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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