Flight Sergeant William John BIRMINGHAM

Service No: 406500
Born: Fremantle WA, 30 January 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 6 January 1941
Unit: No. 103 Squadron (RAF), RAF Elsham Wolds, Lincolnshire
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 103 Squadron Halifax aircraft W1218), Lincolnshire, 28 July 1942, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Manby (St. Mary) Churchyard, Lincolnshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Herbert E. Birmingham and Dorothy A. Birmingham, of Dwellingup, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Dwellingup WA
Remembered: Panel 119, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Halifax W1218 took off on 28 July 1942, detailed to carry out air to sea firing practice during which the pilot was instructed to carry out a normal petrol tank change during flight if necessary. During the exercise the aircraft stalled and spun in and crashed at Ludborough, 6 miles north north west of Louth, Lincolnshire.  All the crew were killed.  A Court of Inquiry found that the cause of the accident was loss of control through stalling in a steep turn at a low altitude of 1,000 feet.

The crew members of W1218 were:

Flight Sergeant William John Birmingham (406500) (Observer)
Sergeant Douglas Charles Cochrane (1330228) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Francis Leon Joseph Harnett (R/64799) (RCAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Alexander Francis Pearson (R/54196) (RCAF) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Stanley Norman Ryder (537165) (RAF) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Stewart William Stockford (1314060) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant Leonard Joseph Storey (617879) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)


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, 163/92/166


Charlwood, D.E.C. (Donald Ernest Cameron) (408794) No Moon Tonight (Angus and Robertson 1956), Penguin Ringwood VIC, 3134, 1991
Gaston, Bruce DFC (406646), Harry Horner DFC OAM (406595), Raymond Storer (406666) (Editors), Aircrew for the Duration: of and by members of RAAF EATS Courses 10, 11, 12 & 13, Gaston Horner and Storer, Nedlands WA, 1990

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