Flight Lieutenant William James CORBETT

Service No: 400527
Born: West Brunswick VIC, 24 September 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 September 1940
Unit: No. 357 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 357 Squadron Liberator aircraft BZ923), India, 7 May 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Delhi War Cemetery, India
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Maj. William James Corbett and Sylvia May Corbett; husband of Irene Margaret Corbett, of West Brunswick, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 120, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the night of 6 May 1944, Liberator BZ923 took off from Digri on a special operation with Flight Lieutenant Jones as Captain of the aircraft. He was properly briefed with the Captains of three other aircraft engaged on the same mission. Information came through the next morning that the aircraft had crashed 20 minutes away from base, half a mile west of Burdwan railway station at 23.26N 087.50E. The other Captains reported that very bad weather had been encountered which was not anticipated by the Meteorological service. Flight Lieutenant Jones was experienced and done a considerable amount of flying; it was however his first operation on this type of aircraft and was in all probability over territory he had never before experienced. It was later established that BZ923 was returning from the special mission and crashed at 0530 hours on 7 May 1944, and that the reason for the crash was lack of fuel.

The crew members of BZ923 were:

Warrant Officer N R Carlson R/123918) (RCAF) (Wireless Air Gunner) Injured
Flight Lieutenant William James Corbett (400527) (Navigator)
Warrant Officer O H Duyvejonck (R/119899) (RCAF) (Wireless Air Gunner) Injured
Flying Officer J W Gardner (152022) (RAF) (Second Pilot) Injured
Flying Officer S G Gradiner (J/11179) (RAF) (Navigator) Injured
Flight Lieutenant K P Jones (88708) (RAFVR) (Pilot) Injured
Pilot Officer James Duffield Spencer (J/90953) (RCAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer George Duncan Van Patter (J/27958) (RCAF) (Air Gunner) Fatally injured, Died: 8 May 1944


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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/8/448

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