Leading Aircraftman William Thomas Roy CRAGO

Service No: 205741
Born: Ballarat VIC, 7 August 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 October 1938
Unit: No. 10 Squadron, RAF Station Pembroke Dock, Wales
Died: Aircraft Accident: (No. 119 Squadron Sunderland aircraft X8274), Atlantic Ocean, 20 June 1941, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Hezekiah and Mary Jane Crago, of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Ballarat VIC
Remembered: Panel 63, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 99, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the 20th June 1941, Sunderland X8274, the ex-BOAC Flying Boat “Golden Fleece” was lost during the course of a flight from RAF Mount Batten to Gibraltar. The aircraft was operated by No. 119 Squadron RAF and the RAF crew was supplemented by three RAAF members form No. 10 Squadron. The aircraft suffered engine trouble and had to make a forced open-ocean landing in the Bay of Biscay off Cape Finisterre and then sank. Of the fourteen on board, five were rescued by German Forces and became Prisoners of War, and nine lost their lives.

On board were:

Sergeant William Frederick Alexander (508826) (RAF, No. 119 Squadron) Killed
Aircraftman Class 1 J Anderson (636035) (RAFVR, No. 119 Squadron) PoW
Pilot Officer James Barry (400434) (Second Pilot) Killed
Flight Lieutenant George Henry Bowes (77027) (RAFVR, No. 119 Squadron) (Second Pilot) Killed
Corporal (later Flight Lieutenant) Leonard George Corcoran (4503) (Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 19 December 1946
Leading Aircraftman William Thomas Roy Crago (205741) (Fitter IIE) Killed
Flight Sergeant Claude Ernest Fowler (512994) (RAF, No. 119 Squadron)
Sergeant J E Hill (758249) (RAF) POW
Squadron Leader S G Long (70406) (RAF) (Pilot) PoW
Sergeant Henry Richard Mason (365521) (RAFVR, No. 119 Squadron) Killed
Flight Sergeant David Francis Meyrick (506585) (RAF, No. 119 Squadron) Killed
Captain P Michal (30415) (French Air Forces) (Passenger) Killed
Brigadier General Tavener (British Army) (Passenger) PoW
Sergeant Albert Henry Sillifant Waller (759038) (RAFVR, No. 119 Squadron) Killed

The aircraft landing, rescue by enemy forces and Corporal Corcoran’s time as No. 10 Squadron’s only Prisoner of War is told in detail at pages 147-151 in Maritime is No. 10.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
McNeill, Ross Royal Air Force Coastal Command Losses of the Second World War, Volume 1 Aircraft and Crew Losses 1939-1941, Midland Publishing UK, 2003
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/98/257


Ashworth, N. (Norman) The ANZAC Squadron: A history of No. 461 Squadron RAAF 1942-5, Hesperian Press Victoria Park WA 6100, 1994
Baff, K.C (Kevin), Maritime is Number Ten, K.C. Baff Netley SA, 1983
Joubert, P.B. (Sir Phillip Bennet) Birds and Fishes: the story of Coastal Command, Hutchinson and Company London, 1960
Southall, I.F. (Ivan Francis) (418900) They Shall Not Pass Unseen, Angus and Robertson Sydney NSW, 1956
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992

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