Flying Officer William George DIEHM

Service No: 412049
Born: Paddington NSW, 15 December 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 21 June 1941
Unit: No. 3 Squadron
Died: Air Operations: (No. 3 Squadron Kittyhawk aircraft FL346), Libya, 14 January 1943, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William and Helen Diehm, of Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Lithgow NSW
Remembered: Column 277, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
Remembered: Panel 98, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

The Australians had suffered a serious setback when, on the 14th, after an early-morning attack on
Tauorga, they had set out at 11 .30 a .m. with eighteen Bostons to bomb Bir Dufan. The first seaward leg was uneventful, but as the formation turned south it was met by twenty Me-109’s and Mc-202’s which attacked repeatedly and with spirit . The Bostons successfully bombed their target and were withdrawn unscathed, but only at the cost of nine Australia n and two other Kittyhawks. Enemy losses were certainly lighter, only six Messerschmitts being claimed as destroyed. Later the same day another Kittyhawk of No. 3 was shot down during a skirmish with German fighters. Fortunately Squadron Leader Gibbes and two pilots of No. 450 rejoined their units by 20th January, while another was later rescued at Tripoli, but only one of the other six pilots survived as a prisoner of war. Though costly, the airfield attacks achieved their purpose for enemy aircraft made little intervention in the ground battle and the Australian squadrons were called on only once—twelve Kittyhawks providing cover for New Zealanders moving round the southern flank of the enemy positions .

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954- Page 400

No. 3 Squadron lost five aircraft and three pilots:

Sergeant Norman Royce Caldwell (407781) (Kittyhawk FL363) Missing until 23 January, Discharged from the RAAF: 15 October 1945
Flying Officer William Diehm (412049) (Kittyhawk FL346)
Squadron Leader Robert Henry Maxwell Gibbes DSO DFC (260714) (Kittyhawk FL323) Shot down, crash landed, safe, Discharged from the RAAF: 11 January 1946
Pilot Officer Alan Tonkin (401200) (Kittyhawk FL345)
Pilot Officer Leslie Joseph Weatherburn (405892) (O18163) (Kittyhawk FL330) POW, Discharged from the RAAF: 26 October 1945

No. 450 Squadron lost two pilots and four aircraft:

Flight Sergeant Gilbert Harry Cameron (401406) (Kittyhawk FR279)
Sergeant L A Frost MID (R/90274) (RCAF) (Kittyhawk FR329) Evaded capture
Sergeant Maxwell Charles Harrison (408093) (Kittyhawk FR415)
Flight Sergeant A D Nicholson (R/86113) (RCAF) (Kittyhawk FR345) Evaded capture

No. 250 Squadron RAF lost two aircraft and had another badly damaged with one Pilot killed:

Sergeant Basil Cedric Harold Kirkman (656749) (RAF)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Brown, R. (Russell) Desert Warriors Australian P-40 Pilots at War in the Middle East and North Africa 1941-1943, Banner Books Maryborough QLD 4652, 2000
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9300, DIEHM W G

Book Now Book Now