LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer William John EDWARDS

Service No: 433097
Born: Claremont WA, 28 September 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 February 1943 (at Sydney NSW)
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Station Dallachy
Died: Air Operations: (No. 455 Squadron Beaufighter aircraft RD429), off the Norwegian Coast, 26 April 1945, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William Henry and Stella Tasmania Edwards; husband of Jean Margery Sheelah Edwards, of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 283, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Beaufighter RD429 took off from Dallachy at 1420 hours on 26 April 1945 to carry out an anti shipping patrol of Fede Fjord. Six aircraft from the Squadron took part in the patrol and one of these RD429 failed to return. In addition to the No. 455 Squadron aircraft, 12 Rocket-equipped Beaufighters (No. 144 Squadron (RAF)), 2 Anti flak Beaufighters outriders (No. 489Squadron (RNZAF)), 12 Mustangs (No. 19 Squadron (RAF)) and 2 Air Sea Rescue Warwick aircraft (No. 279 Squadron (RAF)) took part in the patrol. RD429 lead the No. 455 Squadron aircraft.

The patrol attacked enemy shipping in Brevigen Bay on the north side of the Fede fjord. RD429 attacked a motor vessel of 4/5000 tons with rockets and cannon. Possible rocket hits seen by the following aircraft. Enemy aircraft were encountered when out of the attack and combat ensued.
RD429 called up that the Pilot had been wounded but thought he could make base. RD429 asked for an escort but almost at once called up to say that it was being attacked by fighters. There was then no further word but an aircraft was seen to crash into a hill and explode near Fede Fjord. No trace was found of the crew members of RD429.

The crew members of RD429 were:

Flying Officer William John Edwards (433097) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer Keith Lambert Hamilton (434459) (Navigator Wireless)

References:

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, 166/11/273

Bibliography:

Gordon, I. (Ian) Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron 1944-5, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1995
Lawson, John Horwood Wightman (251634) The Story of No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Wilke and Company, Melbourne VIC, 1951