LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Thomas ESSAM

Service No: 405151
Born: London, England, 1 December 1910
Enlisted in the RAAF: 2 February 1941 (at Brisbane QLD)
Unit: No. 1 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 1 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit Hudson aircraft AM699), Solway Channel, 25 March 1942, Aged 31 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Thomas and Margaret Essam, of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Brisbane QLD
Remembered: Panel 112, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 121, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 25 March 1942 Hudson AM699 was reported missing on a night navigation operational training flight from RAF Silloth. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it did not return to base. A crash in Solway Channel was reported almost immediately by the Royal Observer Corps. Searches failed to find any wreckage or survivors but the body of one crew member was recovered 24 hours later. It was considered at the time that there may have been a collision with No. 1 (C)OTU Hudson N7392 which was granted permission to land shortly after AM699 took off. The second aircraft did not however land and it was also reported missing.

The crew members of AM699 were:

Sergeant Thomas Essam (405151) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Peter Field (403044) (Pilot)
Sergeant Jack Oldknow (1108940) (RAFVR) (Observer)
Sergeant Mervyn Charles Taylor (403452) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

The crew members of N7392 were:

Sergeant Ronald Henry Bester (1263115)
Sergeant Stanley Charles George Blowes (1310757)
Sergeant William James Thomas Bogg (1060157)
Sergeant George William Searle (1376197)

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, 163/108/15