Flying Officer William Thomas Robertson HARDING

Service No: 408691
Born: South Melbourne VIC, 28 May 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 22 May 1941
Unit: No. 30 Squadron
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 30 Squadron Beaufighter aircraft A19-73), near Port Moresby PNG, 31 May 1943, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery PNG
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Hay Harding; husband of Loris Edith Harding, of Windsor. Victoria
Roll of Honour: Melbourne VIC
Remembered: Panel 102, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 31 May 1943, Beaufighter A 19-73 crashed at 0930 hours during a practice strafing training flight over a ship wreck south of Manubaja Mission near Port Moresby. It appeared that the starboard wing struck the mast of the wreck. The aircraft rose sharply, burst into flames, and crashed into the sea sinking rapidly. Two of those on board were rescued by launches.

The crew members of A19-73 were:

Sergeant George Hedley Cane (35437) (Navigator Wireless) Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 7 November 1945
Flying Officer William Thomas Robertson Harding (408691) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Francis Cairo King (400043) (Pilot) (Supernumerary)
Flying Officer John Vincent Tyrell (3491) (Navigator Wireless) (Supernumerary) Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 25 March 1949


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, 166/17/165; A9845, 14


Parnell, N.M. (Neville M.) Whispering Death: A history of the RAAF’s Beaufighter Squadrons, AH & AW Reed, Terry Hills NSW, 1980
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Beaufort, Beaufighter and Mosquito in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1990

Book Now Book Now