LEST WE FORGET
Flying Officer William John LAMERTON
Service No: 407900
Born: College Park SA, 14 January 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 3 February 1941
Unit: No. 452 Squadron, Strauss Airfield NT
Died: Air Operations (No. 452 Squadron Spitfire aircraft A58-19), near Strauss, 30 June 1943, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Adelaide River War Cemetery, NT
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Mrs. W. B. Lamerton; husband of Mrs. R. H. Lamerton, of Glenelg, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Glenelg SA
Remembered: Panel 105, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide
Soon after the Spitfire attack (12 .13 pm) the enemy bombers turned towards Fenton which they pattern-bombed at 12 .31 pm. The anti-aircraft guns at Fenton opened fire on the enemy force which was flying at 20,000 feet but they did not hit any planes nor did they divert them from their bombing, which was accurate. The enemy bombing destroyed three Liberators of No. 380 Group on the ground, damaged another seven and caused damage to equipment and installations. Two men were slightly injured.
The Spitfires kept up the pursuit of the bomber force after it had dropped its bombs on Fenton and had turned about, making for the coast. Pilot Officer James Charles Wellsman (142859) (RAFVR) (No. 54 Squadron) was killed in the engagement. A total of 6 Spitfires were destroyed but destruction of 3 of these was due to engine failure. Enemy losses were 6 bombers and 2 fighters destroyed.
Extract from Odgers, G.J. (George James) (VX127783) Air War Against Japan 1943-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1957 – Page 62
The loss of six Spitfires on 30 June 1943 resulted in two casualties – Flying Officer Lamerton and Pilot Officer James Charles Wellsman (142859) (RAFVR).
On 30 June 1943, Spitfire BR241 was scrambled from Strauss Field as Red 4 detailed to intercept enemy aircraft. The formation climbed to about 16,000 feet and BR241 developed a glycol leak and the engine seized and failed. Flying Officer Lamerton called on the radio that he would attempt a forced landing at Strauss field. The aircraft badly overshot and touched down with his wheels at considerable speed, three quarters of the way up the strip. The aircraft bounced and kept floating across the end of the strip and eventually crashed in the cleared approach area and burst into flames. Flying Officer Lamerton was killed in the crash.
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
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/24/125
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Spitfire, Mustang and Kittyhawk in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1988