Flight Sergeant William Victor MANUEL

Service No: 401986
Born: Kerang VIC, 28 January 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 26 April 1941
Unit: No. 1661 Conversion Unit (RAF), RAF Station Winthorpe
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 1661 Conversion Unit Stirling aircraft EF127), Sherwood Forest, 26 February 1944, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, Oxfordshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Kenneth Herbert George and Minnie Ann Manuel, of Kerang, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Kerang VIC
Remembered: Panel 126, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

While in transit to the UK, Flight Sergeant Manuel, together with Flight Sergeant Cecil Gordon Eckersley (416210), Warrant Officer Brian William Gorman (409108) and Flight Lieutenant John Blight Suttor DFC (411969) (Discharged: 30 November 1945), were in the troop ship Oronsay that was torpedoed off the African Coast on 9 October 1942. They were rescued and interned by Vichy French authorities in Dakar and then freed on 15 December 1942.

At 1830 hours on the night of 25 February 1944, Stirling EF127 took off from Winthorpe for a night cross-country training. It appeared likely that the aircraft ran short of petrol as shortly before the crash at 0130 hours, a “Mayday” call was picked up, but despite a clear broadcast response no acknowledgement was received. Later the aircraft was found crashed near the village of Edwinsowe at the northern edge of the Sherwood Forest. Five of the crew members were killed and two were injured.

The crew members of EF127 were:

Flight Sergeant Campbell David Bird (418048) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Sidney Edward Christie (423650) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant George Davison (1677871) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant George Macoun (426127) (Air Bomber)
Flight Sergeant William Victor Manuel (401986) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Reginald John Plath (429481) (Air Gunner) Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 31 January 1946
Flight Sergeant William Irving Taylor (434558) (Gunner) Injured, Killed on Air Operations: 23 May 1944


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, 163/142/521


Winter, V.A. (Vincent Adams) (408547) Noble Six Hundred: the story of the Empire Air Training Scheme with special reference to Australians who trained in Southern Rhodesia, V.A. Winter Brighton VIC 3186, 1982

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