Sergeant William Harold McDONALD

Service No: 418760
Born: St Arnaud VIC, 26 September 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 June 1942
Unit: No. 29 Operational Training Unit (RAF), RAF Station Bruntingthorpe
Died: Air Operations (No. 29 Operational Training Unit Wellington aircraft BJ967), off the English Coast, 30 August 1943, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Jonathan and Annie May McDonald, of St. Arnaud, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: St Arnaud VIC
Remembered: Panel 196, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 126, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 30 August 1943 Wellington BJ 967 took off from Bruntingthorpe to bomb an ammunition dump near St Omer, France. The aircraft crashed off the English Coast. The crash position was in the sea off Newhaven. Naval vessels recovered one body that was buried at sea. The remaining four missing crew members lost their lives at sea.

The crew members of BJ967 were:

Sergeant William Harold McDonald (418760) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Albert Joseph Oakes (1040150) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Albert William Raggett (1391333) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant John Scott (1550748) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Alexander Denholm Trotter (1546300) (RAFVR) (Navigator) Remains recovered
Sergeant A T Wilder (1338963) (RAFVR) (Pilot) Injured, rescued

Sergeant Wilder reported “the starboard engine caught fire when the aircraft was returning from the target. The fire was extinguished by Graviner. I feathered the prop and headed for home. The aircraft lost height and I had no time to order the crew to ditching stations. The aircraft crashed into the water on the second touch down and crash landed in the water, the starboard wing striking a wave. The aircraft broke up and sank immediately.” The pilot found himself in the water near the dinghy. He climbed in and was later rescued by a Walrus. He believed all the other crew lost their lives at sea.


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, 166/26/226

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