Leading Aircraftman William Robert MORLEY

Service No: 437091
Born: Norwood SA, 29 July 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 29 October 1942
Unit: No. 4 Service Flying Training School, Geraldton WA
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 4 Service Flying Training School Anson aircraft W2072) Greenough WA, 1 November 1943, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Geraldton War Cemetery WA
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Leonidas Thomas Morley and May Morley, of Kensington, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Adelaide SA
Remembered: Panel 116, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

On 1 Nov. 1943, there was a fatal accident 3 miles north of GREENOUGH – Anson Aircraft W2072. Killed: Sergeant Wilson, (Pilot), Flight Sergeant Cross (Wireless Air Gunner), Leading Aircraftman Milstead and Leading Aircraftman Morley, (Trainees).

No. 4 Service Flying Training School (Advanced Training Squadron) Operations Record Book A50 Entry dated 30 November 1943

On 1 Nov. 1943 No. 417287 Sergeant WILSON R.J., was authorised by the Flight commander to give dual instruction in Anson aircraft W2072 on the correct procedure for bombing the camera obscura, to No. 437091 LAC. MORLEY W.R., and No. 436204 LAC. MILSTEAD E.J., with No. 415122 Flight Sergeant CROSS S.W., acting as Wireless Operator.

At 0808 hours approximately 38 minutes after take off the aircraft was seen by members of an Army Survey company to emerge from the cloud base, estimated at 1,000 feet, in a steep dive travelling in a north westerly direction. Eye witness accounts vary as to whether the aircraft then performed a turn to the right or to the left to avoid a low range of sand hills, but are unanimous that the aircraft had almost flattened out to the horizontal position when they observed the starboard wing disintegrate from near the starboard engine. The aircraft was then at an estimated altitude of approximately 50 feet above the ground and as the starboard wing came off the aircraft dropped immediately into a wheat field approximately three miles north of GREENOUGH. All four occupants of the aircraft were killed on impact, and wreckage of the aircraft, which was completely destroyed, was scattered over a wide area.

Extracts from Confirmatory Memorandum – Accident to Anson W2072 appended to No. 4 Service Flying Training School Operations Record Book A50 dated November 1943

The crew members of W2072 were:

Flight Sergeant Stanley William Cross (415122) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Leading Aircraftman Edward John Milstead (436204) (Trainee)
Leading Aircraftman William Robert Morley (437091) (Trainee)
Sergeant Robert John Wilson (417287) (Pilot)


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 A9845, 76


Brenkley, D. J. (Doug J.) RAAF Historical Record of No. 4 Service Flying Training School Geraldton WA, D. J. Brenkley, 2007
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992

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