LEST WE FORGET
Flight Sergeant William Alexander ROACH
Service No: 415828
Born: South Fremantle WA, 12 December 1914
Enlisted in the RAAF: 1 February 1942
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Langham, Norfolk
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 455 Squadron Beaufighter aircraft NE200), North Sea, 8 June 1944, Aged 29 Years
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William Henry and May Barrie Roach; husband of Mignon Elizabeth Roach, of South Perth, Western Australia. State Cricketer.
Roll of Honour: Fremantle WA
Remembered: Panel 102, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
Beaufighter NE200 took off from RAF Langham at 1310 hours on 8 June 1944 to carry out a ship reconnaissance off the Dutch coast north of Terschelling eastwards to Heligoland. It accompanied Aircraft ‘L’ on the mission.
After take off NE200 flew on the port side of ‘L’. At 1357 in the vicinity of the Frisian Islands, ‘L’ received a VHF message from ‘A’ “engine trouble Smithy”. Flying Officer Neil Reginald Smith (409954) in ‘L’ called up to ask how serious the trouble was but received no reply. At 1400 hours NE 200 was seen to make a diving turn into the sea from a height of 50 feet. The aircraft sank immediately. ‘L’ circled the spot for 10 minutes but no survivors were seen.
No trace of the missing aircraft or crew – Flight Sergeant William Alexander Roach (415828) (Navigator Wireless Operator) and Flying Officer Frederick Owen Williams (422749) (Pilot) – was found.
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 Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/36/287
Gordon, I. (Ian) Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron 1944-5, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1995
Lawson, John Horwood Wightman (251634) The Story of No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Wilke and Company, Melbourne VIC, 1951
Millett, J. (John Antill) (432401) Iceman: Poems WWII, Five Islands Press Associates Wollongong University NSW 2500, 1999