LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer William Austin THORNTON

Service No: 400161
Born: Warracknabeal VIC, 28 May 1912
Enlisted in the RAAF: 23 June 1940
Unit: No. 86 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 86 Squadron Beaufort aircraft W6474), Atlantic Ocean, 18 March 1942, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederick William and Annie Thornton
Roll of Honour: Apollo Bay VIC
Remembered: Panel 111, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 131, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 18 March 1942 Beaufort W6474 was reported missing in transit from RAF Station Portreath to Gibraltar during the period when No. 86 Squadron’s crews and aircraft were being transferred to the Mediterranean Theatre. Following post war enquiries and investigations, it was recorded in 1948 that the crew members had lost their lives at sea.

The crew members of W6474 were:

Sergeant Cyril Norman Byron Bohling (1161242) (RAFVR) (Wireless/Air Gunner)
Sergeant Andrew Lawrence Brigstocke (977612) (RAFVR) (Wireless/Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Ernest Peter Brinkworth (J/3276) (RCAF) (Navigator/Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer William Austin Thornton (400161) (Pilot)

References:

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, 163/58/65