Sergeant Ralph Ernest WATERS

Service No: 408165
Born: Armadale VIC, 26 April 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 January 1941 (at Hobart TAS)
Unit: No. 452 Squadron
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 452 Squadron Spitfire aircraft BL384), Irish Sea, 10 April 1942, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Ernest Charles and Ethel Caroline Waters, of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. A.I.C.A.
Roll of Honour: Hobart TAS
Remembered: Panel 113, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 105, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

During a non-operational flight on 10April 1942, Spitfire BL384 flown by Sergeant Waters crashed at sea and he was reported missing. A Court of Enquiry into the accident found that: “the aircraft which was detailed to take part in a Squadron formation exercise led by Squadron Leader Raymond Ernest Thorold-Smith DFC (402144) (Killed on Air Operations: 15 March 1943). The exercise was carried until 2015 hours when the break signal was given. BL384 was not seen again after the break signal, although an oil patch was later seen on the water. It was considered that Sergeant Waters had either lost consciousness during the manoeuvre or otherwise lost control and was trapped in the aircraft when it crashed into the sea about eight miles south west of St Bee’s Head. The formation had climbed to 10,000 feet and carried out the exercise between the Isle of Man and St Bee’s Head. The weather was perfect with no cloud. When the signal to break was given the formation noticed that BL384 was missing, and the Squadron returned to base expecting that BL384 had already landed. Aircraft searches were conducted together with sea rescue boats from Ramsey, but no trace of Sergeant Waters was seen.


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, 163/176/251

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