LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant William James Thomas WATSON

Service No: 401179
Born: Spotswood VIC, 22 October 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 4 January 1941
Unit: No. 200 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Takoradi, Ghana
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 200 Squadron Hudson aircraft FK578), Ghana, 7 January 1943, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Takoradi European Public Cemetery, Ghana
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William and Elizabeth Watson, of Malvern, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Spotswood VIC
Remembered: Panel 132, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 7 January 1943 Hudson FK578 took off from Takoradi but soon after the aircraft became airborne it struck rising ground and crashed, and fire completely destroyed the aircraft. Three of the crew were killed in the crash and Sergeant Guy later died of his injuries.

The crew members of FK578 were:

Sergeant David Taylor Adams (1067899) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Frank Edward Guy (405407) (Wireless Air Gunner) Fatally injured, Died 7 January 1943
Sergeant Reginald Charles Payne (408135) (Pilot)
Sergeant William James Thomas Watson (401179) (Navigator)

In a later enquiry into the accident it was considered that the cause of the crash was ‘during a dark take off the pilot failed to maintain a safe rate of climb after becoming airborne and flew into rising ground approximately 400 yards south of the runway.’ The Station Commander stated. The failure to maintain a safe rate of climb was probably due to pilot lag in changing over from visual to instruments when airborne.

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, 166/43/14