LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Arthur Jack WILLCOX

Service No: 424499
Born: Hay NSW, 11 May 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 12 September 1942
Unit: No. 111 Operational Training Unit (RAF), Nassau, Bahamas
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 111 Operational Training Unit Mitchell aircraft FR376), off the Bahamas, 22 December 1943, Aged 30 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles Arthur and Lucy Rosabel Willcox; husband of Thelma Florence Willcox, of Stanmore, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Ottawa Memorial, Ontario, Canada
Remembered: Panel 133, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Roll of Honour N.S.W. Police 1939-1945, Surry Hills NSW
Remembered: NSW Police Chapel War Memorial, Goulburn NSW
Remembered: ANZAC Memorial Clock, Leeton NSW

Mitchell FR376 took off from Oakes Field at 2000 hours on a non-operational flight on 22 December 1943 with a student crew to do a routine 2.5 hour navigational night exercise. A ground test of the radio before take off was the last contact with the aircraft which did not use radio after take-off, and it did not return to base. The wreck of the aircraft was subsequently discovered in 10 feet of water, seven miles east of Nassau, Bahamas, and about 6.5 miles from the airfield. The aircraft had completely disintegrated, and there was no trace of any survivors. There were strong tides running in the crash area. In 1949 it was recorded that the missing crew had lost their lives at sea. Their names are commemorated on the Ottawa Memorial, Canada.

The crew members of FR376 were:

Sergeant Charles Fairweather Craig (1266276) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Hibbert Douglas Frye (J/13257) (RCAF) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer John Charles McLean (J/28658) (RCAF) (Second Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Bernard Norman Peterson (421988) (RNZAF) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Sergeant William Swire (1337191) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Arthur Jack Willcox (424499) (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, 166/43/471
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line