WILLIAMS Arthur Henry 427164

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Arthur Henry WILLIAMS

Service No: 427164
Born: Pingelly WA, 6 March 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 May 1942
Unit: No. 51 Squadron (RAF), RAF Snaith, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 51 Squadron Halifax aircraft LM544), Germany, 31 March 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Hanover War Cemetery, Hannover, Niedersachsen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Jesse Matthias Williams and Margaret Rachel Williams, of Pingelly, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Kulyalling WA
Remembered: Panel 132, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Halifax LM544 took off from RAF Snaith at 2214 hours on the night of 30 March 1944, detailed to bomb Nuremburg, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. It was later established that the aircraft when outward bound at 19,000 feet was shot down by a night fighter and crashed at Wahlen, 4 kms south of Neustadt (Hessen). Five of the crew were killed and Sergeant Williams and Warrant Officer Gowlland became Prisoners of War.

The seven crew members of LM544 were:

Flying Officer Harold Bowling (151227) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Geoffrey Graham Brougham (421885) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer John Hollingsworth Gowlland (421204) (Air Bomber) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 22 October 1945
Flight Sergeant Lloyd Francis Peel (434198) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Kenneth McDonald Radley (418175) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Arthur Henry Williams (427164) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant H Williams (1516670) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW

Warrant Officer Gowlland later reported “after the aircraft was hit the Captain ordered ‘prepare to abandon aircraft’. I left my position in the nose with the intention of warning the wireless operator. The aircraft began spinning before I reached him and I was thrown out of the escape hatch left open by the Nav. The Engineer later said that the Pilot had ordered abandon aircraft but the developed spin was strong. When the Engineer examined the wrecked aircraft next morning, five bodies were with the wreckage although the Captain had been thrown clear but was dead. All five were buried nearby at a small village near Neustadt.”

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 Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/43/590