LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant James Henry WILLIAMS

Service No: 421459
Born: Leeton NSW, 24 January 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 1 February 1942
Unit: No. 206 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Leuchars
Died: Aircraft Accident: Coastal Command 1944-5 (No. 206 Squadron Liberator aircraft BE961), Fife, 14 September 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Leuchars Cemetery, Fifeshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Edward Norman and Catherine Helen Williams, of Brobenah, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Leeton NSW
Remembered: Panel 132, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: ANZAC Memorial Clock, Leeton NSW

At 1815 hours on 14 September 1944 Liberator BE961 crashed at Fife Redstone Quarry, Balmull Hill, Fife. The aircraft was travelling in transit from Tain to Leuchars having completed an operational sortie. All on board the aircraft were killed.

The crew members of BE961 were:

Flying Officer Reginald Alfred Alabaster (153209) (RAFVR) (Pilot, Supernumerary)
Flying Officer John William Bayard (J/24999) (RCAF) (Pilot)
Mr J Davidson (Civilian employee of the Air Ministry, Passenger)
Flying Officer Geoffrey James Dunn (151686) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Warrant Officer George John Forbes (414871) (RNZAF) (Wireless Operator Air)
Sergeant Hislop Nimmo (1820384) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Raymond Taylor (153174) (RAFVR) (Second Pilot)
Pilot Officer Walter Horace Thompson (177931) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air)
Flying Officer Roy Walker (156423) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air)
Warrant Officer Albert William Hood Watson (1109376) (RAFVR) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Edmund Harrison Wilkinson (1673529) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant James Henry Williams (421459) (Wireless Air Gunner)

In a report on the accident the Commanding Officer of the Squadron stated “this is a clear cut case of the Pilot coming too low in bad visibility in spite of the fact that he knew high ground was to the west of the aerodrome. The Pilot had been briefed to approach from the sea. Repeated efforts were made to contact by radio and radio/telegraph instructing him to approach from the west side of the airfield. The aircraft could not be contacted by radio telegraph. Radio messages were sent by Flying Control but the aircraft reported they were unreadable owing to heavy distortion in spite of a number of tuning transmissions.”

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, 166/43/851
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Bibliography:

Jay, Alwyn, Endurance; Coastal Command Liberator Operations 1941-5, Banner Books, Maryborough QLD, 4650, 1996