William, or Bill as he was known to his friends, was born in NSW.
He enlisted in Brisbane, and shortly after sailed to Eritrea, Africa. The photo is of a group of RAAF personal on their transport ship, with Bill on the far right.After pilot training, he spent two years on the Egyptian front, after which he was attached to 203 Wing where he was the first test pilot of a Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk.
He was posted from 452 Squadron RAAF. Bill achieved one tour of operations in Middle East serving with 450 Squadron RAAF from December 1941 to March 1942. Then he moved to 250 Squadron in Sudan in March to July 1942.
He was sent back to Australia in March 1944, and his second tour of operations with No 452 Squadron started in October 1944. There, he was made a Flight Commander after J.L. Strurm’s death between the 18th December 1944 and the 23rd July 1945 when he was replaced by J.G.B. Campbell. He then finished his tour with the Squadron in July 1945.
The photo, taken in November 1944, is of the 457 Squadron pilots. On the left wing: Left, John T “Dinga” Bell, Bob Bawden, Leslie Alan Leeming, Bill Cable. On thr right wing: John L. “Jack” Seelenmeyer, Albert L.”Smokey” Lumley, Kenneth B. May, Ronald M. Snowden. Sitting on the left wing: Douglas R. Beattie, Kevin M. “Kel” Barclay, John R. Sturm. Sitting on the right wing: “Swampy Marsh” and Peter Ward. Standing left to right: Bob Addison (IO) Norman L. Vidler, Eric McGeehan (Engineer Officer), Bill Stanton (Adjutant), Len Gillam (Def Off), Edward L. “Ted” Sly (B Flight), Lyndon S. “Lyn” Compton (A Flight), James H. “Jimmy” Greaves, David Warrell, William J. “Bill” Crystal, John F. Dale and Kenneth D. McLeod. Front Row: Bruce Miels, Keith L. Peacock, Thomas H. “Tom” Trimble (Ex CO), Clive R. Caldwell, Bruce D. Watson (CO), Wilfred G. “Wally” Dial and Frank L. Rouch.
Bill was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for having held off four Messerschmitt BF 109F fighter aircraft for twenty minutes, during which he was wounded in the arm and leg, resulting in three weeks hospitalisation in Cairo.
Bill was discharged on the 16th January 1946, having completed 154 operational sorties and a total of 1,007 flying hours.
The last photo is of a liesurely scene at Moratai with 457 Squadron pilots posing in front of their “Grey Nurse” Spitfire Mark V111. From left to right: Ted Sly, Bill’s closest friend, Squadron Leader Bruce Watson (CO of the unit) and Bill Cable. The dog was called Boomer. He was Bruce’s much loved mascot and was Lysle Robert’s old dog until he was adopted by Bruce.
The Spitfire Association