William, who was probably known as Jack, was born in Ballarat, Victoria on the 1st June 1919, and enlisted in the RAAF in Melbourne on the 2nd February 1942.
Unfortunately, we don’t know much about Jack, except that he was posted from 152 Squadron (Spitfires) and joined 457 Squadron (Spitfires) RAAF.
The photo is of some of the aircrew in 457 Squadron, including Jack, was taken at Livingstone near Darwin in October 1943.
Back row: Flying Officer Brian F. Hegarty, Flight Sergeant R.J.K. “Jim” Thompson, Warrant Officer C.R. “Roy” Briggs, Flying Officer Jack Halse, Pilot Officer Allan C. Beckwith, Flying Officer S.W. “Bill” Reilly, Flying Officer Ian Chandler.
Second back row: Flying Officer Ian S. Mackenzie, Flying Officer H. Ken Barker, Pilot Officer W.J. “Bill” Basey, Flying Officer South Creagh, Flying Officer Larry Alderson (Defence Officer), Flight Sergeant T.F.R. “Frank” Payne, Flying Officer Neil C. Ligertwood, Squadron Leader “Pat” Egan (Dental Officer), Flying Officer L.G. “Lock” Munro, Warrant Officer C.V. “Vin” Madigan, Flying Officer P.E. “Phil” Goldin (Intelligence Officer)
Second front row: Flight Lieutenant D.R. “Doug” Edwards, Flight Lieutenant Wally Aldford (Adjutant), Flight Lieutenant Peter H. Watson DFC (OC A Flight), Squadron Leader K.E. “Ken” James (Commanding Officer), Flight Lieutenant D.H. “Don” Maclean (OC B Flight), Squadron Leader D.L. “Des” Peate (Medical Officer), Flight Lieutenant John S. Newton.
Front Row: Sergeant Trevor R. Russell, Pilot Officer F. “Freddie” Feuerhardt, Flight Sergeant W.S. “Bill” Hardwick, Spitty, Pilot Officer A. Evan Batchelor, Sergeant G. “Mac” Jude, Flight Sergeant Harry Whiting.
Jack was probably with the Squadron when it had withdrew from operations in Britain on the 28th May 1942. It sailed for home on the 21st June, arrived in Melbourne on the 13th August, and re-assembled at Richmond on the 6th September. The Squadron then began refresher training at Richmond with a motley collection of aircraft, its Spitfires having being commandeered in transit by the Royal Air Force in the Middle East. It returned to front-line service on the 31st January 1943. Re-equipped with Spitfires, it was based at Batchelor in the Northern Territory and joined 1 Fighter Wing, defending Darwin. The squadron then relocated to Livingstone (where the photo was taken) where it remained until it transferred to the newly-formed 80 Wing and moved to Sattler on 13 May 1944. During the squadron’s time as part of Darwin’s air garrison, it detached aircraft on several occasions to Milingimbi, Drysdale, Perth and Exmouth. While at Livingstone, the squadron was re-equipped with an updated version of the Spitfire, imported from Britain, which arrived in a grey and green camouflage scheme. This led to the squadron nicknaming itself the “Grey Nurse Squadron” and adorning its aircraft with a distinctive shark’s mouth on the nose.
Jack was discharged on the 28th February 1946 from No.1 Aircraft Depot.
The Spitfire Association