William, or Bill as he was known to his friends, was born on the 14th January 1920 in College Park, South Australia, and he enlisted in the RAAF on the 3rd February 1941
As can be seen by the photos, Bill spent time with 452 Squadron in the Northern Territory. 452 Squadron had been recalled to Australia from England and had just become operational again on the 17th of January 1943. Re-equipped with Spitfires, it was based at Batchelor Airfield and there joined No.1 Wing RAAF, which defended Darwin from Japanese air raids. The Squadron was relocated to Strauss Airfield on the 1st of February and, with the exception of a brief period between 9th and 27th of March 1943 when it was deployed to RAAF Base Pearce to reinforce the air defences of Perth, it remained there (Strauss Airfield), protecting Darwin until the 30th of June 1944. In May 1944, it had become part of No.80 Wing RAAF.
Tragically, on the 30th June 1943, Bill was killed when he attempted to crash land his cripled Spitfire at Strauss Airfield. At the time, he was returning from a “scramble” to intercept an enemy raid of approximately 50 aircraft. The copy of the Memorandum to the right explains in detail how it happened.
The photos, all courtesey of the Australian War memorial: The first one is of of Bill climbing into his Spitfire. In the next one, he is having a serious game of poker with revolvers, taken in 1943. Left to right: Flying Officer J. Gould, Flying Officer K. Bassett, Flying Officer D. Downes, Flight Lieutenant E. Hall (standing), Flying Officer J. Young, Flying Offiocer R. Williams and Bill. Then he (right) is in Strauss Airfield in June 1943, just before his death, with Flying Officer Bertie Watkins. The final one is of him on the left, with (left to right) Flying Officer R. Williams, Sergeant F. Turnbull, Flying Officer J.D. Young and Flying Officer D. Downes.
William John Lamerton rests in the Adelaide River War Cemetery (see photo). Unfortunately, he has no inscription on his headstone; just his name, rank, serial number, date of death and age.
The Spitfire Association