LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant William Thomas BARNES

Service No: 30581
Born: Kingscote SA, 9 August 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 29 august 1940 (at Hobart TAS)
Unit: No. 27 Operational Training Unit (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 27 Operational Training Unit Wellington aircraft BJ652), Derbyshire, 21 January 1944, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Chester (Blacon) Cemetery, Cheshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Francis James Barnes and Queenie Kate Barnes
Roll of Honour: Launceston TAS
Remembered: Panel 118, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the 21st January 1944, Wellington BJ652 took off from RAF Church Broughton at 2017 hours for a night cross-country training flight. At 2130 hours on the advice of the Met Office at No 93 Group, Lichfield broadcast a general message advising all aircraft to land by 2330 hours. This was not acknowledged by BJ652, which nine minutes later transmitted a wireless signal advising its position as Gainsborough. Subsequently, the aircraft heading south, crashed at 2210 cutting a swathe through trees before impacting onto a limestone outcrop, just below 700 feet above sea level, near the Derbyshire village of Middleton-by-Youlgrave. All the crew members were killed.

The crew members of BJ652 were:

Flight Sergeant William Thomas Barnes (30581) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Frederick Popham Deshon (426555) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Lloyd George Edmonds (416941) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant James Kydd (426621) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Thomas Dudley Murton (430628) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flying Officer Keith Jobson Perrett (434608) (Air Gunner)

A Court of Inquiry into the accident stated: “The aircraft took off on a six hour cross country exercise at 2017 hours. Initially the aircraft had radio trouble which was not remedied until 1945 hours when he was told to stand by, as Control had been advised by Met that a cold front would affect the northern part of the route. The route was altered slightly eliminating the leg to Peebles and making the spot northern turning point Down Pecklington. After the aircraft had taken off, the Group Met advised Lichfield to recall the aircraft by 2330 hours and Lichfield sent out a recall on the 2130 broadcast and advised Group Met later that it had been acknowledged. At 2330 hours Lichfield advised that the recall had not been acknowledged by BJ 642. No more was heard from BJ 642 until it was reported that it had crashed at 2210 hours 10 miles north of Ashbourne airfield, Derbyshire.”

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, 166/5/425

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