LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant William Morrison McQUITTY

Service No: 408014
Born: Hobart TAS, 20 December 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 May 1940
Unit: No. 78 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Middleton St George
Died: Air Operations (No. 78 Squadron Whitley aircraft T4209), North Sea, 9 July 1941, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of James M. and Kathleen Marie Proctor McQuitty, of South Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Scoutmaster
Roll of Honour: Hobart TAS
Remembered: Panel 62, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 126, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Brother of Flight Sergeant Robert John McQuitty (408338)

Whitley T4209 took off from Middleton St George, County Durham at 2300 hours on 8 July 1941 to attack Hamm, Germany. On return, the aircraft ditched in the North Sea with four crew members killed and one member reaching safety.

The crew members of T4209 were:

Sergeant David John Clow (970463) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant William Forster (982883) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant J P Hafferden (RAF) (Observer) Safe
Sergeant William Morrison McQuitty (408104) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Edward Alan Scott (87404) (RAFVR) (Pilot)

In statement Sergeant Hafferden reported: “When over the target, heavy flak broke the nose perspex, and later flak fire put the starboard engine out of action. The aircraft set course for base with the pitot head shot away. Immediately after crossing the coast at Texel, T4209 was attacked by two ME 110s at 0300 hours on 9 July. After being followed for 5 minutes the Air Gunner put in a long burst into an enemy aircraft and it went into a steep dive. Sometime later the aircraft lost height to 400 feet, and with the other engine cut out due to overheating, the aircraft crashed into the sea at 0429 hours. The crew got into the dinghy which was inflated, but it immediately became water logged.”

Sergeant Hafferden swam ashore to the English coast some 8 to 9 miles away, walked two miles to the Coast Guard station to raise the alarm, and was taken to Bircham Newton. Subsequent searches failed to reveal any trace of the other missing crew members other than that of Sergeant Foster whose body was washed ashore on 9 July. On 20 July the body of Pilot Officer Scott was found and was interred in England. It was later recorded that the remaining missing crew members had lost their lives at sea.

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, 163/141/293

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