Joseph McWilliams

Aircraftman 1st Class Joseph McWilliams died on 7th October 1945 when a Stirling transport plane of R.A.F. 299 Squadron came down in France.

Aircraftman 1st Class

Joseph McWilliams

632181

Aircraftman 1st Class Joseph McWilliams served in the Royal Air Force and was a passenger on board a transport flight when it crashed in France en route back to the United Kingdom from Egypt.

Aircraftman 1st Class Joseph McWilliams (632181) served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. He was the son of Bernard McWilliams and Margaret McWilliams of Draperstown, Co. Londonderry.

He died on 7th October 1945 aged 27 years old on board Short Stirling LJ668 of R.A.F. 299 Squadron. All 26 crew members and passengers on board died in the crash. The transport plane had a crew of 6 and carried 8 other members of the Royal Air Force, 2 members of the Royal Navy, and 10 Army personnel. Among the dead were 3 married couples. The transport plane left Cairo, Egypt bound for the United Kingdom.

Crash landing in France

While running low on fuel, Pilot Flying Officer Charles Thomas Dillion decided to force an emergency landing on a poorly lit airfield near Rennes, France. Unable to make contact with ground control, the plane came down in bad weather conditions and visibility near the airfield. With the cloud base at around 200 feet, the Pilot could not see the lighting and overshot the runway.

He radioed at 0028hrs advising that there were only 10 minutes of fuel left in the tanks. The plane came down as it turned to port to circle and approach the runway again.

Remembering the Crew and Passengers

Last NameFirst Name(s)RankRoleInformation
CarusJohn Alexander LeoLieutenantPassengerRoyal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
DillonCharles ThomasFlying OfficerPilotRoyal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. RAF 299 Squadron.
GoldingHarry RonaldAircraftman 1st ClassPassengerRoyal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
GreenfieldMargeryCorporalPassengerNew Zealand Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.
GriffithsAlanWarrant OfficerBomb AimerRoyal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. RAF 299 Squadron.
InnesMarie Elsie IsabelSergeantPassengerNew Zealand Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.
JonesGeorge HowardLieutenant ColonelPassengerRoyal Engineers.
KeatesCecil TomCaptainPassengerPioneer Corps.
LastVictor GeraldWarrant OfficerAir GunnerRoyal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. RAF 299 Squadron.
LeeDonald WilliamFlight LieutenantNavigatorRoyal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. RAF 299 Squadron.
LloydJack EdwardLieutenantPassengerPioneer Corps.
MackenzieAlexander John SeversLieutenant ColonelPassengerRoyal Corps of Signals. Husband of Dorothy Mary Mackenzie.
MackenzieDorothy MaryC/OPassengerWomen's Royal Naval Service. Wife of Alexander John Severs Mackenzie.
MaltbyAgnes AitchisonLeading AircraftwomanPassengerWomen's Auxiliary Air Force. Wife of Edward Vernon Maltby.
MaltbyEdward VernonCorporalPassengerRoyal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. RAF 299 Squadron. Husband of Agnes Aitchison Maltby.
McWilliamsJosephAircraftman 1st ClassPassengerRoyal Air Force.
MortlockMargaret JeanPrivatePassengerNew Zealand Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.
NorthLeonard HaroldPrivatePassengerMiddlesex Regiment.
PetherEric AnthonyWarrant OfficerWireless Operator / Air GunnerRoyal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. RAF 299 Squadron.
SimcockJohn ErnestLeading AircraftmanPassengerRoyal Air Force.
TimmsHilda VictoriaSergeantPassengerWomen's Auxiliary Air Force. Wife of John Edward Timms.
TimmsJohn EdwardSergeantPassengerRoyal Air Force. Husband of Hilda Victoria Timms.
WarehamDonaldFlight SergeantFlight EngineerRoyal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. RAF 299 Squadron.
WilliamsSamuel Harry ArthurMajorPassengerRoyal Artillery.
WithersFrederick EdmundLieutenantPassengerPioneer Corps.
WordsworthSidney GeorgeLeading AircraftmanPassengerRoyal Air Force. RAF 299 Squadron.

Joseph McWilliams’ grave is in Section 18, Plot 1, Row R, Grave 27 of Rennes Eastern Communal Cemetery, Ille-et-Vilaine, France. His headstone bears the inscription:

Of your charity pray for the soul of Joseph, beloved son of B. and M. McWilliams. RIP.