Joseph McWilliams

Aircraftman 1st Class Joseph McWilliams served in the Royal Air Force. He died on 7th October 1945 when Short Stirling transport plane 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 World War Two. 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 RAF 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 Air Force, 2 members of the Navy, and 10 Army personnel. Among the dead were 3 married couples. The transport plane left from 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 the plane turned to port to circle and approach the runway again.

Remembering the crew and passengers

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

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.

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