Sergeant Samuel James Wilson (1026302) served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War Two. He was the youngest son of Albert Wilson and Mamie Wilson of Shillington Street, Portadown, Co. Armagh.
Before the outbreak of World War Two, Samuel received his education at Portadown Technical School. He was a member of the Boys’ Brigade at St. Mark’s Church and a keen musician. He was a member of Parkmount Band conducted by his father Albert Wilson. He also played in the Night Lights Dance Band conducted by his older brother. Before and after enlisting in the Royal Air Force, he took part in shows to entertain troops.
Death in Snowdonia
Samuel died on 19th July 1942 aged 22 years old. He was a Wireless Air Gunner on board Vickers Wellington DV800 of RAF No. 27 Operational Training Unit when it came down in Snowdonia, Wales.
The crew took off on 19th July 1942 from RAF Lichfield, Staffordshire on a cross-country training flight. While flying over North Wales, the plane strayed about 10 miles off course above the cloud base at 2,000 feet. At around 1230hrs, the pilot came down through the cloud cover to ascertain their position. The plane crashed in the Black Ladders area, between Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewelyn, Snowdonia, Wales. There were no survivors.
Remembering the crew of Wellington DV800
|Last Name||First Name(s)||Rank||Role||Information|
|Longbottom||Eric Harvey||Sergeant||Pilot||RAAF 416004. Killed aged 25 years old.|
|Traylen||Lionel Denis||Sergeant||Observer||RAFVR 1378536. Killed aged 34 years old.|
|Bowen||Richard Ivor||Sergeant||Observer||RAFVR 1265010. Killed aged 21 years old.|
|Wilson||Samuel James||Sergeant||Wireless Air Gunner||RAFVR 1026302. Killed aged 22 years old.|
|Bannister||Rupert Theodore||Sergeant||Air Gunner||RAAF 411475. Killed aged 30 years old.|
An inquest found no primary cause could be identified as the accident occurred away from the aerodrome. The secondary cause was a navigational error between Holyhead and Rhyl. In addition, the crew should have been above 7,000 feet but descended to locate their position as their wireless was out of service. The last message transmitted at 1206hrs. Rescuers from RAF Llandwrog located the crash site 10 days after the incident.
Samuel James Wilson’s grave is in Section A, Plot 4, Grave 26 of Seagoe Cemetery, Portadown, Co. Armagh. A funeral service took place on 3rd August 1942 at St. Mark’s Church, Portadown, CO. Armagh conducted by Reverend JF McAlister and Reverend FW Gowing. The Royal Irish Fusiliers provided a firing party and a bugler who sounded The Last Post and Reveille. Pallbearers were 6 sergeants from the Royal Air Force.