Sergeant William John Morrison (1542075) served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War Two. Born on 8th January 1923, he was the youngest son of David Morrison and Matilda Morrison (née Cathcart) of 53 Southwell Road, Bangor, Co. Down.
As a child, Billy attended Woodvale Public Elementary School, Belfast, Co. Antrim, and Ballymullan Public Elementary School, Bangor, Co. Down. After full-time education, he worked at the Bangor Shipyard and later at Harland and Wolff Shipyard, Belfast, Co. Down.
Sergeant Morrison received his call up in February 1942 aged 19 years old. His older brother, Flight Sergeant David C Morrison also served overseas with the Royal Air Force. Billy died on 12th April 1944 on board Handley-Page Halifax BB310 of No. 1647 Heavy Conversion Unit. He was 21 years old.
Crash of Halifax BB310
The Halifax took off with a crew of 9 men at 1705hrs on 11th April 1944 from Longtown Airfield near Carlisle. The flight was a non-operational cross-country training flight for Coastal Command practice. The bomber came down on Little Dun Fell, Northern Pennines, Cumbria.
Early in the morning of 12th April 1944, the crew was on the return leg of their flight. In low cloud, the plane overshot the runway and struck high ground north of Appleby, Cumbria at 0137hrs. All those on board died in the incident.
Remembering the Crew
|Last Name||First Name(s)||Rank||Role||Information|
|Brookes||Sydney||Flying Officer||Second Pilot||RAFVR 156625. Aged 31 years old.|
|Dunningham||Hugh||Sergeant||Wireless Operator / Air Gunner||RAFVR 1385253. Aged 22 years old.|
|Johnson||William Alan||Flight Sergeant||Instructor||RAFVR 1107720. DFM. Aged 23 years old.|
|Littlefield||Robert James||Sergeant||Flight Engineer||RAFVR 1853196. Aged 20 years old.|
|Morrison||William John||Sergeant||Navigator||RAFVR 1542075. Aged 21 years old.|
|Pess||Frank||Flight Sergeant||Wireless Operator / Air Gunner||RCAF R/171924. Aged 28 years old.|
|Seabrook||Harold Stanley||Flight Sergeant||Wireless Operator / Air Gunner||RCAF R/168412. Aged 20 years old.|
|Stevens||Paul Bevens||Flying Officer||Pilot||RCAF J/24458. Aged 25 years old.|
|Swedberg||Dean Walter||Sergeant||Wireless Operator / Air Gunner||RCAF R/177995. Aged 21 years old.|
William John Morrison’s grave is in Section 4U, Grave 24 of Bangor New Cemetery, Bangor, Co. Down. Reverend WAA Park of Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church, Co. Down conducted the service attended by members of the Royal Air Force and Bangor Air Training Corps. Colleagues from the RAF acted as pall bearers and a RAF standard draped the airman’s coffin.
Graham Doyle, a relation of Flying Officer Sydney Brookes erected a memorial at the crash site on 1st May 1994.