William Neill McMullan

Sergeant William Neill McMullan from Belfast, Co. Antrim died on 24th May 1943 when his Lancaster bomber crashed on a training exercise over Yorkshire.


William Neill McMullan


Sergeant William Neill McMullan flew with the Royal Air Force's No. 1654 Heavy Conversion Unit out of RAF Wigsley, Nottinghamshire in 1943.

Sergeant William Neill McMullan (1088074) served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War Two. He was the son of Frederick McMullan and Annie W McMullan of Belfast, Co. Antrim.

William died on 24th May 1943 aged 21 years old while serving with RAF No. 1654 Heavy Conversion Unit. He was a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner on board Avro Lancaster W4303 UG-D. The Mark I bomber took off from RAF Wigsley, Nottinghamshire at 2323hrs on 23rd May 1943. The flight was a night navigation exercise with a fighter affiliation exercise.

The exercise was the final part of the crew’s training and saw them simulate a bombing raid on the town of Hull. At around 0300hrs on 24th May 1943, the Lancaster was 10,000 feet above Hull, Yorkshire. Local defences lit up the skies with searchlights as part of the exercise. The bomber crew took evasive action, entering a diving turn during which the tail fins failed.

At 0308hrs on 24th May 1943, the plane broke up mid-air and crashed near the village of Humbleton, Yorkshire. All members of the crew died as a result of the crash.

Remembering the crew of Lancaster W4303

Last NameFirst Name(s)RankRoleInformation
BrydeGeoffrey Nigel JamesPilot OfficerPilotRAAF 414195. Killed aged 30 years old.
NelsonColin AlexanderSergeantFlight EngineerRAAF 5553. Killed aged 23 years old.
WalkerJohn AlbertPilot OfficerNavigatorRAFVR 145851. Distinguished Flying Medal. Killed aged 24 years old.
TurnerFulliott Victor PolhillFlying OfficerNavigatorRAFVR 130700. Killed aged 28 years old.
HarperJames Henry RoySergeantBomb AimerRAFVR 1393719. Killed aged 20 years old.
McMullanWilliam NeillSergeantWireless Operator / Air GunnerRAFVR 1088074. Killed aged 21 years old.
ParkerLancelot HerbertPilot OfficerAir GunnerRAFVR 132041. Killed aged 27 years old.
SmithDonald FredSergeantAir GunnerRAFVR 1272560. Killed aged 22 years old.

William Neill McMullan’s grave is in Glenalina Extension, Section G, Grave 120 of Belfast City Cemetery, Belfast, Co. Antrim. On 29th May 2016, a local group in Humbleton, Yorkshire unveiled a memorial to the crew at St. Peter’s Church.