Flight Lieutenant William Thomas Irwin (127920) served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War. Born on 1st September 1921, he was the son of George Irwin and Lucinda Anne Irwin (née Brandon) of Kathleen Place, Craigavad, Co. Down.
In civilian life, William attended Glencraig Public Elementary School, Holywood, Co. Down and Sullivan Upper School, Holywood, Co. Down. He studied at the latter grammar school between 1934 and 1937 before gaining employment at the Short and Harland Aircraft Factory in Belfast.
At 2332hrs on 12th June 1943, William was on Handley Page Halifax DT513 when it took off from R.A.F. Snaith, Yorkshire, England on a bombing run over Bochum, Germany. At 0136hrs the plane sustained flak damage to the port wing and starboard side of the fuselage. The crew returned safely to their home airfield at 0442hrs on 13th June 1943.
Flight Lieutenant Irwin died on 3rd October 1942 aged 22 years old while serving in R.A.F. 51 Squadron. He was the pilot of Handley Page Halifax II HR728 when it took off at 1810hrs from R.A.F. Snaith, Yorkshire, England. The mission was a bombing raid on Kassel, Germany. The plane came down near the town of Petershagen with the loss of all crew members.
Flight Lieutenant Irwin’s grave is in Section 3, Row K, Grave 9 of Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany. His name is on the Holywood War Memorial, Holywood, Co. Down, the war memorial of Glencraig Parish Church, Holywood, Co. Down, and the roll of honour at Sullivan Upper School, Holywood, Co. Down. His headstone in Germany bears the inscription:
Darling son of George and Lucinsa Irwin, Kathleen Place, Craigavad, Belfast, N.I.
Flight Lieutenant William Thomas Irwin was the brother of Sergeant John Cecil Brandon Irwin.