Flight Lieutenant William LAING

Service No: 406568
Born: Cottesloe WA, 8 June 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 3 February 1941
Unit: No. 24 Squadron, Fenton NT
Died: Air Operations: (No. 24 Squadron Liberator aircraft A72-77), Netherlands East Indies, 6 April 1945, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William and Margaret Liddell Laing, of Mosman Park, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Mosman Park WA
Remembered: Panel 6, Northern Territory Memorial, Adelaide River NT
Remembered: Panel 102, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

During the second run over the target (Japanese cruiser Isuzu, near Koepang), the enemy fighters attacked again and Flight Lieutenant Ford’s aircraft was hit. A Japanese fighter also appeared to be hit. One of the Liberator’s motors caught fire and flames were coming from the nose wheel compartment. Flames were licking around the feet of Warrant Officer Vickers, the second pilot, when Ford gave the order to abandon the aircraft. The back hatch was jettisoned and five of the crew managed to jump as the aircraft was held on a level course by Ford. However, the Liberator then rolled over and, with Ford still at the controls, plunged into the sea, exploding on impact.

Extract from Odgers, G. (George) (VX127783) Air War Against Japan 1943-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1957 – Page 407

The crew members of A72-77 were:

Flight Lieutenant Lance Dixon Crowther (403560) (Navigator)
Warrant Officer Alan Noel John Collins (424373) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Ian Faichnie (431408) (Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Eric Valentine Ford MID (255138) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Bernard Thomas Jordan (407825) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant William Laing (406568) (Bombardier)
Flight Sergeant Leslie Raine (439612) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Walter William Trevor Sayer (30337) (Flight Engineer) Bailed out, Discharged from the RAAF: 9 November 1945
Warrant Officer Colin George Vickers (401867) (Second Pilot) Baled Out, Discharged from the RAAF: 18 October 1945
Flight Sergeant John Munro Waddell (443444) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Keith Jowett White (433632) (Air Gunner)

No. 24 Squadron lost Liberator aircraft A72-81 (Flight Lieutenant Sidney Leonard McDonald (411524) (Pilot)) in the same battle on 6 April 1945.

No. 112 Air Sea Rescue Flight lost Catalina A24-54 (Sergeant Arthur Edward Jones (34647)) on 6 April 1945.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 71


Gaston, Bruce DFC (406646), Harry Horner DFC OAM (406595), Raymond Storer (406666) (Editors), Aircrew for the Duration: of and by members of RAAF EATS Courses 10, 11, 12 & 13, Gaston Horner and Storer, Nedlands WA, 1990
Nelmes, M.V. (Michael) Tocumwal to Tarakan: Australians and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1994
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Boston, Mitchell and Liberator in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992

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