Flight Sergeant James William WILLESDEN

Service No: 427052
Born: Geraldton WA, 28 August 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 26 April 1942
Unit: No. 11 Squadron, Cairns QLD
Died: Air Operations (No. 11 Squadron Catalina aircraft A24-49), New Guinea area, 28 April 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of James and Lillie Sarah Willesden, of Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 9, Northern Territory Memorial, Adelaide River NT
Remembered: Panel 100, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
Remembered: Catalina Base Memorial, Rathmines NSW

The Catalinas returned to Balikpapan on 24th and 27th April to lay more mines. Anti-aircraft fire over the harbour was slight and nearly all mines were laid in the intended positions. They also mined Sorong on 25th April and Kaimana on 27th April. One Catalina captained by Pilot Officer Rose was sent to mine Manokwari on 28th April. It did not return and no further word was heard of it. The Catalinas succeeded in disrupting Japanese shipping at Balikpapan. The harbour was closed from 20th to 29th April, and a delayed-action mine sank the destroyer Amagiri on 23rd April.

Extract from Odgers, G. (George) Air War Against Japan 1943-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1957 – Page 219

The crew members of A24-49 were:

Sergeant Phillip Charles Carter (34396) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Herbert John Alexander Coates (35037) (Fitter II Airframe)
Flight Sergeant Alexander John Hine (415327) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Allan Roger Meakin (418142) (Second Pilot)
Pilot Officer Joseph Bass Miller (406811) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Warwick Neville Rose (400939) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Lenard William Stringer (419679) (Navigator)
Sergeant Alfred Harvey Brooks Wadham (28840) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant George Wise Whitley (41312) (Armourer / Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant James William Willesden (427052) (Wireless Air Gunner)


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, 146
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line


McFarlane, C.C. (Cyrus C.) Tojo’s Fate: Australia’s secret war, Sid Harta Publishers Glen Waverley VIC 3150, 2009
McMillan A. (Andrew) Catalina Dreaming: rescues exciting missions and other stories about the famous Australian flying boats of WWII, Duffy and Snellgrove Potts Point NSW, 2002
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Catalina, Neptune and Orion in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1991

Book Now Book Now