William James FRENCH


FRENCH, William James

Service Number: 10429
Enlisted: 31 May 1940
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: No. 11 Squadron (RAAF)
Born: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 27 November 1910
Home Town: Brunswick, Moreland, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Accidental (Aircraft accident), Cleveland Bay, Townsville, Queensland, Australia, 27 February 1942, aged 31 years
Cemetery: Townsville War Cemetery, Queensland, Australia
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Corporal, SN 10429
31 May 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), RAAF Ground Training Units
31 May 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Corporal, SN 10429, No. 11 Squadron (RAAF)
31 May 1940: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Corporal, SN 10429, No. 11 Squadron (RAAF)
27 Feb 1942: Involvement Corporal, No. 11 Squadron (RAAF)
Date unknown: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Corporal, SN 10429, No. 11 Squadron (RAAF)

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Biography contributed by David Barlow

Flying Boat A18-12 of 33 Squadron RAAF was extensively damaged in a landing accident in Cleveland Bay near Townsville on Friday 27 February 1942 opposite the Queens Hotel.  Killed in the incident were:

Pilot Officer Harold John Wagner 4215 - Son of John Henry and Catherine Wagner & Husband of Vivien Beatrice Aileen Wagner of Kingaroy, Queensland

Pilot Officer Peter Satterswaite Devonshire 407942 - Son of Lieutenant-Colonel Guy Satterswaite Devonshire and Doris Devonshire of Unley, SA

Corporal William James French 10429 - Son of William James French and Mary Jane French & Husband of Doris Ethel French of Ulverstone, Tasmania

LAC Maurice Clayton 15065 - Son of Stanley and Florence Anne Clayton of East Katoomba, NSW

Flying Officer Robert John Love 400004 - Husband of Patricia Christine Love of Potts Point, NSW

Corporal Ronald Short 15928 - Son of James and Frederica Alice Short of Pennant Hills, NSW (died 3/3)

Sergeant John Gordon Nicholson 17708 - Son of Joseph and Maud Augusta Nicholson of Fremantle, WA (body not recovered, he is memorialised on the Panel 6 of the Sydney Memorial

Corporal Ray Silvester Diggles of the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) 93900 - Daughter of George Silvester Diggles and Ida May Diggles of East Brisbane, Queensland (body not recovered, she is memorialised on the Panel 7 of the Sydney Memorial

Also on board at the time of the crash were:

Flight Sergeant Kenneth Macleay Poulton 34542 - discharged 24MAR1944

Flight Lieutenant Alan Filmer 274159 - discharged 30NOV1945

Flying Officer Leonard Charles Laurence 264288 - discharged 22DEC1943


(Short S23 C-Class S.849, Empire Flying Boat, RAAF aircraft A18-12 - G-AEUG "Coogee" was registered as VH-ABC on 26 September 1938. It was impressed to RAAF service from QANTAS on 28 August 1940. This was one of four Empire flying boats impressed into RAAF service)