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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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Bomber Command Crest
26.01.1944 227 Squadron Beaufighter TF.X JL708 Fg Off. Alexander H. Will

Operation: Shipping

Date: 26th January 1944 (Friday)

Unit No: 227 Squadron

Type: Beaufighter TF.X

Serial: JL708

Code: 9J:E

Base: Berka III, Benghazi, Libya

Location: Off Limeni, Greece

Pilot: Fg Off. Alexander Harold Will 420093 RAAF Age 20. Killed

Nav: Fg Off. Brian Findley 136376 RAFVR Age 20. Killed


Taking off from Berka at 08:48 hrs with three others. At 11:17 hrs. a caique was spotted anchored at the small bay of Limeni. During the attack Beaufighter JL708 failed to pull out of a dive, killing both the crew members.

Fg Off. Alexander Harold Will from his service file

The actual reason for the loss of the aircraft is unknown but the assumption was that either the pilot or the aircraft controls may have been hit by flak. The Beaufighter crashed at around 12:00 hrs into the sea off Limeni, Greece. Other aircraft searched for the crew but discovered only wreckage.

The remaining three continued with their operation to Kalamata. The aircraft involved in the attack:

JL910 9J:S Flown by Wg Cdr. John Buchanan with WO. Reg Howes.
EL467 9J:Y Flown by Flt Lt. John Bliss with Fg Off. Norman Rigby.
EL409 J9:K Flown by Sgt. Sidney Appleton with Sgt. Jack Fenton.

Burial details:

Both airmen were originally buried in the Limenion Civil Cemetery and reinterred on the 27th April 1945.

Graves of the crew - any relative who would like a high resolution copy of the grave are invited to contact us (courtesy Antonelos CH. Athanasios)

Fg Off. Alexander Harold Will. Phaleron War Cemetery. Grave 7.C.19. Grave inscription: "HIS DUTY FEARLESSLY AND NOBLY DONE EVER REMEMBERED". Born on the 20th July 1923 in Waverley, New South Wales. Son of Mathew Glory Will and Gladys M. Will of Lagoon Flats, Burragorand, New South Wales, Australia. Husband of Alice Will, of 7 Mornington Crescent, Cranford, Hounslow, Middlesex, Middlesex, England. (Later at 98 Scotts Road, Southall, Middlesex, England).

Fg Off. Brian Findley. Phaleron War Cemetery. Grave 4.C.10. Grave inscription: "SAFE IN GOD’S KEEPING". Son of Horace Isdale Findley and Miriam Nancy Findley, of Stockton Heath, Warrington, Lancashire.

His brother Roy Charles Samuel 1451563 RAFVR also killed on service on the 17th April 1943. Age 22. Buried at Stockton Heath (St. Thomas) Churchyard, Cheshire, England. Row 8, Grave 43. Piloting a Whitley V LA768 From 81 OTU on a night cross country training exercise - taking off at 21:36 hrs from RAF Whitchurch Heath. Crashed at 23:31 hrs at Aylesbeare some 6 miles ESE of Exeter, England. 2 Crew killed, 3 injured

'Combat Over the Mediterranean'. Author Chris Goss ISBN-13: 978-1473889439 223 pages published in English 2017.cResearched by Antonelos CH. Athanasios with information gained from Christ Goss and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. Updated by Kelvin Youngs - Webmaster (Nov 2017). Further updates by Aircrew Remembered (May 2022).

Other sources listed below:

RS 03.05.2022 - Update to narrative and information

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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