Posted by he ACA Webmaster on behalf of Christopher Young, son of Sqn Ldr Young.

William Young joined the RAF on 13th. August 1940.

After his initial training at Aberystwyth and Reading, he was sent to Kingston, Ontario with 31 Squadron and trained on Fairey Battles. He returned to England in 1941 still flying the FBs and then converted to Wellingtons having been transferred to Bomber Comand at Feltwell, Norfolk. He was to supplement 75 squadron (New Zealand), to make up aircrew numbers with RAF personnel.

In the latter part of 1941 his squadron was dispatched to India, via Egypt still with Wellingtons, that apparently were not well suited to tropical climates. He told me that on one occasion his and one other aircraft were the only ones serviceable out of 20 aircraft, and that some senior ranking officer had tasked them with a bombing run on a large Japanese flotilla. There was no fighter support and it was known that there were two Japanese carriers in the flotilla. He had much trepidation about the whole venture, but orders were orders. Fortunately, the run was cancelled just before he took off. The other pilot in the second aircraft admitted to him later that his crew had agreed amongst themselves that they were going to find a fault with one of the engines after take off.

Later he was transferred back to 31 Squadron again which by this time was a transport squadron with DC3s and he found himself dropping supplies to the troops over Burma. He was shot down twice. The first he walked away from. The second he was not so lucky and half of his crew were killed. He carried the guilt of not being able to save them all with him to the end of his life. He did manage to carry his wounded navigator back through the jungle to get behind our troops lines. That man, a New Zealander called Ron Evans kept in close contact with my father for all of his life. Ron's wife gave William a New Zealand Tiki, a Maori good luck charm to ward off evil spirits, which he wore around his neck whenever he went flying. Even as an air passenger in later life it never left his side.

After the second crash William had collected a shrapnel wound in his shoulder and so was repatriated back to England. He finished the war with 353 and 24 squadrons on transport command and VIP ferrying. At the end of the War he was demobed and joined BEA.

He was made redundant in 1948 and then went out to South Africa and flew various Aircraft for South African Airlines. Later in 1948 William joined Trans-World Charter as a Captain and flew the Berlin Airlift until it ceased. He told me in those days you didn't need too much knowledge of a particular aircraft, the instruction book would be in the cockpit. Take ten minutes to read the book then go, was the order of the day.

In January 1949 he rejoined the RAF and became a Transport Pilot Instructor at the Central Flying School. In 1953 he left Cranwell and converted onto jet aircraft. In May 1953 my father was posted to Tarrant Rushton as an instructor on Meteors. In March 1954 he was posted to the Royal Radar Research Establishment for research pilot duties. He was flying all types of medium and heavy jet and piston engined aircraft.

In July 1957 he was posted to Bomber Command, serving in Hawaii during the Christmas Island tests. Later that year he was appointed training officer on Victor B1s and then Flight Commander on No.10 Squadron until July 1962. This would have covered the Cuban missile crisis and therefore the V Force bombers were our frontline deterrent.

He finished his RAF career as Chief Pilot Instructor at RAF Gaydon in 1963 and then returned to Civil Aviation, working for Caledonian Airways on Bristol Britannias, Boeing 707s and BAC 1-11/500s.

He retired from flying in 1982 at the age of 60. He moved to Croyde, North Devon in 1985 and spent his retirement working for Cheshire Homes and other local charities. He was an artist and a poet.

Throughout his life, he never forgot his fallen comrades and never boasted or bragged about his wartime experiences.He never considered them to be very remarkable, especially when he compared them to others that were well documented. He was a quiet, modest unassuming man. His medals include the Burma Star and the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air.

He passed away peacefully in his sleep on 18th. September 2011 at the age of 89.