Flight Sergeant William Alexander Roach, No.415828 went missing on 8th June 1944, when his plane Bristol Beaufighter NE200 of which he was the Navigator, with his Pilot Flying Officer Frederick Owen Williams No.422749 took off from Langham on a mission of Shipping Recce off the Dutch coast, north of Terschelling eastwards to Helgoland.
At 13.57hrs in the vicinity of the Frisian Islands the following message was recieved by the NE200 to the other plane:" Engine trouble Smithy" on reply what was going on, no answer came and 3 minutes later the plane crashed in the sea from a height of 50 feet. (15m) and sank straight away. no survivors were seen.
Both men are missing since.
William Roach was a well known cricketer who had been representing the R.A.A.F in cricket against the R.A.F and England Team and Lord's.
William was born on 12th December 1914in South Freemantle and before the war worked as Shop Assistant.
He joined up in February 1942. he was married by then with Mgnon Elizabeth Roach, they lived at 136 South Terrace, South Perth.
He made three first class appearances, all for Western Australia between Februay and March 1934. He made his debut against Victoria on 27th February 1934 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Victoria won the toass and elected to bat making 243. In reply Western Australia made 423 for seven declared.
Roach made 17 before being catch and bowled by Hugh Joseph Plant .
In February 1970 the widow of Flight Sergeant Roach received a letter from the Australian Air Force, enclosed was the pair of stainless steel dog tags!
According to the letter they were recovered from the North Sea by Dutch Fisherman. Looking at the condition after being in the water for 26 years, one would wonder if they maybe where in the wreckage of the plane?.
On 28th September, the bodies of two unknown Airmen washed up on Texel, one believed to have been in the water for 4 months, no other evidence, but could have been Roach and Williams?.
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Philip Reinders, 2016