01.11.1940 No. 74 Squadron Spitfire IIa P7312 Fl/Lt. William H. Nelson DFC
Date: 01st November 1940
Unit: No. 74 Squadron
Type: Spitfire IIa
Base: RAF Biggin Hill
Location: English Channel
Pilot: Fl/Lt. ‘Yank’ William Henry Nelson DFC. 39675 RAF Age 23. Missing
Page created for the family and also to Ellin Bessemer who is in the process of writing a book on the pilot - any further information that you are able to provide will be forwarded. Once published we hope to provide further details.
REASON FOR LOSS:
During a patrol and a surprise attack by Me109’s was shot down over the English Channel at 14:00 hrs. Neither the pilot or aircraft recovered, he is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial.
A Former Battle of Britain Ace with some 5 claims destroyed with a further 2 as damaged:
11th August 1940 Bf109E over Dover - destroyed
11th August 1940 Bf110 over Dover - destroyed
11th August 1940 Bf110 over Dover - damaged
13th August 1940 Do17 over Thames Estuary - damaged
17th October 1940 BF109E over Gravesend/Maidstone - destroyed
27th October 1940 Bf109E over south Maidstone - destroyed
29th October 1940 Bf109E over East Grinstead - destroyed
22 year old, Sgt. Harry John Soars 742705 was also hit during the same action flying Spitfire P7523, survived, wounded after baling out. Taken to Victoria Hospital in Folkestone and released on the 29th November when he was sent home on sick leave. Survived the war. leaving the RAF in 1955 as a Fl/Lt. Passed away in 1975 at Countesthorpe, Leicestershire.
Fl/lt. William Henry Nelson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 4. Son of Henry S. and Sarafina Nelson, husband of Marjorie Isobel Nelson of Montreal, Canada. Born 02nd April 1917 in Montreal, Canada. Joined the RAF in 1937 - initially flying the Hampden bomber with 10 Squadron. Later joining Fighter Command in June 1940 training at No. 6 OTU based at Sutton Bridge, joining 74 Squadron in July 1940.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Ged Burke on the RAF Commands Forum for information on Sgt. Soars. Chris Shores - ‘Aces High’. Also other sources quoted below.