Leading Airman

William George Ferguson

Conflict: 
WW2
Additional Information: 

Son of William Joseph and Ruby Ferguson, of Lyttelton, Canterbury.

References:
  • CWGC
NZ WAR GRAVES

Public Contributions:

Submitted by: Steven Harris
Relationship to casualty: No relation. My Great Uncle was with William when they both lost their lives.
On Saturday 4th March 1944, My Great Uncle - Sub- Lieutenant (RNVR) Kenneth George Wilmot was the pilot of a Fairey Swordfish plane. Accompanying Ken that night was leading airman 4384 William Georg... Read More
On Saturday 4th March 1944, My Great Uncle - Sub- Lieutenant (RNVR) Kenneth George Wilmot was the pilot of a Fairey Swordfish plane. Accompanying Ken that night was leading airman 4384 William George Ferguson of the Royal New Zealand Navy and RNVR observer George Arber. All three were attached to the 835 squadron serving on board HMS Nairana. Their plane was carrying out a dusk patrol accompanying a convoy in the Gibraltar Atlantic sea. When the plane returned back to HMS Nairana and was trying to land, the weather conditions were extremely bad with the undulation of the ocean and with very strong gusts of cross wind. When coming in to land, the rear tail hook of the plane missed all eight arrestor cables and the strong wind blew the plane into the operations flight deck situated at the starboard side of the ship which in turn bounced the plane into the choppy sea. An escort ship was quickly on the spot and rescued all three men. My great uncle Ken was unconscious and unfortunately died within the hour, William Ferguson was killed outright leaving George Arber the only survivor. Due to the accident George sustained damage to his sight which put an end to his flying days. (After the war George settled down in Surbiton, Surrey and peacefully passed away in 2010). The next day on Sunday 5th March 1944, on board HMS Nairana, Ken and William's bodies were weighted down and shrouded with the union flag. With all the engines of the ship silent, and their comrades lined up for a short service, which then saw both bodies committed to the deep. This information has been obtained from the family of George Arber, and from George Sadler who was the officer on board HMS Nairana who filled out the "hurts and wounds" form for George Arber, who is the author of the book 'THE SWORDFISH PATROL' which mentions the above accident on pages 82 & 83.


Personal Tributes:

Casualty

Service Number: 
4383
Name:
William George Ferguson
Rank: 
Leading Airman
Date of Birth:
26 April 1917
Place of Birth:
New Brighton, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
Date of Enlistment:
Not known
Unit:
Royal New Zealand Navy, HMS Nairana, 835 (FAA) Squadron

Casualty Details

Cause of Death:
Killed on active service
Date of Death:
04 March 1944
Day of Death:
Saturday
Age at Death: 
26
Conflict: 
WW2

Embarkation Details

Text in italics supplied by Cenotaph Online, Auckland War Memorial Museum

Cemetery

Cemetery Reference: 
Panel 3.
Cemetery Location: 
New Zealand
William George Ferguson
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