Kilsyth search for family of tragic airman

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A nursing auxiliary in Wick is trying to trace relatives of a young Kilsyth man who died in a horrific bomber accident during the Second World War.

Local man Serjeant William McPherson was aged just 22 when, on the night of April 25, 1941, the Whitley bomber in which he was radio man hit the hospital during a night training exercise.

Two maids who were staying in the attic of the building died when their quarters were engulfed by fire.

The stricken bomber veered away to crash in a field, killing all of the crew.

Their names are inscribed on a memorial plaque in the hospital, but nursing auxiliary Wilson Crawford thinks the tragedy should be better kn own.

The men’s deaths were just one incident at a time when death and serious injury had become almost routine in wartime Britain.

Mr Crawford said: “But there will be people around the country who may know a little of what happened yet don’t know all the details – or, maybe, that their relative is remembered in Wick on the memorial plaque.”

He is aware Kilsyth is a town where many cherish local heritage – and is hoping someone will come forward.

The youngest of the six-strong bomber crew was just 20 years old – while the oldest was 24. Their aircraft was returning to RAF Wick at 1am when it hit the accommodation block, which burst into flames – with further tragic consequences – and was largely destroyed.

The accident could have been a still greater disaster had the plane crashed into the hospital itself, although details are lacking.

Anyone connected to Sgt MacPherson of 612 Squadron,RAF Volunteer Reserve, is invited to get in touch with Mr Crawford through the News and Chronicle.