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Monday, 12 November 2012

Charlton, William Frederick Dixon

Pilot Officer William Frederick Dixon Charlton
was born in Lurgan on 20th October 1919, the son of Clement John Charlton and Sarah Eleanor Charlton.  Originally from Emyvale, the family had moved to Gilford Road, Lurgan in 1927.  There was a second son, John (Jack) and a sister Betty. 

Known as Billy, he attended Lurgan College from September 1932 until December 1936.   On leaving school Billy joined the Belfast Bank and was working in the Londonderry branch when war broke out. 

Charlton enlisted in January or February 1940, eventually going to the RAF College, Cranwell from which he graduated as a Pilot Officer.   He was serving with 408 (RCAF) Sqn Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve when he was killed on 1st June 1942.   He was based at RAF Balderton, Newark-on-Trent, England and flew Hampden bomber aircraft.   Whilst on a mission known as Operation Essen (a 1,000 bomber raid), his Lancaster Bomber was shot down by a night-fighter (piloted by Lt Karl-Heinz Vollkopf) and crashed into the Ijsselmeer. 

The RAF 'Loss Card'

Charlton is buried in Harderwijk General Cemetery, Gelderland, The Netherlands. 

His crew are buried in Amersfoort (Oud Leusden) General Cemetery.   They were Flight Sergeant F J E Womar DFM, Pilot Officer C I A Sandland and Sergeant A Marland. 

He is also remembered on a family headstone in Lurgan New Cemetery, Lurgan, Co. Armagh and there is also a stained glass window in Hill Street Presbyterian Church, in his memory.

[Memorial Window, Hill Street Presbyterian Church, Lurgan]

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The Belfast Telegraph recorded the following death notice for the brother of W F D Charlton: 
CHARLTON, JOHN CLEMENT (DR.) (JACK) - Passed away July 10, 2013, in Derby, after a short illness, aged 90, formerly of Hillside, Gilford Road, Lurgan, and latterly Mickleover, Derby, former pupil at Lurgan College and student at Queens University, Belfast, where he qualified in Medicine in 1946.  Short Service at Hillside Lurgan at 11.30 a.m. on Saturday 10th August 2013, followed by the interment of ashes at Lurgan Cemetery at midday alongside his loving wife, Maureen.  Donations to RAF Benevolent Fund, in memory of his brother WFD Charlton, killed in active service in 1942, c/o Malcomsons Funeral Service, 7 Robert Street, Lurgan, BT66 8BE.

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