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.
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.
Acknowledgements to craigavonhistoricalsociety.org.uk
Acknowledgements to backtonormandy.org.
Acknowledgements to teunispats.net
Acknowledgements to lurganmail.co.uk
The Belfast Telegraph recorded the following death notice for the brother of W F D Charlton: