Personnel Index - Detail
Flew at least 13 operations with 49Sqn before being killed in a test flight as described below.
VILLAGE INN TRAGEDY:
During the month of April, F/Lt Bill Healey RCAF DFC, and crew were attached to the Bomber Development Unit at Newmarket. Along with a 1 Group crew from 460 RAAF Squadron, Binbrook, they were testing a new radar operated gun turret (A.G.L.T.); the code name for this equipment being 'Village Inn'.
Late Sunday afternoon 30 April, tactical trials using 'Village Inn' were being carried out between an attacking friendly fighter and Lancaster (ND553), being flown by F/Lt Bill Healey. During the bomber’s vigorous evasive actions, the dinghy accidently started to inflate and burst from its stowage hold in the Lancaster's starboard wing. It blew back covering one fin and causing the aircraft to flick onto its back; F/Lt Healey's immediate reaction was to haul back on the control column in an attempt to complete a full loop. With insufficient height, the Lancaster smashed into the ground near Witchford; the time was 16.55hrs.
The following 49 Squadron crew members were killed:
F/L W.A. Healey DFC RCAF Pilot (Killed)
Sgt F. Boardman F/E (Killed)
Sgt J. Jones W/AG (Killed)
F/O R. Bailes NAV (Killed)