Leading Aircraftman, 140 Wing
Service number 1440455
Died 6 Feb 1945
Buried East Ham (Marlow Road) Jewish Cemetery
‘DEEPLY MOURNED BY PARENTS, BROTHERS AND RELATIVES. REMEMBERED BY ALL’
Woolf (Willie) was born on 1 December 1921 in Poplar, London to Isaac (John) and Hannah nee Hirsch and he had two brothers Joseph and Phillip. Their father worked as a bedding manufacturer and the brothers all worked in the family business. They family lived at 2 British Street in Poplar and the brothers attended the Brady Boys Club.
Willie was onboard Dakota KG630 which departed from RAF Thorney Island moving men and equipment of 140 Wing to Base B87, Rosieres-en-Santerre in France. The aircraft flew at low altitude in poor visibility conditions. The starboard wing struck a hill at an elevation of 500 ft (150 m). The wing was torn off and the Dakota crashed out of control. From the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer on Friday 9th February 1945:
23 KILLED IN AIR CRASH. PLANE HITS RIDGE ON THE DOWNS. TWENTY-THREE servicemen were killed when an aircraft crashed into the Downs at Wilmington on Tuesday. The crew and occupants of the ‘plane were 17 members of the R.A.F., three of the R.C.A.F., two of the R.A.A.F., and one of the R.N.Z.A.F. The ‘plane, a Dakota, hit a high ridge of the Downs and crashed in a coppice nearly at the foot of the slope, where it burst into flames. All the occupants were almost certainly killed instantly. People in the district could not see the ‘plane. Mr. F. Dinnis, a farmer, who was in a field only half a mile away, heard the engines stop suddenly. Guessing a machine had crashed, he ran to the scene with two farm labourers. None of the three could get anywhere near the fiercely blazing ‘plane. Civil Defence members, N.F.S. and ambulances had to use a cart track to reach the spot.
Pilot, Peter Matthew Oleinikoff, RAAF
Co-Pilot, Edgar Alan Barsby, RAAF.
Nav, Kenneth Gilbert Forseth, RCAF
W/Op, Ronald Arthur Brock, RCAF.
Aircrew & Technicians:
F/O, Edward William Curtis.
P/O, Colin Alexander Rattray.
Corporal Colin Gibson.
Corporal Gerald Ernest Nelson David Lee.
Corporal William George Blair, RNZAF.
Corporal Edwin Bruce Chadd.
Corporal David Cooper.
LAC, Frank Bainbridge.
LAC, Ronald Grayham Baldry.
LAC, Samuel Arthur Bamber.
LAC, William Daniel Davies.
LAC, Thomas Henry Floody.
LAC, Jack Neale.
LAC, Woolf Nerden.
LAC, Robert Smith.
LAC, Sydney MacKenzie Smith, RCAF.
LAC, George Stevens.
LAC, Albert Edward Dowler Wilkes.
LAC, George Wilson.