Henry, William Maxwell (No. 173906)

Henry, William Maxwell (Max)

Pilot Officer

No. 173906, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed in an aircraft accident on Friday 7 July 1944 (aged 21)

Buried:

Liverpool (Anfield) Cemetery, Lancashire, England (Section 15 Church of England Grave 1234)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Carrowdore Presbyterian Church

BIOGRAPHY

William Maxwell Henry’s birth was registered in the first quarter of 1923 in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone and he was the eldest son of Ernest Hamilton Henry and Susan Hazelton Henry (nee Watters) of Cookstown; later Ballygrangee, Greyabbey; later Whitechurch, Ballywalter and later Cherryvalley, Comber.

Ernest Hamilton Henry, a son of Silas Henry, was a farmer from Killycurragh, Cookstown when he and Susan Hazelton Watters from Coalisland were married on 9 June 1920 in Albany Presbyterian Church, Ardboe.

After William Maxwell Henry was born, the Henry family moved to Ballygrangee and five of their children were baptised in Carrowdore Presbyterian Church:

Wilson McLeod (born 29 March 1926)

Ernest Hamilton (born 25 July 1927)

Mary Patricia Houston (born 26 March 1929)

Dorothy Maud (born 18 February 1932)

John Lawrence (born 2 August 1934)

William Maxwell Henry and Phyllis Marguerite Lunt were married on 19 April 1944 and they lived at 134 Stanley Park Avenue, Anfield, Liverpool.  Less than three months later, Pilot Officer William Maxwell Henry (No. 173906) was killed.

In the 15 July 1944 edition of the County Down Spectator it was reported that Pilot Officer William Maxwell Henry had served in North Africa for 18 months and that, when he qualified as a pilot, he topped the list in the examination results at the end of his course.  He was serving with 53 OTU when he died on 7 July 1944 and the very next day news came through of his promotion to the rank of Flying Officer.  There is evidence from the RAF Museum to suggest that Pilot Officer William Maxwell Henry (aged 21) was aboard a Vickers Wellington aircraft (LP314) piloted by Flight Sergeant John Phillip Sinclair Dalton (aged 21) from Caulfield, Victoria in Australia and they were doing circuits and landing practice.  On one approach to land the starboard engine failed and when the aircraft stalled it crashed to the ground.  Both men were killed, and William Maxwell Henry’s death was registered in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

Pilot Officer William Maxwell Henry’s funeral took place on 13 July 1944 and the chief mourners were his wife and his father.  His remains were conveyed to the Church of St. Jude in Liverpool and eight men of the RAF acted as pallbearers.  He was buried in Liverpool (Anfield) Cemetery and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

IN LOVING MEMORY

OF MY BELOVED HUSBAND.

‘UNTIL THE DAY BREAK AND

THE SHADOWS FLEE AWAY’

Newspaper notices in 1944,1945, 1946 and 1947 contained the texts:

We who loved him will never forget

 

In that garden was a sepulchre

 

Not just today, but every day, in silence we remember

 

Amidst life’s changes we never forget

 

In memory’s garden we still can meet

Pilot Officer William Maxwell Henry (No. 173906) is commemorated in Carrowdore Presbyterian Church.