Wilson, Fred
Wilson, Fred

Fred Wilson was born in the second quarter of 1921 in Rishton, near Blackburn. His father was Charles Frederick Victor Wilson (b. 1889 in Clayton-le-Moors), a cotton weaver and later poultry farmer. His mother was Alice Bowers (b. 1886 in Rishton). Charles and Alice married in 1910. Fred had a sister but I don’t know the details. Charles had served in the First World War. He was 35942 Private C F V Wilson. He enlisted in December 1915 in the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) and was posted to 3rd (Reserve) Battalion. He was later transferred to the Labour Corps (service number 544333) and then in June 1918 he was transferred to 13th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment (service number 58899). He was demobilised in March 1919. His war service left him deaf in his left ear. There are no medal records for these service numbers, so it seems Charles didn’t serve abroad; 13th Battalion Bedfordshires, for example, were transport workers working in ports and docks.

I don’t know when the family moved to Lostock Hall but Alice died in 1937 and the following year Charles married again. His second wife was Ellen Alice Turner (b 1893 in Rishton). In 1939, Charles and Ellen were living at “Sherwood” on Todd Lane North, where Charles had a small poultry farm. Fred turned 18 in 1940 and he enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. In early 1941 he married Lilian Mary Law (b. 1922 in Walton Le Dale), who worked in a Christmas card printers.

Wilson, Fred

Fred Wilson in training, sqd. 1, top left

Fred Wilson was killed in an accident near Barrow-in-Furness on the afternoon of 31 May 1943. Fred was a wireless operator and gunner under tuition. His Avro Anson LT778 (10 Air Gunnery School at RAF Walney Island, near Barrow-in-Furness) had completed a target practice firing on a drogue target towed by Martinet HP303 and were preparing to land when the pilot of the Martinet overtook the Anson without sufficient clearance to starboard. The Martinet struck the Anson damaging both aircraft. The Belgian pilot of the Martinet, Pilot Officer J.E.J. Wegria, managed to land safely and later commented that he believed the Anson had already commenced its landing when the accident happened. However Anson LT778 crashed on the beach just short of the runway killing all on board. It appears the pilot, Sergeant Anderton, was trying to land the damaged Anson.

Wilson, Fred

Avro Anson

Blame for the accident was attached to both pilots for failing to keep lookout, the Air Officer Commanding noting that one of the crew should have been in the astrodome of the Anson, keeping watch until the target tug and tow lines were clear.

The crew members were:

Sergeant Charles S Anderton, pilot;

Flying Officer Edwin Creed, air gunner instructor;

Leading Aircraftman Fred Wilson, wireless operator/air gunner under tuition;

Leading Aircraftman James Lenaghan, wireless operator/air gunner under tuition;

Leading Aircraftman Harry Hudson, wireless operator/air gunner under tuition.

[The information about the crash is taken from the site aircrashsites.co.uk]

Rank: Leading Aircraftman

Service Number: 1425168

Unit/Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Date of death: 31/05/1943

Age: 22


Additional Information: Son of Charles Frederick Victor and Alice Wilson; husband of Lilian Wilson, of Walton-le-Dale.