117609V Lieutenant Keith Brennand MacWilliam,
34 Squadron South African Air Force,
Killed in action, 16 October 1944, Poland.
Keith MacWilliam was one of the 43 South African Air Force Crew killed in the extremely risky exercise of dropping supplies during the Relief of Warsaw.
In my blog post for Bernard Rissik I referred briefly to other members of the Rissik family who lost their lives while on active service. I mentioned Keith, the husband of Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of Ulrich Rissik, one of Bernard’s younger brothers.
Keith has recently come to the attention of Ipswich War Memorial researchers, because an Ipswich man, Sergeant Geoffrey Frederick Ellis, was among the crew of the B=24 Liberator bomber (serial number KH-152 ‘F’) on which Keith was one of the pilots.
I received a message via Ancestry on 16 October 2017, about a web page on which Keith was mentioned, but it was not until this evening that I came across the message. The sender, Helen, is another war memorial researcher, one of a group researching those commemorated on Ipswich War Memorials.
In her message, Helen helpfully drew my attention to the web page which the Ipswich researchers created for Geoffrey Frederick Ellis and which they uploaded on 16 October 2017, the 73rd anniversary of the death of five of the eight crew on KH-152.
There is a great deal of information on Geoffrey Ellis’s page about the shooting down of this aircraft and the aftermath of that for the various members of the aircrew. Despite the aircraft’s being on fire, the first thought of the crew was to save the cargo, and as a result, “precious parachute height” was lost by the time those able to, jumped clear of it.
So young; and so selfless.
The Ipswich researchers credit extra and information and photographs by courtesy of Dominik Koscielny with additional help from John Allan.