Pilot Officer William Ferries Raffan, 123593, 10 OTU, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
William Ferries Raffan was born in Scotland in 1915, the son of farmer, William Raffan and his wife, Margaret Ann. On the 28th September 1940 at South Ossett Christ Church William Ferries Raffan, a soldier of 179, Midstocket Road, Aberdeen married Margaret Cresswell, aged 24 years, a clerk of 2, Sowood Terrace, Ossett. Margaret was the daughter of engineer, Frederick and his wife, Ethel (nee Braham) Cresswell who married in the Dewsbury area in late 1905.
In 1911 the Cresswells were living at 24, Manor Road, Ossett. Frederick Cresswell, born in Blackheath, Kent was working as a rag grinder and Ossett born Ethel was a rag sorter. The couple had two children: first child, Marian, was born in late 1911 and their second child, Margaret was born in summer 1916.
No. 10 Operational Training Unit RAF or more simply No. 10 OTU was a training unit operated by the Royal Air Force. The unit was formed at RAF Abingdon on 8 April 1940 with No. 97 Squadron RAF (97 Sqn) and No. 166 Squadron RAF (166 Sqn) flying Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys to train night bomber crews. During 1942 10 OTU took control of an anti-submarine flight detached to St Eval and 10 OTU was transferred to No. 91 Group RAF.
Above: Whiteley bomber similar to the one that Pilot Officer William Ferries Raffan lost his life in.
Whiteley bomber Z6579 left RAF St. Eval in Cornwall at 14:15 hours on the 29th October 1942 on a killer hunt against German U-Boats in the Bay of Biscay and crashed near the village of Morlaix in Brittany, north-east of Brest. The Whiteley bomber was shot down at 18:42 hours during aerial combat by a Focke-Wulf FW190 fighter piloted by Obit Armin Landmann of 8/JG2. The six man crew were all killed in the crash. The crew of the bomber was as follows:
- Flying Officer Malcolm Graeme Grant, 27 years, 44802, RAF, pilot
- Pilot Officer William Ferries Raffan, 25 years, 123953, RAFVR, pilot
- Sergeant Ernest Cheetham, 21 years, 1138227, RAFVR, Navigator
- Sergeant Edward Marsden, 1236807, RAFVR, Navigator/Bomb Aimer
- Flight Sergeant James David Maxwell, 19 years, R/93957, RCAF, Radio Operator/Air Gunner
- Sergeant Gilbert Charles James Heywood, 20 years, 1389460, RAFVR, Air Gunner
Armin Landmann, who had four kills, didn't live long to enjoy his success and he was shot down and killed on the 7th November 1942 in aerial combat against a B17 bomber near Brest.
Pilot Officer William F. Raffan, aged 25 years, the son of William and Margaret Ann Raffan and the husband of Margaret Raffan, of Ossett, Yorkshire, died on the 29th October 1942 and is buried at Grave 6, Taule Communal Cemetery, in the Finistere region of France. Taule is a village and commune 6 kilometres north-west of Morlaix. The cemetery is on the northern side of the village west of the road to St. Pol-de-Leon. South (left) of the entrance, and close to the boundary wall, are the graves of five airmen of the Royal Air Force and one belonging to the Royal Canadian Air Force.