The Airmen's Stories - F/O W H Nelson
William Henry Nelson was born in Montreal, Canada on 2nd April 1917. He was educated at the King Edward VII School and Baron Byng High School there and at Strathcona Academy High School at Outremont.
Nelson joined the RAF on a short service commission in March 1937. Arriving at 8 FTS Montrose on 9th May he completed the course and joined 10 Squadron at Dishforth on 27th November. The squadron's first operational sortie in the war was made on the night of 8th/9th September 1939 when eight of its Whitleys dropped leaflets and made a reconnaissance of north-west Germany.
Nelson took part and was later awarded the DFC (gazetted 4th June 1940) for his service with the squadron.
Nelson volunteered for Fighter Command and arrived at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 24th June 1940. After converting to Spitfires he was posted to 74 Squadron at Hornchurch on 20th July. He claimed a Me109 and a Me110 destroyed and another Me110 damaged on 11th August, a Do17 damaged on the 13th and Me109's destroyed on 17th, 27th and 29th October.
He was killed on 1st November 1940, shot down in a surprise attack by Me109's over Dover. He is believed to have crashed into the Channel in
Nelson was 23 years old. He is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 4.
Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner